Today is Elder Abuse Awareness Day

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Today is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in South Dakota.

South Dakota Department of Human Services Division of Long-Term Services Director Yvette Thomas says the designation provides an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of the older population throughout the state.

Thomas says caregiver stress has been identified as a major contributing factor in elder abuse. She says it’s especially important in the current environment of social distancing and increased pressure on family units that we all remain vigilant for the signs of elder abuse including physical injuries, frequent emergency department visits or behavioral signs of fear and withdrawal.

According to the Administration for Community Living, each year in the United States, an estimated 5 million older persons are abused, neglected and exploited. In addition, elders lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually to financial exploitation– funds that could’ve been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care.

This statewide observation coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It was launched June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.