When you think of protecting elders and dependent adults, what constitutes abuse? Who classifies as an elder or dependent adult?
There are numerous forms of maltreatment including, but not limited to: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Elder and dependent adult abuse does not discriminate. Any adult 65 years and older or an adult between the ages of 18 to 65 that requires extra care due to physical or mental limitations can be a victim.
This year’s theme for Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month focuses on financial abuse of senior and dependent adults. At the California Department of Social Services kick-off event on June 1, Ruth MacKenzie, Health and Human Services, Senior and Adult Services Division Manager raised awareness about financial abuse in a unique way by presenting, “We Just Don’t Know: Measuring the Impacts of Financial Abuse.” Sacramento is the first county to completely measure and identify the impacts and magnitude of how financial abuse has directly affected the community.
Shocking data revealed that in 2016, Sacramento County Adult Protective Services clients lost more than $8.7 million to financial abuse, and 55% of that was lost to scams perpetrated by strangers.
"We are committed to changing the dynamic of the relationships with our clients, partners, families and local law enforcement to raise abuse awareness and help protect those at risk,” said Ruth MacKenzie. “We all have the ability to raise awareness on this topic so that as a community we can be more conscious of the warning signs.”
Anyone can help prevent elder and dependent adult abuse, whether it’s a loved one or an older neighbor. There are 12 Things that Anyone Can Do to Prevent Elder Abuse and is a great starting point to help keep an older adult safe.
Creating a world without elder abuse begins first by raising awareness in our community. It starts by being mindful of the elders and dependent adults in your life and neighborhood and partnering together to educate those unaware. Elder abuse can happen to anyone. By partnering together, we can create the ultimate vision of a county where elder and dependent adult abuse does not exist.