The elderly community includes 55.8 million people in the United States, taking up of 16.8% of the population. In the Central Valley, there are a total of 200,000 adults ages 60 and over, and that number is expected to grow dramatically by 2030. There is also one true fact we all face: We are all only getting older! June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and the importance of this month can give us the opportunity expand our knowledge of the struggles and risks that elder adults face. According to the Center of Disease Control, approximately one in every 10 people ages 60 and over have undergone some form of abuse. You most likely know someone that has faced, is facing, or will be facing abuse and neglect at a vulnerable age, and this is unfortunately, a common experience that our help is much needed as the public. Here are several ways that you can get involved:
- Check in on your elderly neighbors! Do they need help with getting groceries? Have they had trouble keeping their home clean? Are they needing assistance with washing their car or taking a walk around the neighborhood?
- Volunteer at a senior living facility. You can go once a week or once a month and hangout with your local elderly community! Many patients in facilities don't have visitors often, and they always appreciate a welcoming face that wants to spend quality time with them.
- Donate to fundraising drives for elder adults. Especially in these summer months, many elders do not have air conditioning or operating fans, and access to fresh, clean water to keep everyone cool applies to the community as well!
- Learn more about elder abuse and neglect policies and the power that geriatric-related positions hold! Join local organizations that advocate for legislation that improves protections for elder adults and their overall well-being (i.e. physical health, financial management, nutrition, and housing placement).
- Keep contact information on state and federal agencies that work for the elderly population. This includes Adult Protective Services (APS), Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (vary depending on which county you reside in), California Department of Aging (CDA), and California Department of Health Services (DHCS), and many more! These departments and agencies also have many career and volunteer opportunities as well as events and workshops to sign up for!
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month where international organizations honor the elderly community and give their support by educating different populations on their role in helping their elderly neighbors.
If you, or anyone you know, is being abused, neglected or financially exploited call the statewide hotline at 1-833-401-0832. You may remain anonymous and the call could save a life.