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Councilmembers advocate prevention of elder abuse

Summary

Elder Abuse Awareness Day proclaimed on June 15

Story

In recognition of King County’s growing senior population and concerns about the safety of vulnerable adults, members of the Metropolitan King County Council today proclaimed June 15, 2013, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in King County.

“Looking out for our venerable and vulnerable seniors is critically important,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a reminder that our seniors have spent a lifetime contributing to our community, and now we owe it to them to protect them from harm in their golden years.”

“Sadly, many cases of elder abuse involve family members,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who chairs the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “Some seniors who are victimized by partners or children are afraid to report it due to concerns about shame or financial security. They need to know that help is available from our Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and victim advocates.”

“All people deserve a life free of abuse, and with a growing population of seniors, now is more important than ever to raise awareness about this issue,” said Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson. “Too many elder abuse cases go undetected and unreported, and people of all ages play a role in preventing abuse.”

Communities around the globe observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15. The proclamation encourages everyone to help in the campaign to eliminate elder abuse. It also highlights the public and private agencies that work together to combat elder abuse, including the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County.

“Unfortunately, elder abuse is increasing, so everyone has a responsibility for protecting our senior citizens,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “If you are aware of elders being abused, silence is not an option. It is incumbent upon us to look for the signs of elder abuse and to tell the authorities if abuse is suspected.”

“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a reminder that we need to be vigilant to make every day a day where we watch out for and protect the vulnerable among our senior citizens,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.

“Advocating for our elderly population is something we all must take responsibility for,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Setting aside a day every year to call attention to this important issue reminds us all that our seniors must be cared for and protected.”

Elder abuse consists of intentional and negligent acts that harm seniors or jeopardize their health or welfare, including emotional or physical abuse, abandonment or financial loss and is inflicted upon vulnerable seniors across all socio-economic levels.

The most common perpetrators of elder abuse are caregivers or other trusted individuals such as spouse, sibling or child, making it a form of domestic violence, according to The National Center on Elder Abuse.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office handles about 350 cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse and financial exploitation, and recognizes the need for focusing on those who take advantage of the vulnerable elderly population in King County. A specially trained unit is tasked with investigating and prosecuting elder abuse cases.

The Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County works with community partners to raise awareness, increase reporting of elder abuse and provide case management and advocacy services county-wide to survivors of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Councilmembers called for everyone in the community to help prevent elder abuse by recognizing and reporting any signs, such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and fear of family members, friends or caregivers. For more information, you can:

• Go to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s web site or call (206) 296-9010
• Contact the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County’s at their web site or call (206) 684-0660


PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, the purpose of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons; and

WHEREAS, King County’s senior citizens deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, to enable them to continue to serve as leaders, mentors and volunteers who contribute to the vitality of the community; and

WHEREAS, with increasing life expectancy, over 11 percent of King County’s population is now age 65 and older; and

WHEREAS, the National Center on Elder Abuse has determined that elder abuse consists of intentional or negligent acts, including by a caregiver or other trusted individual, such as spouse, sibling, or child, that results in emotional or physical harm, abandonment, or financial loss to a vulnerable elder; and

WHEREAS, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office handles approximately 350 felony cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation and has responded by creating a unit trained to prosecute elder abuse cases; and

WHEREAS, Seattle’s Aging and Disability Services (ADS) serving as the King County Area Agency on Aging is committed to working with community partners to raise awareness, increase reporting of elder abuse, and provide case management and advocacy services countywide to survivors of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation; and

WHEREAS, everyone can help in the campaign to eliminate elder abuse by watching for and reporting signs, such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and fear of family members, friends, or caregivers; and

WHEREAS, communities around the globe recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15th;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim June 15, 2013, as

ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY

in King County and encourage everyone to commit to building safer lives and a safe community for our elderly residents.

DATED this tenth day of June, 2013.


Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Fax:
206-296-0198