June 9, 2006
ATLANTA (GA) – The first annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day will be celebrated around the globe June 15, 2006 to recognize elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) will join other states, countries and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) in recognizing, honoring and raising awareness of persons 65 and older who suffer in silence because of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The theme of this year’s event is “My World…Your World…Our World – Free of Elder Abuse.” DAS is encouraging all Georgians to wear purple on June 15 to show their support in raising awareness of elder abuse.
“This day has been set aside to pause and recognize the abuse of our very vulnerable at-risk adult population,” said DAS Director Maria Greene. “Elder abuse is a crime in Georgia and is under-reported. We encourage everyone to become aware of the signs of abuse and report it.”
Georgia law defines elder abuse as the willful infliction of physical pain, physical injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or willful deprivation of essential services. Studies have shown that for every one case of elder abuse reported, there are an estimated 14 incidences that go undetected. Abuse takes many forms including physical, emotional, sexual, financial exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect. Adult children are most often the perpetrators of abuse in all its forms. Spousal abuse can start early and continue into later life. Any older person can be abused regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and geographic location.
Mandated reporters of elder abuse in Georgia includes physicians, osteopaths, podiatrists, clergy (in long-term care settings), psychologists, managers, administrators, dentists, optometrists, coroners, pharmacists, orderlies, nurses, nurse’s aides, medical examiners, chiropractors, social workers, police officers and law enforcement personnel, physical therapists, employees of financial institutions, licensed professional counselors and adult day care personnel.
Make the call if you believe that an elder is being abused, neglected or exploited. If the person lives in his or her own home or with a relative, call Adult Protective Services to make a report at 404-657-5250 (inside Metro Atlanta) or toll-free at 1-888-774-0152. If the person lives in a nursing home or personal care home, contact the Office of Regulatory Services at 404-657-5726 (inside Metro Atlanta) or toll-free at 1-800-878-6442. You may also contact the State Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an advocate for residents’ rights, at 1-888-454-LTCO (5826).
If you would like to receive general information, a free brochure or schedule a free presentation on elder abuse prevention, contact DAS at 404-657-5319.
To learn more about INPEA and the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, visit www.inpea.net.
For information, contact