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For Immediate Release: 6/6/2014
Leggett to Join Montgomery County’s Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse Task Force Members to Commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Wednesday, June 11, leaders of the Montgomery County Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force will partner with Federal and State elder justice leaders to host an Elder Justice Rally and two Senior Safety events. The activities are planned to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and to improve the safety of seniors.

County Executive Isiah Leggett, State’s Attorney John McCarthy, Council member Phil Andrews and Montgomery County Police will be joined by the Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee and Maryland’s Secretary of Aging Gloria Lawlah.

The elder abuse awareness events will kick off with an Elder Justice Rally, featuring Greenlee and Lawlah, to be held at 10 a.m. at the Rockville Senior Center,1150 Carnation Drive. The rally is planned to draw attention to the need to support funding for the Elder Justice Act. Currently, there is no federal home for the protection of older adults. The act calls for the Administration for Community Living to become that home and the President's budget to provide $25 million to house the program.

Immediately following the rally and going until noon at the Rockville Senior Center, will be a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day “Senior Safety” program. The program will be repeated at the Holiday Park Senior Center, located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Wheaton from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be speakers and exhibitors on topics including: elder abuse, scam and fraud exploitation, emergency preparedness, home safety and Montgomery County resources for seniors. Executive Director of the National Adult Protective Services Association Kathleen Quinn will provide the keynote speech at the Rockville Senior Center program.

Both events also include police and fire/rescue demonstrations, free blood pressure checks, musical entertainment, refreshments and door prizes.

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) for social work professionals are available at both events through advance registration. To receive more information about the CEU’s and/or to pre-register, call 240-777-1131.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006. Their goal was to unite communities around the world to raise awareness about elder abuse.

Elder abuse includes intentional, unintentional and neglectful acts by family, caregivers or others, and comes in many forms including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Recent research (reported by the Alliance on Aging and other senior service organizations) found that 1 in 10 older Americans are abused each year and that for every case reported there are approximately 23 that go unreported. The effect of elder abuse is felt far beyond the suffering created for victims and their families. The most recent estimates show that elder victims of financial exploitation lost $2.9 billion in one year and that the direct medical costs associated with violent injuries to older adults adds over $5.3 billion to annual U.S. health expenditures.

Abuse of the elderly is a growing phenomenon both nationally and in Montgomery County, especially as baby boomers age and the number of senior citizens grows. In Montgomery County the 65+ population has grown from approximately 98,157 (11%) in 2000 to a projected 144,290 (14.5%) in 2015.

These are various indications of possible abuse:

Physical Signs

• Insufficiently explained burns, cuts, wounds, black and blue marks, bruises or welts
• Unusual injuries
• Dirty, unshaven, unpleasant odor
• Undernourishment, dehydration
• Untreated medical condition Behavioral Signs
• Confusion, forgetfulness
• Anger
• Depression
• Fear, helplessness, shame Social Signs
• Isolated, little outside contact
• Violence or drug abuse
• Family with personal problems
• Unable to speak freely

Financial Signs

• Unusual bank account activity
• Change in spending habits
• Signature on checks do not match
• Unpaid bills

The Montgomery County Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force (EVAATF) consists of representatives from the Montgomery County Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services. Its goal is to prevent elder abuse, raise public awareness of elder abuse, support legislative efforts to establish stronger and better laws, and aggressively investigate and prosecute those who commit elder abuse.

The Senior Safety events are hosted by six agencies responsible for protecting the County’s seniors: the Montgomery County Police, the Ombudsman Program, Adult Protective Services, Licensure and Regulatory Services, the Office of the State’s Attorney, and the Office of the County Attorney – partnering with the Maryland Department of Aging, Maryland Department of Human Resources and the City of Rockville.

For information about County Senior Services: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs/.

 

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Release ID: 14-250
Media Contact: Lucille Baur 240-777-6507

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