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Department on Aging Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

 Elderly couple looking at each other

Ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) are calling on community members to learn the warning signs of older adult abuse and help put a stop to it in Illinois.

“I am thinking about the thousands of older adults and people with disabilities who’ve endured trauma, neglect, and abuse that are too often overlooked and underreported,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Here in Illinois, our elders deserve to feel safe and dignified—and each of us can do our part by reporting warning signs of abuse and uplifting the rights of our older neighbors.”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, observed annually on June 15, serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older adults. Every year, an estimated one in 10 older Americans are known victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Experts believe, however, that such abuse is significantly underreported, in part because many communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as one in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.

Illinois’ Adult Protective Services (APS) program aims to prevent and resolves instances of abuse against older adults and persons with disabilities aged 18-59. The program is coordinated through 36 local provider agencies, whose trained caseworkers investigate allegations of abuse and connect victims with appropriate resources. In 2022, the APS program received nearly 20,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation.

Anyone can make a report of suspected abuse of an older adult or person with a disability by calling Illinois’ 24-hour APS hotline at 1-866-800-1409. For information on common types of abuse and warning signs to watch for, click here.

Ethan Holder is a student contributor for WSIU Public Broadcasting located at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org
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