LT. GOVERNOR BYSIEWICZ, STATE OFFICIALS MARK WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY, HIGHLIGHT PROGRAMS THAT HELP SUPPORT OLDER ADULTS LIVING IN CONNECTICUT
(Hartford, CT) —Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz today joined state agency and community leaders to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and highlight the programs and systems in place to support older adults living in Connecticut.
During Thursday’s press conference at Windham Senior Center, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz was joined by Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter, Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter, Department of Banking Director of Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Matt Smith, State Representative Susan Johnson, Windham Mayor Tom DeVivo, and AARP Connecticut Director Nora Duncan.
“Our state agencies and advocates work hard every day to build strong support in order to protect our seniors and prevent elder abuse in Connecticut. Combating elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation is always of top priority,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz. “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to educate our residents on the resources available to keep our older adults safe and independent. Public awareness is key to strengthening the ability to combat elder abuse.”
Launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of seniors by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic dynamics impacting elder abuse and neglect.
Approximately one in ten Americans age 60+ have experienced abuse. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.
“When we strive to educate, empower, promote better understanding we can build strong support for our older residents and their families,” said Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter.“We can address elder abuse by putting support systems in place and ensure older adults know their rights, live in strong communities, and retain their independence in ways that are personally meaningful.”
“Protecting seniors from financial exploitation has long been a priority of the Department of Banking," said Commissioner Jorge Perez. "Through our educational outreach program, we provide information and resources directly to seniors in our community and offer training to financial professionals to recognize the warning signs of financial exploitation of seniors, as well as where to report suspected cases. In addition, we applaud the recent passage of SB 1088 An Act Concerning the Financial Exploitation of Senior Citizens, a department proposal designed to fight elder financial abuse.”
“State officials and our Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut partners continue to demonstrate their commitment to building strong support for older adults in our community,” said State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut Member Mairead Painter. “Our networks work together to provide access to information and advocacy, giving older adults and their loved ones resources to help keep them safe, strong and as independent as possible in the setting of their choosing.”
“By working together to raise awareness and pass legislation that protects older adults and enables professionals to stop fraud or abuse before it happens, we make Connecticut a safer place for everyone,” said AARP CT State Director Nora Duncan. “We are pleased that the 2023 legislative session was one that brought success on many fronts.”
“I don't think it's a surprise to say that seniors have been really isolated over the last several years. Many of us, especially seniors, are more vulnerable to these types of abuse when you don't necessarily have help on a regular basis, and some of those trusted allies that you had a continuous relationship with some of that's faded away a little bit,” said State Senator Mae Flexer. “I'm really grateful to be here with so many organizations that are standing up for seniors.”
"It's great to host this event right here in the Senior Center, where we establish relationships with each other,” said State Representative Susan Johnson. “And that way we have protections because you know who we are, and we can talk openly about things that occur. You can always contact my office for help, and I can provide the right direction.”
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you feel someone's trying to cheat you, just ask for help,” said Windham Mayor Tom DeVivo. “If anything happens, we're here to protect you. We're here to take care of you.”
By continuing to work together, we can reduce social isolation, protect older adults and families against elder abuse, and build a community that works to the benefit of all. For more information you can visit www.elderjusticct.org.
- Twitter: Twitter
- Facebook: Facebook