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Report: 1 in 10 of America’s elderly are victims of physical, mental abuse

The above photograph — provided by Shutterstock — is meant to illustrate the anguish one may experience if he or she is a victim of elder abuse here in Arizona and across the nation. (File Photos/
Learn how to help through Agency on Aging digital education campaign
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

During fiscal year 2021, Arizona’s Adult Protective Services reported more than 27,000 allegations of abuse, including physical abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect. The National Council on Aging is reporting 1 in 10 Americans who are 60 years and older are abused every year.

According to the NCOA, elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death compared with those who have not been mistreated, according to a press release.

Since 2005, June 15 has been designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by the United Nations to encourage communities to recognize the issue of elder abuse and provide information and tools to keep them safe, the release states.

“There are many factors that make older adults more vulnerable to abuse, ranging from social isolation and functional impairment to poor physical health and dementia,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic, in a prepared statement.

“The bottom line is that elder abuse is a significant public health problem and the numbers we have don’t paint a completely accurate picture because many victims are unable or afraid to report the violence. Education and awareness of the issue are vital to the community’s ability to protect the most vulnerable. Together we can tackle elder abuse.”

During June, the Area Agency on Aging is running a digital awareness and education campaign to reduce vulnerability based on the theme: “Together We Can Tackle Elder Abuse.”

The campaign includes public service announcements in print, broadcast and online media as well as visits to senior centers on June 15 to speak about elder abuse and raffle off tackle boxes with WEAAD theme and logos attached.

“We also need the general community to be aware of the signs of elder abuse and know what to do when they believe there’s a problem,” Kasunic said. “It’s vitally important that older adults understand the need to stay connected with their families and communities.”

Elder abuse can take the form of physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation, experts say.

Suspect elder abuse? Follow these steps:

  • Document the signs
  • If you suspect any form of Elder Abuse, please contact Adult Protective Services at 1-877-767-2385 or report online at
  • If the abuse is severe or you suspect the person may be in danger of more harm, call 9-1-1.
  • If you suspect abuse in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, contact the Area Agency on Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman at the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE 602-264-4357 (HELP).

For more information, visit or call the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at (602) 264-4357 (HELP).

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