World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Building Awareness in the U.S. Capital

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging, Kathy Greenlee, talks about worldwide elder abuse prevention measures.On June 15, IAHSA and LeadingAge co-hosted a reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which encourages communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

  • Bob Blancato, Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) and National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition

  • Niles Godes, Senior Vice President of Housing and Capital of LeadingAge

  • Rob Long, Head of Regulatory Affairs and Elder Client Initiatives, Wells Fargo Advisors

Mr. Blancato provided opening remarks, praising the landmark passage of the Older Americans Act and recognizing the trailblazing work done by the founder of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Dr. Elizabeth Podnieks, who was in attendance.

Next, Rep. Bonamici said, “Supporting seniors is not a partisan issue, and it should not be one.”

She also stressed that  working on elder abuse is far from over, as 1/5 of older Americans are still victims of abuse. While the recently passed Older Americans Act has some protections for seniors, the public still needs further education on identifying and preventing elder abuse.

Assistant Secretary Greenlee discussed the international aspect of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, how the United States leads the world in elder abuse prevention, and that advocates worldwide need to keep each other informed about successful prevention measures.

The event ended with remarks from Mr. Long, focusing on new training techniques for bankers to recognize signs of financial elder abuse and ways to work with social workers to prevent elder abuse.

IAHSA and LeadingAge co-hosted this event with the goal of bringing more awareness to elder abuse issues and will continue to research preventative solutions. We also thank our partners for their commitment and dedication to finding solutions and protecting our elders around the world.