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article imageElder Abuse a Serious Matter in U.S., Canada

By Carol Forsloff     May 27, 2009 in Health
As baby boomers age, more and more of them are concerned about their futures. With life expectancy increasing the focus is now on the treatment of the elderly. Elder abuse is considered a serious national problem both in the United States and Canada.
No one is safe from elder abuse, including the rich and powerful, as headlines observe. Even philanthropist Brook Astor was a victim. Her son Anthony Marshall was reported to have mistreated her in a series of scandals involving the Astor family before Brook’s death in 2007. Elder abuse is beginning to gain more and more attention with the aging of the population and high profile cases like these.
To add to the awareness the University of Delaware in cooperation with the National Center on Elder Abuse has developed an information piece featuring actor William Mapother of television's show lost. This short film will be shown on more than 700 screens in 50 movie theaters around the country. The hopes are to provide a single message reflecting concern about elders and their care. It will be shown during the May 22 through June 18, 2009. Mapother has been a national spokesperson for elder abuse awareness for several years.
Kathleen Sebelius, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, said, "Our older Americans deserve our respect and honor, not abuse and neglect," "This landmark awareness effort will help us focus on an important issue that has received far too little attention. Public awareness is a significant first step toward reducing the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of seniors."
According to MEDLINE elder abuse is a serious problem in the United States. Each of the 50 states have laws against elder abuse. It is defined as actions that causes harm toward overly person or places them at risk. These can include the following:
• Physical, sexual and emotional abuse
• Neglecting or deserting an older person you are responsible for
• Taking or misusing an elderly person's money or property
Elder abuse does not just occur in institutions. It also happens within the family. That's why there is a national campaign to alert communities about the significance of the problem. Problems of elder abuse are not just a problem in the United States. During the past month Canada’s Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, stated,
The Government of Canada recognizes the contributions Canadian seniors have made in building our country. They deserve to have the best quality of life possible-this is an important goal of the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Raising awareness of elder abuse will help to ensure the safety and security of seniors across Canada.
The National Center for Elder Abuse sponsors World Elder Abuse Day on June 15, an annual event. The film on elder abuse coincides with it. A website with additional information on both the film and issues of elder abuse can be found here.
More about Elder abuse, Exploitation seniors, Institutional care
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