Recognizing Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Recognizing Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15th, 2024 | Media Release

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), and Nebraska recognizes the date to promote awareness of elder abuse, signs of it happening, and the steps to take for prevention.

“Elder abuse is a serious occurrence that sometimes doesn’t get the attention that it deserves,” said Kathleen Stolz, Deputy Director of Protection and Safety for the Division of Children and Family Services. “It’s vital that we take the time to learn how to prevent this from happening to one of our most vulnerable and vital populations.”

Abuse or neglect occurs with as many as 1 in 10 older Americans each year, but only 1 in 14 cases ever come to the attention of authorities. Elder abuse has many common forms, including:

  • Physical Abuse – The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment, or any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse – Verbally yelling, intimidating, harassing, demeaning, belittling, or threatening an individual.
  • Neglect and Isolation by Others – Failure to provide the basic care, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult. This failure can be active or passive.
  • Financial Abuse – The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets.

When elder abuse is happening, there are also several signs, including:

  • Lack of basic amenities;
  • Bruises, broken bones, or other wounds.
  • Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior;
  • Untreated bedsores or other untreated medical issues;
  • Unpaid bills, new credit cards, and/or increased cash withdrawals;
  • Harassment, coercion, intimidation, and/or humiliation of an older adult; or
  • Isolation by caregiver.

In addition, the FBI estimated financial abuse and exploitation of older Americans costs more than $3 billion in losses annually. Seniors may be targeted more because they are perceived by scam artists to have more free time, a willingness to talk, or may be more trusting. The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has tips for staying safe:

  • Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone or shut the door on unwanted solicitations. Be direct, and rude if you have to.
  • Never pay money upfront to collect a prize.
  • Beware that wiring money is just like sending cash. Once you send it, it is gone for good. The same applies to sending money using prepaid cards.
  • On landline phones, strengthen Caller ID with the addition of at least two calling features Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) and Selective Call Rejection (*60). Virtually all telephone carriers offer these services free or for a nominal additional fee. On mobile phones, use built-in features, carrier-provided features, and third-party call-blocking apps to stop unwanted calls.
  • Order your free credit report at least once a year through Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion also offer free weekly credit reports.
  • Call law enforcement immediately if you think you have been victimized.

If Nebraskans have reason to believe a vulnerable adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, call the Nebraska Child and Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline toll-free at 1-800-652-1999 or a local law enforcement agency. The Hotline is operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and language lines are available for non-English speakers. For more resources, please visit


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