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Division of Aging and Adult Services Brings Attention to Elder Abuse

Elder abuse

The Division of Aging and Adult Services works to protect the state’s vulnerable adults and elders.

Aug. 3, 2017 — The N.C. Department of Health and Health Services’ Division of Aging and Adult Services and its partners recently collaborated on efforts to raise awareness about protecting elders across the state.

Their efforts centered on marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.

“It is important that we recognize this day,” said Suzanne Merrill, Aging and Adult Services Director. “We must have engaged communities that know how to identify, report and prevent elder abuse and neglect.”

On Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix Campus, the division raised awareness for elder abuse by decorating trees with lavender ribbons and placing signs with information about elder abuse in North Carolina.

The division broadened their scope to bring attention to the issue not only on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, but throughout the month between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This included a proclamation from Governor Roy Cooper that the period of time be known as Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Months.

During the month, DAAS highlighted collaborative efforts with partners throughout the state, including hospice providers, long-term care providers, law enforcement, first responders, faith groups, victim advocacy groups, mental health and substance abuse providers, and local elected officials.

Thanks to these partnerships, multidisciplinary teams, local outreach events, ribbon campaigns, county commissioner proclamations, information fairs and awareness walks were organized to help combat elder abuse in North Carolina.

Merrill applauded the efforts made by the state and its partners to recognize Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

“Nearly every county across the state has some type of elder abuse prevention team,” she said. “We commend the efforts made by these teams in planning community outreach events, often taking place on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was created in 2006 to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic factors that contribute to elder abuse and neglect. The observance also supports the United Nations International Plan of Action, which acknowledges the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

For additional information about elder abuse or to join the effort to eradicate it, contact the Division of Aging and Adult Services at (919) 855-3400.

Ryan Hill