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Pasadena Marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Amid Rising Senior Population

City officials emphasize the importance of community connections to combat elder abuse as senior population grows by 24% in the last decade

Published on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | 4:47 pm

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults. The Pasadena Public Health Department is spearheading local efforts to highlight the significance of this day and to call for stronger societal supports to protect older residents.

“Older people are vital, contributing members of our Pasadena community and their maltreatment diminishes all of us,” said Manuel Carmona of the Pasadena Public Health Department. “We can design stronger societal supports to keep our older people connected and protect them from abuse, whether financial, emotional, physical, or sexual.”

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that one in ten Americans over the age of 60 experience elder abuse, yet only one in fourteen cases come to the attention of authorities. This statistic underscores the importance of community vigilance and reporting suspected abuse.

In Pasadena, the senior population has seen significant growth. “There are over 15% more adults over the age of 65 than there were 10 years ago, and the senior population is the fastest growing age group in Pasadena, increasing over 24% in the last decade,” said Vivian Gonzales. She also noted that more seniors live below the federal poverty level in Pasadena than in Los Angeles County as a whole.

The Pasadena Public Health Department, in collaboration with the Pasadena Elderly and Dependent Adult Liaisons Committee, is coordinating local resources to ensure that residents in care facilities receive the attention they deserve. 

“We have a collective responsibility to help improve social structures that promote community and societal connections,” said Akila Gibbs. 

Gibbs is Executive Director of the Pasadena Senior Center.

“These connections help reduce the likelihood of abuse, help us to recognize it, and lead to reporting suspected abuse,” she said.

Rachel Tate of WISE & Healthy Aging emphasized the various forms of elder abuse, which can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, neglect, and abandonment. 

“Abuse can happen to any older person by a loved one, a hired caregiver, or a stranger. Abuse can happen at home, at a relative’s home, or in long-term care settings,” she said. Tate urged the community to watch for signs of abuse, such as depression, confusion, withdrawal, isolation, unexplained bruises, burns, or scars, and changes in banking or spending patterns.

“If you see signs of elder abuse, talk with the older adult and then contact Adult Protective Services, the long-term Care Ombudsman program, or the police,” Tate advised.

Carmona said there is a collective responsibility to prevent and address elder abuse.

“It is up to everyone to prevent and address elder abuse. Thank you for doing your part to enable our older Pasadenans to live well as independently as possible while continuing to contribute to the vibrancy of our city.”

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