Bringing attention to the issue of elder abuse and how it can be prevented, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Britnee N. Timberlake and Angela McKnight sponsor a resolution to designate an annual ‘Elder Abuse Awareness Day’ in New Jersey. The resolution unanimously passed the full Assembly on Monday.
Approximately one in 10 Americans over the age of 59 experience some form of elder abuse, which may involve physical or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, and/or financial abuse. Signs of abuse can include poor hygiene, anxiety, depression, a sudden change in the senior’s finances, and/or injuries such as cuts, bruises and broken bones.
The resolution (AJR-123) would designate June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day each year in order to foster awareness and an understanding of the issue throughout New Jersey. The goal of the day would be to help residents understand the signs of elder abuse, why it happens, and how individuals and communities can work to prevent it.
Upon the resolution’s passage, Assembly sponsors Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic) and McKnight (D-Hudson) issued the following joint statement:
“As seniors begin to encounter more physical and mental challenges in their later years, many rely on family members or nursing home staff to take care of them. Yet rather than keeping them safe, some caretakers choose to abuse the seniors in their care instead. It is truly tragic to think of our vulnerable elders being taken advantage of by the very people they thought they could trust.
“We must raise awareness about all that elder abuse entails, including why it happens, how to spot it, and how to report it. An annual Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an important step in helping more residents understand this issue so we can protect seniors throughout our state.”
The measure now heads to the Senate.