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King County Councilmembers advocate prevention of elder abuse

The following is a release from the King County Council:

In recognition of King County’s growing senior population and concerns about the safety of vulnerable adults, members of the Metropolitan King County Council today proclaimed June 15, 2014, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in King County.

“Looking out for the safety and well-being of vulnerable seniors is critically important,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a reminder that our seniors have spent a lifetime contributing to our community and keeping us safe, and now we must protect them from harm in their golden years.”

On June 15, communities around the globe observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The proclamation presented by the Council encourages everyone to help in the campaign to eliminate elder abuse. It also highlights the public and private agencies that work together to combat elder abuse, including the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County.

Elder abuse consists of intentional and negligent acts that harm seniors or jeopardize their health or welfare, including emotional or physical abuse, abandonment or financial loss and is inflicted upon vulnerable seniors across all socio-economic levels.

The most common perpetrators of elder abuse are caregivers or other trusted individuals such as a spouse, sibling or child, making it a form of domestic violence, according to The National Center on Elder Abuse.

The County Council’s proclamation was read in conjunction with a proclamation from the Seattle City Council also recognizing efforts to highlight Elder Abuse prevention efforts by the City of Seattle.

“Elders face increased physical and financial vulnerability,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the sponsor of the City’s proclamation. “Today we honor our community partners who work together with elders to deliver safe, supportive, and caring services and advocate against abuse and mistreatment.”

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office handles about 350 cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse and financial exploitation, and recognizes the need for focusing on those who take advantage of the vulnerable elderly population in King County. A specially trained unit is tasked with investigating and prosecuting elder abuse cases.

The Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County works with community partners to raise awareness, increase reporting of elder abuse and provide case management and advocacy services county-wide to survivors of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Councilmembers called for everyone in the community to help prevent elder abuse by recognizing and reporting any signs, such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and fear of family members, friends or caregivers. For more information, you can:

• Go to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s web site: www.kingcounty.gov/Prosecutor or call 206-296-9010

• Contact the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County’s at their website: http://www.agingkingcounty.org/ or call 206-684-0660

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