World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Since 2006, June has been declared World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and June 15th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  The Department of Social Services, in collaboration with community and state partners, held a virtual World Elder Abuse Awareness Event on Thursday, June 2, 2022.  This year’s theme was “From Loneliness to Resilience.” Special guests Stu Maddox and Joseph Applebaum, creators of the film “Gen Silent,” shared an exclusive clip from their latest film, “All the Lonely People,” which places a human face on the hidden epidemic of chronic loneliness and social isolation. Also, panelists from several agencies that serve older adults and people with disabilities discussed strategies their organizations developed to combat loneliness and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following link is the recording of the two-hour event (due to copyright reasons, the movie clip has been removed): World Elder Abuse Awareness Event

Elder Isolation Abuse Awareness

Below is a clip from an upcoming film, “All the Lonely People”, created by Stu Maddux and Joseph Applebaum. The film places a human face on the hidden epidemic of chronic loneliness and social isolation. One of the types of abuse county APS programs are responsible for investigating and offering intervention is isolation. This type of abuse occurs when one individual intentionally prevents another individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors. In fiscal year 2020-21, California county APS programs investigated 4,407 reports of isolation abuse, which is a 125% percent increase from fiscal year 2011-12.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone experienced loneliness and isolation in their own, unique way. For some individuals, including elders, this resulted in cognitive decline and increased susceptibility to fraud and exploitation. A recent FBI report stated that individuals over the age of 60 lost nearly $1 billion to scammers through financial fraud or an internet scheme. This was a $300 million increase since 2019. Several California county APS agencies used federal funding to create fliers to educate the public, including APS clients, on COVID-19 financial scams. The FBI stated that seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite and may be less inclined to report fraud.

This film clip not only highlights how individuals experience and deal with loneliness, but also how to build and strengthen the community and the impact building and strengthening a community can have on an individual. During the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s aging service network learned to be innovative and creative when combatting isolation in the community. Various public and private agencies expedited new approaches to ensuring elders and dependent adults stayed connected to their services and maintained a strong support system.

If you are interested in learning more about “All the Lonely People” or viewing the full movie, Click Here.