Pitt County Recognizes June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Wear purple on Wednesday to raise awareness of neglect and abuse of elders
PITT COUNTY, N.C. – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 to provide communities an opportunity to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
In an effort to raise awareness of neglect and abuse within our senior population, Pitt County Department of Social Services (DSS) invites Pitt County businesses and residents to wear purple on June 15, 2022 and share photos in show of support.
From July 2020 – June 2021 in Pitt County, 766 reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation were received. More than 580 of those reports were screened and assessed with and over 250 were offered services to meet their Protective Services needs. Pitt County DSS maintains a staff of 8 Social Workers to carry out the responsibility of this work.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is estimated that for every one case of reported abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect, approximately five more incidents go unreported. Most victims are dependent on their abuser for basic needs, with the most common form of abuse being financial exploitation; followed by physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse.
“Warning signs of abuse may include broken bones, bruises, bedsores, abrasions, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss or unattended medical needs. Other signs can include uncharacteristic purchases by the individual (or caregiver), failure to pay bills or keep appointments,” says Cynthia Ross, DSS Program Manager, Adult Protective Services.
Elder abuse cases are mainly perpetrated by trusted family members, friends, service providers, peers and strangers. Abusers can be men or women of any demographic or socioeconomic status. Scammers may target the elderly through romance scams, fake contests, and impersonating family members or officials.
“We invite our healthcare partners and the community to wear purple on June 15 to support awareness of elder abuse. Everyone is encouraged to share their ‘Wear Purple’ photos by email to PittInfo@pittcountync.gov to be published online in a collage showing Countywide support for World Elder Abuse Awareness,” Ross continues.
If you suspect any type of abuse, contact DSS immediately at 252-902-1110. Tell the operator you wish to make an “Adult Protective Services Report” and allow for time to make the report. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.
To learn more about DSS efforts to prevent elder abuse or ways private residents and organizations can help, call 252-902-1110 or visit www.PittCountyNC.gov/DSS.