Light the White House Purple June 15 World Elder Abuse Day
Millions of Americans, over the age of 60, suffer from physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and self-neglect, and financial exploitation, and are powerless to stop it. One in ten elders have experienced, at least, one type of abuse, but fewer than one in five cases are ever reported. The vast majority of elders who are victimized never get the help they need. An estimated one in 25 instances of financial exploitation are reported to authorities, suggesting that there may be 5 million financial abuse victims each year. Financial exploitation costs our elders $2.6 billion per year and untold millions in taxpayer money from public health and long-term care benefits, after losing their life savings to financial exploitation by family members, caregivers and scammers. The victim's personal losses associated with abuse, including the risk of premature death, the loss of independence, homes, life savings, health, dignity, and security, cannot be measured. Elder abuse is an under-reported crime because the victims are often isolated, vulnerable to the abuser and, in many cases, unable to speak for themselves. Many victims are reluctant to report abuse because they may: feel ashamed and embarrassed, particularly if a family member is the abuser; be afraid that the abuser will get "in trouble;" worry that they will be forced to live in a nursing home, which sometimes happens; feel guilty or somehow to blame; be in denial that the abuse is occurring or unaware that what they are experiencing is abuse or neglect; or be afraid that if they report, the abuse will get worse. Some victims are unable to speak out due to dementia or other impairments, or may not be believed when they do. Since an estimated 10,000 persons born in the baby boom generation will turn 65 each day for the next 18 years, the problem of elder abuse and financial exploitation will only become greater. To raise awareness of this problem, "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day" is observed annually on June 15th. The color purple has been designated by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse as the official color of this observance. Therefore, to raise awareness of the issue of Elder Abuse in America, we the undersigned petition President Barack Obama to Light the White House Purple on June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, to bring attention to the abuse of our most vulnerable citizens.