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Tennessee Marks Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th

Capitol To Be Illuminated In Purple; Proclamation Launches State Efforts

Tennessee Department of Human ServicesNashville, TN – Since 2006, when purple was chosen as the “awareness color” for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), Tennessee — which acknowledges the annual effort through a series of events statewide — has played its part in “lighting the way” to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of elderly and vulnerable adults. This year is no exception.

The Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition (TVAC) is partnering with the Department of Human Services and the Commission on Aging and Disability in efforts designed to stem the growing problems of abuse (whether physical, sexual or emotional), neglect, and financial exploitation of elderly and vulnerable adults.

Tennessee State Capitol illuminated in honor of 2010 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. (Photo by Rob Johnson, State of Tennessee)
Tennessee State Capitol illuminated in honor of 2010 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. (Photo by Rob Johnson, State of Tennessee)

In recognition of those efforts, on June 15th, the Tennessee State Capitol will be illuminated in purple and Gov. Bill Haslam has issued a proclamation acknowledging WEAAD, and reminding Tennesseans that “it is our collective responsibility to ensure that [seniors] live safely and with dignity.”

Nearly 9,500 reports of adult abuse, neglect and/or financial exploitation were reported last year to the Tennessee Department of Human Services’ Adult Protective Services (APS) unit.  And 21,000 consumer complaints, including identity theft and fraud, were received by the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance. Elder abuse is an underreported crime because the victims are often isolated, vulnerable to the abuser or 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.

“Elder abuse is a tragedy that crosses socio-economic boundaries and impacts some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “I appreciate the work of all those who are committed to ensuring that our seniors are treated with respect and dignity and are protected from financial exploitation.”

Tennesseans are encouraged to wear something purple to help build awareness on this special day. For more information, please visit: http://tn.gov/humanserv/adfam/afs_aps.html  or http://www.tvaconline.org/ .

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