Missourians show support for Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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JEFFERSON CITY – Missourians gathered on Thursday at the State Capitol to observe International Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

In a news release, Lt. Governor Mike Parson said, “Missouri is home to over 1.3 million seniors, and the number of elder abuse cases in our state rises each year.” He encouraged residents in Jefferson City to take part in recognizing senior safety.   

In 2016, the Department of Health and Senior Services investigated more than 40,000 reports of abuse involving seniors and adults with disabilities living in the community.

Director of Senior and Disability Services Celesta Hartgraves said there are more than five million reported cases of elderly abuse each year. She also said for every one case that’s reported, there are 23 cases that go unreported.

“It may just make someone stop and think about an elderly person they know that they may have had a concern about,” Hartgraves said. “It may make them realize they can have someone they can contact or call if they have questions or concerns to talk about those concerns.”

This was the first year individuals placed pinwheels in the ground at the Department of Health and Senior Services office.

“The pinwheels are in recognition of every individual we’ve had a report of abuse or neglect on here in Cole County that are placed on the ground here in Jefferson City,” Hartgraves said.

The department partnered with Jefferson City High School’s Lady Jays Golf team to help raise awareness at the State Capitol.

More than thirty people handed out ribbons and posters emblazoned with the color purple, which symbolizes the awareness of elder abuse, the effects of abuse, neglect and bullying.

Elder Abuse Awareness Day was first recognized in 2006 as part of the United Nations International Plan of Action that sees elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

To report a senior or disabled adult who has been abused one could call the Department's Adult Abuse and Neglect toll-free hotline at 1-800-392-0210.