June 2023 Newsletter


Raising Awareness About Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation


In 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization declared June 15th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This is an opportunity for communities around the world to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

Elder abuse is any abuse, including physical, financial, sexual, emotional, or neglect, against an older adult. It occurs in the home, in facilities, and out in communities. Abuse can be committed by family, caregivers, professionals, friends, or even strangers. The majority of abuse is committed within the family. Research has shown that 10% of all older adults in the community will experience some form of abuse. These rates are even higher for older adults living with dementia. Research suggests that between 27% and 55% of individuals living with dementia experience elder abuse. Unfortunately, most of this abuse goes unreported. Only 4% of elder abuse cases are ever reported.

Elder abuse has devastating consequences. Survivors may not only incur significant financial losses. They may also be at higher risk for health issues. Survivors have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality compared to older adults of a similar age who have not experienced elder abuse. Studies show that they have a 300% higher risk of early death than their peers. Given these alarming statistics, it is vital that anyone interacting with older adults know the signs of elder abuse and know how to report it.

Warning signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained / untreated injuries
  • Broken / unused assistive devices or medical equipment
  • Repeated hospitalizations
  • Poor hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition
  • Fear of someone in their life
  • Emotional distress, agitation, withdrawal
  • Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem
  • Trouble sleeping / changes in appetite
  • Out of character financial decisions
  • A caregiver who ignores the older adult, is overly defensive, or doesn’t allow the older adult to talk privately
  • An unsafe, unhygienic home 
  • Unpaid bills around the home
  • A lack of food or other necessities in the home

All reports of suspected elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation should be made to Adult Protective Services in the county where the older adult lives. Reports can also be made to the Virginia State Hotline: 888-832-3858


Acierno, R. et al., (2009). National Elder Mistreatment Study. (U.S. Department of Justice grant report, NCJ 226456, March 2009), https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/226456.pdf

Dong, X, Simon, M., Mendes de Leon, C., Fulmer, T., Beck, T., Hebert, L. (2009). Elder self-neglect and abuse and mortality risk in a community-dwelling population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(5), 517–526. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.1109

Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University, & New York City Department for the Aging. (2011). Under the radar: New York State elder abuse prevalence study. Self-reported prevalence and documented case surveys, Final report. New York, NY: William B. Hoyt Memorial New York State Children and Family Trust Fund, and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services


Older adults
RAFT logo

Dementia Support Program


The RAFT Dementia Support Program is a new initiative in Northern Virginia that is part of the RAFT Program. The RAFT Dementia Support Program fulfills a vital community need for individuals with dementia and their caregivers to prevent psychiatric hospitalizations, and to provide comprehensive education and planning to improve caregiver resilience while improving safety and stability in community placement. 


Anyone can make a referral to the program, using the online referral form. Or contact Sydney Palinkas at spalinkas@arlingtonva.us or 703-814-2701. 


Supporting Those Living with Dementia & Reframing Challenging Behaviors - Hosted by Positive Community

June 6th 12pm - 1pm



7611 Little River Turnpike
Suite 200
Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-531-2144
TTY: 703-228-1788

Email: raftdementia@arlingtonva.us