Elder abuse on the rise in U.S.

Posted: Sep. 14, 2020 12:01 am

To The Herald-Whig:

Elder abuse is on the rise in America, and individuals living with dementia are particularly susceptible. In fact, as many as 62% of the 5.8 million Americans living with dementia experience psychological abuse, and as many as one-fourth have been physically abused.

As someone who has been personally impacted by this disease through my grandfather's journey with it, we cannot ignore the severity of this issue, especially during an isolating and unprecedented time in our nation's history.

Unfortunately, professionals who deal with elder abuse have little training on how to work with people with dementia. Thus, they may interpret their interactions as uncooperative, disruptive or combative rather than fully understanding the unique needs of those living with the disease. Thankfully, the Promoting Alzheimer's Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S. 3703/H.R. 6813) will require elder abuse training specifically for dementia for these professionals to improve the quality of interactions and ultimately protect this vulnerable group from elder abuse.

This vital legislation is already on the move, thanks to our U.S. senators after a vote in their chamber. Now the House must follow suit, and that is why we need our Rep. Darin LaHood to again be a leader in the fight to protect people living with Alzheimer's and all other dementia. Please join me in asking Congressman LaHood to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 6813. Together, we can prevent elder abuse!

Calleen Kamphaus

Plainville, Ill.