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UCI, White House launch Ageless Alliance

The campaign aims to broaden the discussion of elder abuse and neglect

by Griffin RogersPublished: June 18, 2012 08:35 AM

Ageless Alliance: United Against Elder Abuse, a social justice movement established by UC Irvine, launched a national campaign at the White House June 14 to help spread awareness about the abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly people.

Advocates of the movement seek to prevent the abuse of the most vulnerable adults in society, said Mary Twomey, co-director of the National Center on Elder Abuse and the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect at UCI.

“Elder abuse isn’t just a problem that affects older Americans; it affects all of us,” Twomey said. “That’s why it takes all of us to do something about it: kids, teens, grandparents and everyone in between. Ageless Alliance is our rallying cry to unite generations and create positive change.”

The event took place, in part, to recognize the seventh annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15. It offered a chance for public and private partners to come together and address the issues facing America’s seniors.

The daylong symposium was broadcast live  – starting at 9 a.m. on the White House’s website – and was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice. Interactive question-and-answer sessions and a variety of speakers were streamed across the Internet throughout the day.

Last year, actor Mickey Rooney spoke to the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging – as well as a national TV audience - about his experience as a victim of elder abuse. This event, in addition to the White House symposium, adds to the increasing awareness of elder abuse, Twomey said. With 70 million baby boomers approaching retirement age, now becomes a crucial time to face the issue.

About one in 10 elderly Americans are abused or neglected, whether intentionally or unintentionally, according to Ageless Alliance. For every case of abuse that gets reported, 23 other cases are never heard of.

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