Sen. Dodd: June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, today announced a resolution designating June as Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month in recognition of a serious and growing crisis in California that was worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and continues to threaten the state’s most vulnerable, especially the homeless.
“Unfortunately, not a day goes by without reports of horrific cases of abuse or exploitation of the elderly or adults with disabilities,” Sen. Dodd said. “Turning a spotlight on the tragic nature of this problem as well as the warning signs are critical steps toward prevention. It is critical that we pay particular attention to how this crisis is affecting the homeless.”
Senate Concurrent Resolution 64 comes as the U.S. population continues to age with 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Californians older than 65 years of age are the fastest growing demographic. In 2021, it was estimated that 14.8% of California’s total population -- approximately 5.8 million people -- are 65 or older.
Each year, 10% of Americans 60 or older experience abuse. One in every nine individuals over 65 is living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and up to 25% experience mild cognitive impairment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors experienced an increase in stress and isolation, both of which have been shown to be highly detrimental to health.
There are 6 million cases of elder abuse nationwide with 11% of all cases in California, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Another report from the National Council on Aging shows only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities. During the pandemic, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia deaths increased by 16% as resources and caregivers were stretched to the limits. The death rate of older homeless adults is five times greater than the rate for housed adults, according to the California Commission on Aging.
Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month is recognized globally. This year’s theme is “California’s Response to Homelessness in Older Adults and People with Disabilities.” In 2022, the Legislature passed SCR 112, written by Sen. Dodd, mirroring national and international recognition of the problem in June.
“We wish to acknowledge and thank Sen. Dodd for authoring Senate Resolution 64, and for his ongoing leadership and commitment to improving the lives of California's most vulnerable communities,” said Leza Coleman, legislative director for California Commission on Aging, a resolution supporter. “This resolution reinforces the Legislature’s commitment to implementation of Gov. Newsom’s 2019 Executive Order calling for the development of a 10-year Master Plan for Aging by specifically addressing the current and growing crisis of abuse committed against our most vulnerable population.”
This year, Sen. Dodd has written two key bills that protect against elder financial abuse. His Senate Bill 278 holds banking institutions accountable for fraud against seniors. And his SB 263 brings protections for seniors and others who invest in annuities. Both bills have been approved in the Senate and are pending in the Assembly.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.