Tennessee Department of Human Services Prepares to Acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 and Encourages Tennesseans to Recognize and Report the Signs of Elder AbuseIn recognition of WEAAD, Tennessee will light the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge and Tennessee State Capitol Building cupola in purple on June 15.
NASHVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) and partner organizations are recognizing June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by bringing awareness to the signs of abuse, methods to report abuse, and resources for caretakers. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization established WEAAD in 2006 to increase community awareness of this growing problem. Marking the 17th anniversary of this global initiative, TDHS is committed to empower communities to take action and promote the well-being and safety of older adults. In recent years, the department’s Adult Protective Services (APS) program has led efforts to strengthen coordination among partners such as sister state agencies, state councils and commissions, law enforcement and legal authorities, and other organizations to combat elder abuse.
June 15, 2023 has also been proclaimed as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Tennessee by Governor Bill Lee. In recognition, the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge and Tennessee State Capitol Building cupola in Nashville will be lit in the official recognition color of purple on June 15th.
"Our older adults deserve respect, dignity, and protection from all forms of abuse," commented Clarence H. Carter, TDHS Commissioner. "As we prepare to commemorate Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we urge every Tennessean to become familiar with the signs of elder abuse and take action to prevent and report any suspected instances of mistreatment. Together, we can create a safer and more caring community for vulnerable Tennesseans to thrive."
Currently, the Adult Protective Services (APS) program investigates allegations of neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. In 2016, APS led the creation of the Coordinated Community Response Team with 20 other government and non-profit agencies that play a role in responding to the abuse of vulnerable adults. The goal was to improve communications, streamline investigations, and reduce the number of abusive unlicensed facilities. In addition, APS recently hosted their annual 2023 CARES Conference in collaboration with Tennessee State University to great success, which brought together community leaders and service providers dedicated to improving conditions for older and vulnerable Tennesseans.
Elder abuse can take various forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse, as well as neglect and abandonment. The signs of elder abuse may not always be evident, making it imperative for friends, family members, caregivers, and community members to stay informed and recognize the warning signs. Some common indicators of elder abuse include unexplained injuries, sudden changes in behavior or mood, withdrawal from usual activities, unexplained financial transactions, and poor personal hygiene.
TDHS encourages all Tennesseans to actively engage in preventing and reporting elder abuse. Individuals can report suspected abuse at https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/ or by calling 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) toll free.
ABOUT THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES (TDHS)
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) consists of multiple divisions with a unified mission to build strong families by connecting Tennesseans to employment, education, and supportive services. Led by governor-appointed Commissioner Clarence H. Carter, TDHS serves nearly two million Tennesseans to ensure that all state residents have an opportunity to reach their full potential as contributing members of their community. Among the many services and programs provided by TDHS, some of the leading programs include the Child Support Program, Child and Adult Day Services and Licensing, Families First (the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Rehabilitation Services for people with disabilities, and Adult Protective Services, along with many others. TDHS is an organization committed to connecting people to resources that help individuals, families and communities thrive towards long-term economic freedom and prosperity. For more information, please visit: Tennessee Department of Human Services.