Dear Abby highlights elder abuse, UCI Health Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect

June 13, 2013

In the media: The syndicated advice columnist Dear Abby shines a light today on the problem of elder abuse by publishing a letter from Mary Twomey of UCI Health Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect:

Dear Abby: June 15, 2013 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On this day, communities all over the USA and the world will sponsor events to shed light on the growing and tragic issue of elder abuse. Your readers, young and old, should be aware that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as five million seniors are abused or neglected each year in the United States. Elder abuse can be financial, physical, emotional, sexual and it also includes people who are neglected. Elders who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die. But elder abuse can be prevented – everyone should learn the warning signs and report it to Adult Protective Services or the police if they suspect it. For more information on what readers can do to join the fight against elder abuse, visit

Thank you, Abby, for all you do to help keep our seniors safe!


Mary Twomey, MSW
Co-director, Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect
Program in Geriatrics
University of California, Irvine

Dear Readers: I was dismayed to learn that 90 percent of elder abuse happens at the hands of a family member or a caregiver. The descriptions of the kinds of treatment these elderly adults experience are frightening, and frankly, not suitable for readers of all ages. That is why I am urging readers to get more information on this important subject by visiting

We can all stop this scourge if we know what to look for and are willing to speak up when we see the warning signs. There, but for the grace of God, go you and I.

The column is available in daily newspapers and online.