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UW-Superior to host Twin Ports Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Community Forum

By Jim Biros
The University of Wisconsin-Superior Center for Continuing Education hosts local commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) with the Twin Ports Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Community Forum on Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Swenson Hall on the campus of UW-Superior.

“One in 10 older Americans experience some type of abuse each year, according to estimates by the National Center on Elder Abuse and the Center for Disease Control,” said Esther Gieschen, program manager for the Center for Continuing Education at UW-Superior. “Using the most recent census data, that means more than 4,400 older adults experienced abuse each year in the greater Twin Ports area. Estimates of unreported cases vary from 14 to 20.5 for every case that is reported. With our increasing older adult population, more people than ever are likely to experience some type of abuse.”

Financial exploitation, fraud, scams, emotional and physical maltreatment and neglect are all forms of elder abuse. This forum will include an opening presentation addressing the prevalence of many kinds of elder abuse, the frequent escalation of abuse from what might not appear as abuse initially to severe abuse, as well as risk factors for abuse and indicators of abuse.

There will be updates from the Wisconsin Attorney General on his task force on elder abuse and from the Minnesota Governor’s work group on elder abuse. A panel of professionals from the Twin Ports who work with those experiencing elder abuse will provide examples of various types of abuse and discuss appropriate responses through several case studies. They will focus on what everyone can do to identify, report and prevent abuse. They will answer questions from participants and refer to area resources.

Registration for the forum is $10. CEUs are available for an additional $10. There will be registration, resources and a light meal from 5 – 5:30 p.m. with the program and additional resources from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. To register, go to or call 715-394-8469.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006, in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse.

The local planning group includes representatives from Douglas County Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, Adult Protection Services from Douglas and St. Louis Counties, Center Against Sexual & Domestic Abuse (CASDA), Till, Salzer & Blank, Ltd., WITC, Superior Housing Authority, City of Duluth Senior Programs, Superior Choice Credit Union, and The Center for Continuing Education at UW-Superior.

The forum is made possible with support from the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, local law enforcement departments and other community organization.