This past Tuesday, Marie-Therese Connolly, a former Department of Justice lawyer, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for elder abuse activism. The MacArthur Fellowship is a $500,000 grant awarded annually to individuals who show promise in pursuit of intellect to the benefit of human society.
Connolly has been trying to draw attention to elder abuse for years, with unceasing work to expose elder abuse in all forms. She founded Life Long Justice, a nonprofit organization to expose and combat elder abuse. She authored the first piece of federal legislation to address elder abuse called the Elder Justice Act, and is currently writing a book on the issue.
According to Connolly, “… up to 5 million elders are victimized each year and 84% of all cases go unreported, although reliable data are lacking. Despite the aging of 77 million baby boomers age, the problem has remained virtually invisible unlike analogous issues such as child abuse and neglect and violence against women.” (Source, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/staff/marie-therese-connolly).
Connolly discusses the numbers further based on recent research:
- 7.6% – 11% of people 60+ at home are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.
- 47% of people with dementia at home are abused or neglected by their caregivers.
- For every one case of elder abuse that comes to light, 23.5 do not.
- 50%-90% of nursing homes are understaffed at levels that harm residents.
You may link to Connolly’s nonprofit, Life Long Justice at http://www.appleseednetwork.org/bOurProjectsb/LifeLongJustice/tabid/594/Default.aspx. The site is a great resource that provides a wealth of information on elder abuse including statistics, background, fiscal considerations, Congressional testimony, and legislative proposals.