Last week Governor Noem proclaimed South Dakota will now take part in recognizing June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day (EAAD). World EAAD began in 2006 by the World Health Organization along with the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Taking part in World EAAD is a way to promote an understanding of the abuse and neglect of older adult populations across the state.
The establishment of EAAD also sheds light on the preventative measures taken by the Office of the Attorney General to stop elder abuse in South Dakota. The first is The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit who, paired with local law enforcement and prosecutors, investigates all abuse for victims 65 years of age or older, across South Dakota. Second, is The Consumer Protection Division who addresses issues of scam and fraud. And the third unit is The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which investigates allegations of abuse from healthcare providers and issues with Medicaid.
Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, South Dakota Department of Human Services Cabinet Secretary, stated, “Pay attention to your elderly friends, loved ones, and neighbors. Reach out if you observe signs of neglect or caregiver burnout, weight change, lack of interest in activities or people, and untidy appearance to name a few. Concerns can be reported confidentially to Dakota at Home at 1-833-663-9673.”