UNI program will help increase awareness of problems faced by the elderly <br>

Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2002

Julia Wallace, dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, (319) 273-2221
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

Iowa saw approximately 1,500 cases of elder abuse last year, but experts believe that at least another 7,000 cases went unreported. Included are cases of neglect as well as physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse, although many of these cases are unintentional.

'What often happens is that an elderly person gets into a situation where he or she need a caretaker, and the caretaker really doesn't know how to care for that adult,' explains Julia Wallace, dean of UNI's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where a new gerontology program will begin this fall. In other cases, the caretaker may have dependency issues -- like alcoholism or economic hardship -- that lead the caretaker to take advantage of the elderly person.

'The question really is education,' says Wallace. 'Most of us who are middle-aged and younger don't know enough about what goes on in the elderly population to adequately address situations.'