World Elder Abuse Day is June 15
Virtually all countries are expected to see substantial growth in the number of older persons between 2015 and 2030, and that growth will be faster in developing regions. Because the numbers of older persons are growing, the amount of elder abuse can be expected to grow with it. While the taboo topic of elder abuse has started to gain visibility across the world, it remains one of the least investigated types of violence in national surveys, and one of the least addressed in national action plans.
Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, it occurs in every demographic and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. It is estimated that only one in five of these crimes are discovered.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN). WEAAD aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. In addition, WEAAD is held in support of the UN International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. This observance serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to abuse and to being unable to defend themselves and get help as fear and infirmity can be major barriers to seeking and getting help, and sometimes spotting and challenging abuse in the elderly isn’t easy, some are isolated having outlived family and friends, and some are abused in institutions where abuse is not spotted or is covered up, and in some cases the elderly are not given priority by authorities in abuse matters.
Learn more about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the USC Center on Elder Treatment’s website and learn how to spot the signs of elder abuse in your community. Together we can care for our elderly family members and friends and help to protect them from becoming victims of abuse.