June 15th Is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Data available from the National Council on Aging indicates that approximately one out of every ten Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some kind of elder abuse. This type of abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, as well as neglect of basic necessities.
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). We want to highlight some data surrounding elder abuse while also examining the importance of holding abusers accountable for their actions.
What is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?
WEAAD began on June 15th, 2006. Created by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO), this day seeks to provide an opportunity for communities around the globe to promote a better understanding of the neglect and abuse elderly individuals face on a daily basis.
WEAAD is a call to action, a plea to families, friends, lawyers, advocates, and other organizations to help solve the issue of neglect and abuse that plagues elder communities. This is a problem not just in other areas around the world but also here in the United States.
Why This Day Matters
Data presented by the National Council on Aging shows that one in every ten Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form of abuse. Some estimates indicate that as many as five million elderly individuals in the US sustain abuse each year. Unfortunately, this abuse is likely far underreported. The true devastation of elder abuse isn’t realized in the data.
This abuse can take many forms. Some of the main debuse that affect elderly individuals here in the US include:
- Physical abuse, which includes any type of physical pain or injury inflicted on an older adult.
- Sexual abuse, which revolves around any touching, intercourse, fondling, or sexual activity with an older adult when the older adult is unable to consent or understand or if they are forced or threatened.
- Emotional abuse, which includes verbal assaults, threats of abuse, intimidation, or harassment. Often, emotional abuse is accompanied by physical abuse, but it does not necessarily have to be.
- Financial exploitation, which indicates any type of misuse of an elderly adult’s resources or withholding of their resources.
- Willful neglect, which includes withholding basic necessities from an elderly individual, including medical care, food, shelter, and basic hygienic services.
As World Elder Abuse Awareness Day approaches, we strongly encourage all of you to think about elderly individuals in your life. Are they being looked after? Do you know who is providing their care?
The best way to prevent elderly individuals from becoming victims of abuse is for friends and family members to stay involved in their life. Elderly individuals deserve the respect and dignity that we all expect when we reach that age.
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of any type of abuse at the hands of a caregiver, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. You need an advocate who can provide assistance to help you obtain justice on behalf of your loved one. Nobody deserves to be treated poorly or abused, particularly when they have reached a vulnerable state.