World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was first launched in 2006 and has been observed ever since to bring attention to the problem of elder abuse so that it can be eliminated. It’s been estimated that approximately 1 out of 6 older adults have been subjected to abuse. To help reverse this situation, people everywhere need to come together to combat elder abuse no matter where it rears its ugly head.
The History of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
This holiday was first created by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse on June 15, 2006. It was later picked up by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized this holiday with the passage of Resolution 66/127 in December of that year. The purpose of this holiday was stated clearly as the one day of the year when the whole world comes together to voice its opposition to the suffering and abuse inflicted on our elderly population.
General Facts on Elder Abuse
To show everyone reading this the scope of the problem of elder abuse, we thought we’d list some of the things that we’ve learned about elder abuse in the world. The following facts should provide everyone with a general idea of how pervasive and insidious elder abuse is in our society.
- In the United States, it’s been estimated that approximately 10% of Americans above the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse.
- Out of all the cases of elder abuse in the U.S., it’s estimated that less than 4% of them are reported to the authorities.
- In about 60% of elder abuse cases, the perpetrator is a family member.
- Mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and social isolation increase the risks of an elderly person experiencing abuse.
- Physical signs of abuse can include unusual weight loss, dehydration, unexplained cuts or bruises, unsanitary living conditions, poor hygiene, and unattended medical needs.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression can also be signs of elder abuse.
- Sudden changes in the elderly person’s finances can be a sign of financial abuse.
- Another symptom of elder financial abuse is the accumulation of unpaid bills.
- Seniors who have been abused have a three times higher risk of death over the next three years compared to those who haven’t been abused.
- Most victims of elder abuse are dependent on their abuser for basic needs.
- Approximately 66% of all abuse perpetrators are adult children or spouses of the abused.
Observing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The main way to observe this day is to spread the word about elder abuse. You can also take the time to make sure that elderly members of your family are well taken care of and aren’t abused. While you’re spreading the word about this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #WorldElderAbuseAwarenessDay on your social media accounts to let the world know about the problem of elder abuse.