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June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Black and white close-up image of an older woman with the following words: physical, emotional abuse, financial exploitation and neglect
Image Source: National Council on Aging

Mark your calendars! June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The first World Day in 2006 involved several hundred organizations and governmental bodies at international, national, regional and neighborhood levels. The purpose of WEAAD is 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. The day supports the United Nations International Plan of Action, which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

Throughout the world, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older people is an under-recognized and poorly understood problem. Unfortunately, no community or country in the world is immune from this devastating and costly public health and human rights crisis. Each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. For older people, the consequences of abuse can be very serious. It is estimated that American seniors lose $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation. Lost funds could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Even a relatively minor physical injury can cause serious damage and result in permanent disability, pain, and suffering. Equally as serious as physical abuse, elders across the globe suffer from neglect, financial exploitation, sexual, and psychological abuse.

All countries, communities, and organizations interested in working to help bring recognition to, and ultimately eliminate, elder abuse are urged to take part in the 6th Annual World Elder Abuse Day on June 15, 2011. Awareness programs can include volunteer or educational programs, cultural and arts events, social media campaigns, or any activity that seeks to increase awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

For ideas on what you can do to raise awareness of elder abuse, download the Elder Abuse Awareness Community Guide Tool Kit, or these tip sheets for activities developed by AoA’s National Center on Elder Abuse:

Below are a few example activities you can do on June 15th:

  • Join or form a group to address concern about elder abuse
  • Host a lecture, debate or presentation on elder abuse
  • Volunteer to call or visit an isolated senior
  • Submit an editorial or press release to your local newspaper to create awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation
  • Start a page on Facebook about fighting elder abuse and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
  • Start a discussion group on LinkedIn.com and invite people to join
  • Sign up on Twitter and send daily messages about Elder Abuse and WEAAD

Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
AoA’s NCEA website contains many resources to help you find assistance, publications, data, information, and answers about elder abuse. For information and ideas about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, visit the “Join Us in the Fight Against Elder Abuse” section of the website.

The International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA)
INPEA produced the Elder Abuse Awareness Community Guide Tool Kit (PDF). This Tool Kit provides sample ideas and templates for activities and examples of materials, resources, proclamations, and messages. Additionally, INPEA’s WEAAD web page features logos, posters, a fact sheet on elder abuse and other resources to promote WEAAD.