June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
We don’t talk about elder abuse very often. It’s time to change that.
We might avoid the conversation because the numbers are staggering. The Administration for Community Living reports that each year over five million older adults are neglected, exploited, or abused. Elder abuse looks different in every context. Abuse can happen through physical harm, sexual assault, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, or even neglect and abandonment. Regardless of its form, elder abuse is common, and too often goes unnoticed.
We might avoid the conversation because we don’t know what to do. There are no easy answers for ending or preventing elder abuse, but we can make a difference. You can be an ally to older adults, or advocate on your behalf, by:
checking in with older friends and family members
asking your doctors and bank staff if they are trained to notice signs of elder abuse
speaking with leaders in your faith community about including elder abuse awareness in homilies, events, and conversations
sharing abuse reporting information with your network (click here for a directory of adult protective services agencies in your area)
We can change things. And June 15 is a good day to start. June 15, 2018 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Older adults and advocates will join together to increase awareness about elder abuse, support survivors, and create communities where abuse is both recognized and prevented. Learn more about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and how you can get involved.
Featured image by Birgitta Sjöstedt. License available here.