Each year, hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic, and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. Yet it is estimated that only about one in five of those crimes are ever 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. 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. In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
How Can I Be Involved?
Each year on or around June 15th, communities and municipalities around the world plan activities and programs to recognize WEAAD. We encourage you to join others around the nation and world in observing WEAAD by carrying out activities such as:
- Developing an educational program or press conference;
- Volunteering to call or visit an isolated senior; or
- Submitting an editorial or press release to your local newspaper to create awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity to share information about abuse, neglect, and exploitation in later life. However, raising awareness of mistreatment of older persons is an ongoing effort, not limited to one day. There are many ways to become involved, from the simple yet meaningful, to planning events that require a little more commitment and time. Visit the “Join Us in the Fight Against Elder Abuse” section of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) website for more information and activity ideas for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Whether the effort is great or small, once a year or throughout, all of these efforts empower us to make long-lasting differences in the lives of vulnerable elders.