World Elder Abuse awareness is a day I can get behind every day of the year. The senseless acts of abuse of violence our elderly have to endure are unimaginable.
- Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.
- Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.
- Rates of elder abuse have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
- Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
Elder abuse (also called “elder mistreatment“, “senior abuse“, “abuse in later life“, “abuse of older adults“, “abuse of older women“, and “abuse of older men“) is “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” This definition has been adopted by of the World Health Organization (WHO) from a definition put forward by Action on Elder Abuse in the UK. Laws protecting the elderly from abuse are similar to and related to laws protecting dependent adults from abuse.
It includes harms by people the older person knows, or has a relationship with, such as a spouse, partner, or family member; a friend or neighbor; or people that the older person relies on for services. Many forms of elder abuse are recognized as types of domestic violence or family violence since they are committed by family members. Paid caregivers have also been known to prey on their elderly patients.
Those who come before us have paved our way, they have opened doors and they have made tremendous sacrifices. We must hold that dear and help preserve the health of our elderly population. Check on a neighbor or family member today, let them know you care and see if they need anything.