When someone you love becomes unable to care for themselves, the decision to place them in a community away from you can be difficult and stressful. As a loving relative, you can only hope that you will find a residential home that treats your loved ones with respect and care.
Unfortunately, more than five million seniors each year become victims of abuse in one form or another. Events such as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day help highlight elderly abuse to ensure that your loved ones can live their twilight years in a peaceful environment. This year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is on June 15.
There are many different kinds of senior abuses that range from physical and emotional treatment to less direct forms of abuse like neglect and financial abuse. Financial exploitation is this year’s theme, we have written about this abuse here. It is hoped that through raising awareness of such abuse, which can go undetected if you aren’t privy to bank or personal financial information, people can recognize signs that a senior is being financially exploited.
The History of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Elder abuse is a global issue, so it should be no surprise that World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was created in 2006 to be celebrated on a global scale. The day is the creation of the World Health Organization at the United Nations and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The event is intended to spread awareness around the world, particularly to areas of the world that follow a different lifestyle or cultural path that has traditionally been nonchalant about some forms of abuse.
Why Do We Need This Day?
Senior abuse has been recognized as a human right’s issue and a global problem. Because many older people lose cognitive functioning along with physical abilities, it is important for others to step up and make important decisions that the seniors may no longer be able to make alone.
Since not all seniors have supportive family members who will make these important decisions to support their loved ones, it becomes vital that the community is willing and able to step up for the older community. Through organizations like the National Center on Elder Abuse, seniors have an extra voice speaking for them.
Financial Exploitation As The 2017 Theme
Between 5-10% of seniors around the world are victims of financial abuse or exploitation. While this doesn’t sound like a large percentage worldwide, the impact of financial abuse is often understated. Not only is it the least reported form of abuse, it is also the easiest form of abuse for people to get away with. After all, if a senior doesn’t have the mental acuity to keep track of their finances, there is no way for others around to know when little amounts of money or property go missing.
Nearly all people who would exploit a senior financially will continue to do so until they are caught or the senior passes away, whichever might occur first. In the United States, seniors are victimized by those who often become closest to them. Through forgery, manipulation or persuasion, criminals buy the life that they want using their loved one’s money. They may even convince the senior to provide them with power of attorney. In severe cases, financial exploitation can result in homelessness, compromised health/well-being and even death. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017 hopes to bring awareness to the often shady act of senior financial exploitation.
Celebrating Elder Abuse Awareness In Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging will celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 with a gathering of state leaders and representatives. This will take place in the Capitol Rotunda at 1 pm and feature speakers such as Teresa Osborne (Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging) and Mike Stack (Lieutenant Governor).
If you cannot physically be present, you can celebrate WEAAD in your own neighborhood by spreading information and hope to others. Volunteer with seniors in your city or contribute to your local Department of Aging. Through awareness comes potential solutions. All seniors deserve to live their remaining years in peace.