As Americans, we believe in justice for all. Yet, an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans experience elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Working together, we can build the essential social supports that prevent abuse and keep everyone safe as we age.
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006, in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD is in support of the UN’s 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 abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older people.
The Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), is sponsoring the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Tool Kit to encourage national, state, and local organizations to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and to empower communities to get involved and take action.
Community organizations, places of worship, and small businesses including banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores, as well as senior centers and community centers, are on the frontline when it comes to elder abuse prevention. Staff and members of these organizations encounter people of all ages on a daily basis and are in a position to recognize and intervene in instances of elder abuse, as well as to educate the community about this problem.
Participation in WEAAD can increase public awareness of elder abuse. By joining the effort to explain why elder abuse occurs, how we can prevent and address it and how we can shape the public conversation. Be a change architect. Help us to build solutions that will support older people and strengthen our communities.
Keep in mind that other organizations in our communities may also be participating in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, so reach out to community partners to see if there are opportunities to work together to raise awareness about elder abuse.