World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15th): It is Our Duty to Care for Those Who Once Cared for Us!
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15th, 2006 by the combined effort of International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations (UN). WEAAD’s sole purpose is to bring awareness about the neglect and abuse faced by older people by shedding light on the cultural, social, economical and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
Globally, the number of people aged 60 and above will more than double from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. Almost all countries, especially developing countries, are expected to see a substantial rise in the number of older persons between 2015 and 2030. As the number of elderly persons grows, the number of elder abuse is also expected to grow. Elderly people prefer ageing in their homes. To make their ageing process comfortable and easy, we can take a few steps from our end with the help of guidelines from the website www.firsteatright.com.
According to WHO, elder abuse 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. Any type of violence, physical abuse, psychological, sexual, financial, material or emotional abuse, that causes loss of respect and dignity to the elderly person is a violation of human rights.
While this might be a trivial problem when read, elder abuse is a major public health problem. A 2017 study that compared various studies across different countries reveals that more than 15.7% of people aged 60 years and older were subjected to some form of abuse. The numbers here are mostly underestimated and only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported as the elderly population are often scared to report cases of abuse to friends, family or authority. The different types of abuse include:
Physical abuse which happens commonly when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing or slapping.
Emotional abuse which is predominantly faced by the elderly population. The ageing population is subjected to hurtful words, yelling, threatening or are constantly ignored. Some of them are even kept from seeing friends and relatives which is yet another form of mental abuse.
Neglect that caregivers do by not responding to the older person’s needs. They might leave the elderly in soiled clothes or ignore tidying up their messy rooms.
Abandonment when the senior person is left alone without planning for any care
Sexual abuse when the caregiver forces the older adult to watch or be part of sexual act
Financial abuse when money or materialistic things are stolen or deprived. It might be misusing someone else’s credit card, forging checks, changing names on a will and likewise.
Healthcare fraud that is commonly made by healthcare workers, doctors and hospital staff in terms of overcharging, charging for unprovided care, billing twice for the same service or falsifying health policy claims.
A Few Noteworthy Facts
Visiting our long-time friends/family can immediately let us know whether an elderly person is subjected to abuse with the following signs/symptoms:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.