June 15th is World Elder Abuse awareness Day!
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 World Abuse Awareness Day 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.
Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.
- Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.
- Sexual abuse means touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.
- Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation.
- Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.
- Passive neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
- Willful deprivation means denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm—except when the older, competent adult has expressed a desire to go without such care.
- Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.
Educating seniors, professionals, caregivers, and the public on abuse is critical to prevention. If you are an older adult, you can stay safe by:
- Taking care of your health.
- Seeking professional help for drug, alcohol, and depression concerns and urging family members to get help for these problems.
- Attending support groups for spouses and learning about domestic violence services.
- Planning for your own future. With a power of attorney or a living will, you can address health care decisions now to avoid confusion and family problems later. Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents.
- Staying active in the community and connected with friends and family. This will decrease social isolation, which has been connected to elder abuse.
- Posting and opening your own mail.
- Not giving personal information over the phone.
- Using direct deposit for all checks.
- Having your own phone.
- Reviewing your will periodically.
- Knowing your rights. If you engage the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home, call your Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The ombudsman is your advocate and has the power to intervene.
We encourage anyone who is interested to attend the California Department of Social Services Elder Abuse Awareness Event happening on June 1st 2023, the event is virtual, and free. To sign up go to World Elder Abuse Awareness (ca.gov)
Please contact Adult Services at 265-1639 to report any suspected elder abuse.