June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
“The purpose of WEAAD 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.”- National Center on Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can happen in many ways. It can take the form of physical, emotional, financial, systemic, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Abuse can originate from strangers, but most often will come from within the family, friends and acquaintances, or care-facility workers.
Here are some excellent resources from Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario on how to recognize the signs of different types of elder abuse.
If you are a victim of abuse, or you believe someone is being abused, there are resources in place to help you. In an emergency, dial 911. If you are unsure on how to proceed, here is a list composed by the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse on where you can get help in Canada:
It is also important for all adults to know how to safeguard themselves against elder abuse. The Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder abuse has a great resource page detailing how to keep oneself from being a vulnerable target.
Every individual has the right to be treated with respect, the right to dignity, the right to be safe, and the right to make their own choices.