World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was developed & launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). WEAAD involves planning activities to bring greater recognition of the mistreatment of older adults everywhere they live worldwide and highlight the need for appropriate action. It is intended to give the abuse and neglect of older adults a global relevance that will sustain and move prevention efforts forward throughout the year and for years to come.
WEAAD involves national and international activities developed by countries, communities, neighbourhoods and organizations collaborating in multigenerational and multidisciplinary initiatives. It can encompass volunteer and educational programs, cultural and art events, and the use of information technology, all aiming to create awareness of elder abuse and neglect and how it can be prevented.
The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “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.” It can take many forms, including physical, emotional or financial harm, and may not be intentional. The issue is closely tied to ageism, an underlying prejudice against older people leading to discrimination and neglect.
Did you know that:
- 1 in 2 people is prejudiced against older people (Global Report on Ageism, World Health Organization)
- 1 in 5 Canadians say older people are a burden on society (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
- An estimated 7.5% of Canadians 55 and older experienced abuse (Into the Light National Survey on the Mistreatment of Older Canadians, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, 2015)
- 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 are victims of elder abuse (World Health Organization)
- In 2021, Women aged 55 and older represented 28% of all victims of femicide (Call it Femicide Report, Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2021)
- Nearly 8 in 10 seniors report age discrimination in healthcare (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
Each year on June 15, many communities within Prairie Mountain Health recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day as an opportunity to recognize local and regional efforts to raise awareness of the abuse towards older adults. Raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect is challenging, and no effort is too small. Public education and awareness raising are important elements in preventing abuse and neglect.
If you are being abused or neglected or know of someone who is, the MB Senior’s Abuse Support Line 1-888-896-7183 is available 24-7. Calls are free and confidential. You can speak to a trained counsellor who will provide one-on-one support to older adults experiencing abuse and other concerned community members.
Let’s all “Wear something purple” and celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 to show the world we care about ending elder abuse and neglect.