Office for the Aging

 

Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15

By Olivia Rowland

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Created in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization, WEAAD brings attention to the prevalence of elder abuse in the world and calls for community-based action to address it.

According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), 1 in 10 older Americans experience some form of elder abuse every year. Elder abuse encompasses physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect.

Although it happens to older adults, elder abuse impacts everyone in affected communities. The National Center on Elder Abuse notes that medical and legal costs associated with elder abuse strain public programs, while the isolation of abused older adults deprives their communities of their participation in community life.

New York State provides resources to report and address elder abuse. These include, among others, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which resolves complaints about the treatment of older adults living in nursing homes and assisted living communities, and Adult Protective Services, which addresses complaints about elder abuse and provides support for vulnerable older adults.

Communities can also take action by spreading awareness about elder abuse, reaching out to older adults to reduce their isolation, and giving breaks to caregivers. Working against elder abuse is central to ensuring that older New Yorkers are healthy and safe, and can age comfortably in their homes and communities of choice.