Did you know that June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched back in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations. The intention was to help create and promote awareness of the poor treatment and neglect to an outstanding number of elderly and aging individuals all around the world.
WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?
Elder abuse refers to a single or repeated acts against an older person, often times used to create some form of expectation of trust which may then take advantage and harm the older individual or put them in some kind of distress. This can come in the form of psychological (or emotional), physical, financial and even sexual abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect of an older person, including the negligence of reporting known acts of elder abuse.
Some key facts from the UN website about elder abuse:
- Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse, a figure higher than previously estimated and predicted to rise as populations age worldwide.
- Rates of abuse may be higher for older people living in institutions than in the community.
- Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
- Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
- The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050.
Keep in mind, the statistics about elder abuse are often skewed because these are taken from the actual known and reported cases of elder abuse. Elder abuse is often overlooked and undetected by others without the proper awareness and supervision.
SIGNS OF ELDER ABUSE
Here are just a few of the warning signs of elder abuse:
- PHYSICAL: unexplained bruises/cuts/broken bones, malnourishment or weight loss, headaches or concussion.
- EMOTIONAL: isolation and withdrawals, not wanting to speak freely, unexplained shift in mood (anger, fear, anxiety, depression).
- FINANCIAL: unexplained financial transactions, missing money or valuables, large gifts made to individuals, sudden disinheriting or modifications made to estate plans or control of finances.
- GENERAL SIGNS OF NEGLECT: bedsores, lack of hygiene, weight loss or access to food/water.
As people age, they begin to lose the ability to physically and mentally protect and stand up for themselves. This is why it’s the responsibility of others to protect and become a voice for this vulnerable group of people.
If you would like to get more information about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and how you can get involved, click here.
This article is brought to you by the folks at the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc., who has serviced the estate planning needs of thousands of people throughout Southern California for the last 39 years. Many of our clients and their loved ones may be impacted by issues that affect the senior community. We hope that you find this article insightful to bring further awareness on this topic. If you or someone you know may benefit from having your estate plan set up or reviewed by our law firm, we encourage you to attend one of our FREE seminars to find out more. For more information about our seminars, click here or call us at 1-866-754-6477.