world elder abuse awareness day graphic. purple and teal human figures with writing.

8 Tips & Facts for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is almost here! On June 15, we will join the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization to recognize the 18th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This important day brings world-wide awareness to the plague of abuse that has sullied the elder care industry for decades. In an attempt to end abuse for all, we would like to shed some light on eight tips and facts you should know to make the most of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is part of the push to publicly recognize elder abuse as the human rights issue it is. A number of organizations use this day to make everyone aware of the deeply rooted abuse problems that stem from social, legislative, and community-awareness failings. Through awareness efforts, it is the goal of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day organizers to identify, address, and prevent the abuse that affects 1 out of every 10 American citizens over the age of 60. 

There is no excuse for physical, financial, or sexual abuse of anyone, let alone the vulnerable residents of nursing facilities. That is why we are always sharing vital information and encouraging everyone to get involved. Today, June 15, and beyond, we hope these eight tips and facts will help us all become better advocates.

world elder abuse awareness day graphic. purple and teal human figures with writing.

8 Tips & Facts

Fact: “Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults experience abuse, neglect,

or exploitation.” – The Elder Justice Roadmap

Tip: Understanding the living and social circumstances that most often lead to abuse helps you become a better advocate for loved ones and other community members who are most vulnerable

Fact: “In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.” – National Council on Aging 

Additionally, in nursing homes, women and those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are more likely to be abused. 

Tip: Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof way to prevent abuse. However, it can be caught early and prevented through observation. No matter who is taking care of your loved one—a relative or a nursing home—you can help prevent abuse by being aware of key signs, making it clear that you are paying attention, and being present/helping as often as possible. 

Fact: Emotional abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes. 

Emotional abuse includes insulting, anger towards, yelling at, and otherwise verbally abusing residents. While not physically harmful, emotional and verbal abuse can impact mental health. Key indicators of emotional and verbal abuse include depression, self-neglect or harm, withdrawal, increased fear (of the caregiver or others), unexplained confusion, and agitation.

Tip: Create community around your elder relative or friend! One of the best ways to combat and prevent abuse, or even to help the abuse survivor heal, is to create a community around them. Let them know that you and others are on their side and they are not alone. Ensure that friends visit or call, celebrate small victories, get them out of the house if possible. 

Check out some of our other blog posts about creating community for your loved one!

Battling Isolation  |  Battling Loneliness with Pets  |  The Importance of Family Councils

Fact: Every state has a slightly different definition of elder abuse. An easy Google search will tell you what your state’s legal definition is. 

In California, civil law defines elder abuse as “physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in harm, pain or mental suffering to an elder.” 

Tip: California (and other states as well) have mandated reporters of abuse. They include adult care custodians, nursing home and care center administrators, supervisors, and staff, health practitioners, clergy, and more. 

If abuse has occurred, and none of those individuals are aware of it or have not made their report, contact the police, Adult Protective Services, your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and then a lawyer

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (866-798-8606) today for a free consultation and the best legal representation.