Since 2006 June 15th each year is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It’s an official United Nations International Day which acknowledges that senior abuse is a public health and human rights issue. The day sheds light on senior abuse by promoting resources and services that can help increase the safety and well-being of older individuals.
There are many forms of abuse: psychological, financial, physical, sexual and ageism. These can lead to an array of problems for victims from anxiety and depression to diminished financial resources and deterioration of health.
Sometimes people know or suspect that a family member, friend, neighbour or acquaintance is being mistreated or abused, sometimes by that person’s child, but they are not sure what to do. They worry about getting involved, not saying the right thing or wrongly identifying the situation.
If you suspect someone is being abused, make an effort to reach out to the person. You can ask things like: How are you doing? Can I help you in any way? Is there someone you would like to see or talk to?
No matter your age, if you are being abused, know that you have the right to live without fear and that you do not deserve to be abused. You have the right to control your own life and make your own decisions.
There are steps you can take to get help.
- Tell someone you trust what is happening to you.
- If someone is hurting or threatening you, or if it is not safe for you where you are, call the police.
- Talk with people to learn more about resources available in your community. Find out your option to take care of your personal needs and financial security.
- Make a safety plan in case you have to leave quickly.
Take steps now because abuse often gets worse over time.