While no one can deny that certain demographics are aggressively protected, as evidenced by campaigns launched to protect children’s rights, women’s rights, or civil rights, it is not often that we hear about protecting our elderly’s rights. This is particularly shocking because the elderly are an especially vulnerable population, and one that is common to all nations. Elderly abuse is not an issue that is particular to any one country; it does not discriminate between developed or underdeveloped nations. For this very reason, it is important that a world-wide effort is made to spread knowledge about the risks of elder abuse and how best to prevent it.
In 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations designated June 15th as the 1st annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) . This day is designated as an international day to focus on ways to prevent elder abuse, in whatever form it may manifest. Very often, the elderly are physically abused by the very people responsible for their well-being. While this abuse may be as evident as acts of violence resulting in bruising or fractures, it may also be more difficult to detect, such as over-medicating to make them easier to handle. It may also be that they are simply being neglected, left unclean and alone for long periods of time resulting in pressure ulcers , infection, and depression. The psychological harm done to these elderly can be just as powerful and destructive as the physical damage. Many nursing homes use physical restraints to calm residents, which offends their sense of dignity and impacts their mental and emotional health. However, abuse is not limited to these categories; our elderly may also be victims of financial abuse. Just in the United States, elders lose upwards of 2.6 billion dollars annually due to financial abuse.
On June 15th, we must all make a collaborative effort to speak about the untold cruelties that many of our elderly are subjected to. We can no longer accept ignorance as an excuse to allow these atrocities to continue, and we must remember that our silence makes us enablers of these cruelties. On this day, people are encouraged to visit an elderly person, volunteer at a nursing home, or submit editorials about elder abuse to their local newspapers. The goal is to spread knowledge about an existing problem, ways to detect it, and steps to prevent or eradicate it.
Although June 15th is an important day to focus on elder abuse prevention, we must continue to fight this abuse every single day. At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, we have a team of attorneys specialized in elder abuse and neglect. If you know a victim of elder abuse and are ready to bring their perpetrators to justice, call our offices immediately. We are prepared to fight to preserve the dignity and well-being of our elderly. We firmly believe that by not letting these abusers act with impunity, we are discouraging any future acts of abuse.