World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th. This day is to focus our attention on our need to prevent elder abuse. This year’s theme is social inclusion. What is social inclusion? It is a process of improving how everyone takes part in society. It means improving the opportunity, ability and dignity of those who are at a disadvantage simply because of who they are.
What can we do to improve the social inclusion of seniors?
- Learn to recognize the signs of abuse. These could be physical signs such as bruises or broken bones. Emotional abuse can show up as extremely nervous behaviour or seniors who no longer take part in their usual activities. Financial abuse can be suspected if a senior is suddenly missing favourite items from their homes or if they no longer have the same amount of money that they once had.
- Fight isolation in seniors. Loneliness and isolation in later life can lead to an early death. Older adults and seniors who are isolated from society often become depressed. This can lead to alcohol abuse, overeating or neglect. The senior may stop taking care of themselves and their homes. Doctor’s visits may stop and the senior becomes frail. Contact with others is a necessary part of good health and many seniors lose contact over the years as friends and family members pass away.
This year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is focusing on caring, connecting and communicating. There are many things each of us can do to help prevent abuse of seniors. Do you know of any elderly people in your neighbourhood who live alone? If they are familiar with you, invite them over occasionally or drop by their home to check on them, especially when there are weather extremes. Check to see if your community is hosting events, they will need volunteers. To read more about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, click here.