World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - Saturday, June 15, 2024

Cause Elderly Global Focus Safety

Help spread the word for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. It can be hard to imagine that anyone would deliberately want to harm an elderly person, but unfortunately, elder abuse is a widespread problem. Some instances of elder abuse are intended to exploit the person financially; you’ve probably heard of scams targeting seniors. In other cases, it’s simple negligence: Caregivers don’t provide the basic necessities, like nutritious food, appropriate medication, safety, or assistance with hygiene. If you see something, say something.

Every year and on the 15th of June, it’s time to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The abuse of the elderly is a serious issue and something that this day aims to raise much-needed awareness of. The elderly should be given support and protection all year round, and today ensures their plight is not ignored.

Financial, emotional, or physical abuse and neglect can be a real everyday issue for some elders in the world – in fact, it is estimated that around 500,000 elders in the UK alone are being subjected to abuse today.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day encourages us to make steps towards a world where elder abuse is no longer an issue, by raising awareness and providing resources and information to help the battle against it.

History of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness day in its 66/127 resolution. It is meant to be a day in which the entire world voices its opposition to any form of abuse of the older generation.

The amount of older people in the world is growing, and will continue to do so – in fact, pretty much all countries in the world are expecting considerable growth in the number of elderly residents between 2015 and 2030.

Despite it being an accepted issue across the world and the subject of much opposition, elder abuse is one of the least investigated types of violence and it does not get addressed in national action plans as frequently as many other key social issues.

Those of advanced age have a full right to being treated with dignity and respect, and to live a life free of any abuse, exploitation or neglect.

Today seeks to ensure that as few elderly people as possible are subjected to homelessness, bad health, hunger, and poverty.

How to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

There are a number of ways you can help fundraise for the cause of this day if you so wish. You can also donate to charities which support the elderly and their well-being.

Perhaps today you could play your part by volunteering somewhere which ensures the happiness of the elderly, such as in a retirement home. You could also visit an elderly relative and spend some time chatting or having a cup of tea.

Be sure to spread the word by posting about the day on your social media accounts.

History of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, or WEAAD, is an annual initiative launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization. In its 66/127 resolution, the United Nations General Assembly designated that date as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day in which the entire world voices its opposition to any form of abuse of the older generation.

WEAAD aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of the abuse older people suffer by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them. Elder abuse is one of the least investigated types of violence and does not get addressed in national action plans as frequently as other key social issues.

The UN International Plan of Action described elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Globally we have an aging population, with the number of older people in the world expected to be 1.4 billion by 2030. Research suggests that 4 to 6 percent of the elderly suffer from some kind of abuse, most of which go unreported. This day is to make sure we remain focused on our elders, ensuring they lead a life of high quality and dignity.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day timeline


A body for justice

A group of UCI professors created the nation’s first-ever Elder Abuse Forensic Center


An organization is born

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is established by the U.S. Administration on Aging.


A tell-all book

The first book on elder abuse, “Abuse and Maltreatment of the Elderly: Causes and Interventions”, is published.


SAGE is formed

The Advocacy and Services for LGBT elders is created.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day FAQs

How does a person make an elder abuse report?

If an older adult is in immediate danger, call 911. Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated should contact the police or a local anti-abuse organization. The NCEA describes various scenarios and ways to help.

When is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?

June 15

Where can I learn more about WEAAD?

There are several portals online dedicated to the prevention of elder abuse that describe this day and events in full, such as the National Center on Law & Elder Rights, Savvy Saving Seniors®: Steps to Avoiding Scams, Ageless Alliance, and much more.

5 Facts About Elder Abuse

  1. It happens mostly at home

    Elder abuse instances happen mostly in the home where the senior lives.

  2. 1 in every 10

    Is the number of elder adults that experience some form of abuse in their lifetime.

  3. Finances are at the highest risk

    The most common form of abuse is financial exploitation and extortion.

  4. 9 out of 10 elder abusers are relatives

    In around 90% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.

  5. Many go unreported

    Only one of every six instances of elder abuse is reported.

How to Observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

  1. Know the symptoms of abuse

    Bedsores, bruises, or chafing could indicate that your loved one is being restrained to a bed or wheelchair, or otherwise physically abused. If he or she has recently lost weight, malnutrition or dehydration could be at play, while poor hygiene is also an indicator of possible abuse. Watch, too, for changes in the person’s mood; if they seem depressed, anxious, agitated, or listless, see if you can discover why. In short, any changes to an elder’s behavior, disposition or physical condition could be cause for concern.

  2. If you suspect something, say something

    If you do detect signs of abuse, document them. Take pictures of bruises or injuries, get a statement from the victim or any witnesses, and keep a log of any suspicious behavior or circumstances. You can then address your concerns with the manager or director of the long-term care facility or home care provider; if they do not take action, contact the police or an elder abuse attorney.

  3. Spread the word with social media

    It might seem counterintuitive to help prevent the abuse of elders using tools that are largely considered the domain of younger generations, but there’s really no better way to get the word out and foster awareness than through social platforms. Share informational articles on Facebook and use the hashtag #WEAAD on Twitter.

Why World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Important

  1. Older Americans may be unable to advocate for themselves

    Many seniors are not in a place to stand up for themselves, whether it's because they're physically frail or because they're scared of speaking up and fear repercussions. It’s crucial for all of us to be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse, and to speak up if something seems wrong.

  2. Seniors deserve our respect and our attention

    In so many cultures, elders are revered —and rightfully so. Their experiences, memories, and perspective on life are valued for the lessons that younger folks can learn. And if older people aren’t encouraged to pass along the skills and wisdom they have accumulated during their lives, then the culture as a whole suffers. We owe it to older generations to ensure that their so-called Golden Years are not tarnished by neglect.

  3. It reminds us to look out for each other

    It's easy to see bad things and not say anything—whether that's senior abuse or a mugging on the street. But this holiday reminds us just how important it is to look after, and look out for, our fellow humans. It reminds us to exercise compassion on a daily basis, and care about others rather than just ourselves.

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