There are a multitude of holidays declared on June 15th. Did you know June 15 is…
- Fly a Kite Day
- Nature Photography Day
- National Electricity Day
- Justice for Janitors Day
It is also notable in history, as:
Benjamin Franklin proved that lightening was electricity
Arkansas was admitted as the 25th U.S. State
Perhaps most importantly, June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
In 2006, the United Nations designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Each, year, we pause to reflect on the severe societal consequences of this rampant criminal justice and public health crisis. Current data indicates that one out of every ten people over 60 who lives at home is the victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional, can take various forms, and includes but is not limited to physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. It can often constitute a crime, but even when it does not, abuse has significant implications for the health and well being of older adults. Research has shown that, regardless of co-morbidities, victims of elder abuse have a 300% higher risk of death than those who have not been abused, even where the abuse is relatively mild.
This is where elder justice and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention come in.
Elder justice is multi-faceted. Elder justice means a paradigm shift in the way our culture views aging, its rewards and possibilities. Elder justice means shifting the conversations from the status quo and advocating for change. Elder justice also means recognizing the wide ranging and severe social costs of elder abuse. The impact on victims themselves cannot be overstated. Abuse causes victims to become more dependent on caregivers, who then experience declines in their own physical, mental and financial health. Financial exploitation causes large economic losses that extend beyond the individual victim to families, businesses and government programs and increases reliance on federal programs such as Medicaid. And, financial abuse significantly increases illness and morbidity. Ensuring that victims of elder abuse have a safe place to call home is a critical part of elder justice work. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, provides safe shelter to victims of elder abuse who are endangered in their homes. Once victims come through our doors, we are committed to providing person-centered, holistic services.
On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we envision a world in which older adults are safe and receiving the respect, kindness and compassion they deserve. Whether it is on June 15th or any other day of the calendar, please check on aging family, friends and neighbors. Each of us can make a difference. Together, we can end elder abuse.