World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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2024 Date15 June 2024
2025 Date15 June 2025

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day History

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day focuses on raising awareness about the mistreatment of elderly individuals and the need to address this growing public concern. The observance aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to build support networks and promote human rights for older generations who are at risk of neglect, exploitation, and abuse. Emphasis is placed on understanding the signs of elder abuse as well as encouraging the creation of policies and practices that prevent this maltreatment of some of society's most vulnerable members.

Elderly people form an integral part of South African communities, and it is essential that individuals in the country are aware of the rising prevalence of elder abuse. This awareness day resonates strongly for many in South Africa, given the country's history of socio-economic disparities and the additional risks of elder abuse faced by vulnerable populations. The observance day plays a vital role in learning how to recognize, prevent, and report elder abuse, which in turn enables South African citizens to better safeguard the well-being of their elderly loved ones.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is typically commemorated in South Africa with various activities and events organized to raise awareness among the public. These activities may include educational workshops, seminars, and panel discussions with experts in the field of elder care, addressing the multifaceted issues contributing to elder abuse. Members of the public are encouraged to wear purple ribbon pins or clothing as a symbol of solidarity and support for the cause. The observance takes place annually on June 15th, highlighting the importance of respecting and protecting elderly individuals, as well as fostering compassionate and empowered communities throughout South Africa.

Facts about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 1 in 6 older adults worldwide experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year.
  • Women tend to be more at risk of elder abuse than men. This is due to factors such as longer life expectancy, higher likelihood of living alone, and a higher prevalence of widowhood among older women.
  • It is estimated that only about 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities. Factors that contribute to underreporting include fear, shame, dependence on the abuser, cognitive impairments, and lack of awareness or accessible reporting mechanisms.
  • Reports suggest that South Africa's elder abuse rates have been on the rise, with estimates indicating that up to 30% of older persons experience some form of abuse.
  • South Africa's Older Persons Act classifies elder abuse as physical, psychological, financial, sexual, and neglect, even if the intention was not to harm the older person.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Check out 10 priorities focused on health and ageing.
  • Learn more about the UN's Decade of Healthy Ageing.
  • Watch a documentary about the issue of elder abuse in South Africa. Here are our recommendations:
    1. ABC News Report on Elder Abuse in South Africa (August 2013)- This news report by ABC News, Australia, focuses on elder abuse in South Africa, particularly in the context of housing and displacement.
    2. Ageing in South Africa by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (2016): This is a brief documentary on the issues of aging in South Africa, including problems faced by older persons such as elder abuse and discrimination.
    3. Issues affecting the elderly in South Africa by Africa Business Report (2016): A short news report on the challenges faced by elderly persons in South Africa, including healthcare, pensions, and general well-being.
  • Read a book to learn more about the issue of elder abuse in South Africa. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Persons: Strategies for Assessment and Intervention edited by Lachs, Mark S. & Pillemer, Karl
    2. Elder Abuse Detection and Intervention: A Collaborative Approach by Bonnie Brandl, MSW, R.N.
    3. Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America by National Research Council, and Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect

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