Resources for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The Administration on Aging proclaims, “The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”
Elder abuse is a pattern of power and control that includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, verbal, financial, and spiritual abuse. The perpetrator can be a family member, close friend, neighbor, adult child or grandchild, caretaker, someone in a position of authority, or anyone the older adult would normally be expected to trust. Elder abuse can happen in homes, nursing homes, long-term care and assisted living facilities, hospitals--anywhere an older adult may be living.
Every year, approximately 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Additionally, experts believe that for every reported case of elder abuse or neglect, as many as 23 cases go unreported. Elder abuse is an important public health issue with significant impacts on our communities and will only become more prevalent as the population of older adults continues to grow.
We all need to work together to address elder abuse to avoid potentially devastating consequences for our older adults and their loved ones. Safe Havens has developed some resources to help us do this!
National Weekend of Prayer and Action for Elder Justice
National Weekend of Prayer and Action for Elder Justice is a tangible way to get your community to break the silence around elder abuse. This weekend takes place annually the weekend before World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) and falls on June 9 - 11 this year. Below are some ways that your faith community can get involved. We would love to hear if you have any additional ideas!
Break the silence and incorporate Elder Justice into your worship service June 9th, 10th, or 11th. This can look like:
Utilizing some prayers that Safe Havens developed in collaboration with National Center Elder Abuse. You can view those here.
Including a moment of silence for victims and survivors of elder abuse and incorporate them into your prayers.*
Focusing the sermon on elder justice.
Host a vigil for victims and survivors of elder abuse.
Include information about WEAAD in your newsletter or bulletin (see sample newsletter article below).
Make a point to have conversations about ageism and elder justice in your faith communities.
Find out what agencies in your area support older adults and host a drive to support them.
We call on YOU to participate in the National Weekend of Prayer and Action for Elder Justice.
* Please remember that focusing on safety of the person experiencing abuse is the first priority. Safe Havens recommends not naming specific people in any prayers that will be public as that might compromise their safety.
Elder Abuse Awareness Resources
Nobody wants to think that people in our congregations and communities could be experiencing elder abuse. And we make it harder to disclose if we never acknowledge that elder abuse is an issue. This month is the perfect opportunity to speak up about elder abuse and spread awareness. Safe Havens has developed some resources to help faith leaders and communities do just that.
A great place to find resources for WEAAD Awareness is the NCEA and ACL World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Microsite. Here you will find a countdown to June 15th, tools and tips including outreach guides (Safe Havens collaborated on some of these resources!), social media materials, and more! It's a one stop shop for all things WEAAD!
In addition to the microsite, we wanted to provide you with awareness materials we have developed. Below are links for a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day poster and a newsletter article. Faith communities can publish either or both in their bulletins, on their websites, or on their social media. For the newsletter article, all you have to do is download the document and add in the information for your local domestic violence service provider. Safe Havens has also specifically developed a resource for faith communities and how they can respond to elder abuse. We also have a new resource specifically for engaging faith communities for WEAAD. Click on the buttons below to download these resources.
Thank you for your help in raising awareness about elder abuse!