Just like children, older adults are a vulnerable group in our society to whom we need to cater at all times. According to the World Health Organization, about 4% – 6% of elderly people face domestic abuse. 15th June of every year is celebrated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to bring awareness to their safety.
The History Behind World Elder Abuse Awareness Day:
In 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organisation in the United Nations General Assembly dedicated 15th June as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) to raise their voice against the abuse happening to the older generation. Everyone worldwide uses this day as a platform to oppose all kinds of abuse against the elderly in cultural or economic aspects.
Who is the Elderly?
The term, in general, is arbitrary, but as per clinical terms, someone who is older than the age of 65 years is referred to as an elderly person. However, due to differences in lifestyle, genetics, and many other factors, the rate of aging may vary.
The Older Generation and COVID 19:
Currently, where there is an increased need for medical facilities and professionals, the elderly have been overlooked. According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, “pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world.” Despite the fact that the fatality rate of the elder is more than any other age group, they are being denied or overlooked by medical facilities to aid someone younger. In the middle of a pandemic, everyone has the right to medical treatment. No matter how young or old, nobody should be denied medical services.
It is also essential to keep in mind that isolation in this digital world takes a toll on both their mental and physical health. Young people always find ways to keep up with the developing technology, but the elderly people most often find it difficult even to use a basic mobile phone. This, in turn, reduces their contact with the rest of the world, making them more isolated than the rest of us.
How to Know if Someone is Getting Abused?
Nine out of ten times, the abuse is by a relative for financial exploitation or other reasons. If an elderly person has any bruises or seems hurt, talk with them and find out what is happening at home. Approach authorities and do what is right. Spread the word on social media if the officials are not responding. Abuse does not necessarily be physical; it could also be mental. If it is found out that an elderly is being held in a bed or wheelchair forcefully, noticed that they seem malnutrition, can see a significant loss in weight, then immediately report it and raise voice against it.
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How to be Helpful to the Elderly?
There is not much to help them; remember they were the ones who took care of you! Even the simplest gestures like spending some time with them by talking or watching their favorite show. There is no need to volunteer at an elderly home; simply be kind to your parents and relatives and show them that you care. Teach them how to make calls or use a mobile phone so that they can contact you at any time. Their physical health is just as important as yours; if not, it is more critical, and in order to keep them active, take walks along with them and encourage them to do more physical activities to their ability.
Irrespective of age, physical or mental abuse is never acceptable. Especially in the case of the older generations, they might not be able to raise their concerns, and as responsible citizens, sons, and daughters, we need to protect them. Every life matters! Let us all vow to be vigilant and raise more awareness on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
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