World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is celebrated each year on June 15. It is the day to make aware the people of whole world to raise their voices against abuse and sufferings given to some of our elders.
Elder abuse is an important public health problem for both developing and developed countries, but still it is underreported globally. Awareness about elder abuse, largely a taboo topic has started to increase across the world.
All types of elder abuse have serious effects on health of individuals and society including serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences (such as depression, stress and anxiety), use of emergency services, hospitalization and death.
A study by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 estimated that globally 16% of people aged 60 years and older were abused. The prevalence estimate was 11.6% for psychological abuse, 6.8% for financial abuse, 4.2% for neglect, 2.6% for physical abuse, 0.9% for sexual abuse in community settings.
Globally the numbers of people affected are predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations. As per census 2011, the share of senior citizens in the total population in India is 8.57% and this share is expected to increase to 10.70% in 2021 and to12.40% in 2026.
Elder abuse as described by WHO is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. Elder abuse includes physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect and such type of violence comes in the category of violation of human rights.
Psychological abuse includes behaviours that harm an older person’s self-worth or wellbeing such as name calling, scaring, embarrassing, destroying property or preventing them from seeing friends and family.
Financial abuse includes illegally misusing an older person’s money, property or assets. Neglect includes the failure to meet an older person’s basic needs, such as food, housing, clothing and medical care.
Welfare schemes and provisions made by the Government of India to improve the condition of the aged persons in the county:
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had launched the ‘National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly’ (NPHCE) during the 11th Plan period to address various health related problems of elderly people. The basic aim of NPHCE is to provide dedicated health care facilities to the elderly people through State Public Health Delivery System at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, including outreach services.
Other Ministries including Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation have implemented various programmes for the welfare of senior citizens.
“Keep in touch regularly with others, isolation can make you vulnerable to abuse.”
“Protect yourself from abuse, neglect and exploitation”
Related page- Elder abuse awareness day 2017