World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) takes place on 15 June every year and it’s an important opportunity to acknowledge the role we can all play in putting an end to elder abuse, especially given the intersections of disability and age.

Roughly one in ten people aged 65 and over will experience some form of elder abuse.

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It can be difficult to identify elder abuse because there is no single 'type'. Some forms are more subtle than others and are often hidden in plain sight. It can be psychological, as well as physical. More often than not, people experience more than one type of abuse.

Given the economic uncertainty of last year due to COVID-19, one form of abuse that is common but difficult to spot is financial abuse.

Financial abuse accounts for more than half of all instances of abuse. These situations may start with an abuser trying to control how or where the victim spends their money, or even spending their money without their permission.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is about taking the time to understand what elder abuse looks like and raising awareness for how those affected by elder abuse can get the help they need.

It can be hard for those experiencing elder abuse to speak out as often the one committing the abuse is someone they trust and rely on. That’s why we all need to speak out against it.

Support is available whether you are concerned about how you or someone you know is being treated. The Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) includes a free 24-hour confidential helpline which anyone can call.

So if you have any concerns about yourself, a loved one, a friend or even a neighbour call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK). If you are in danger, call 111 and ask for the police. You can also text 5032 or email support@elderabuse.nz for help.

Elder abuse - it’s not OK. Now is the time to make sure the older people in your life are safe and well. We all have a role to play in putting an end to elder abuse and to help support the health and wellbeing of the older people around us. Not just for WEEAD, but always.

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