WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2022: While the elderly are revered in many societies across the world, they are also subject to blatant mental and physical abuse. From the confines of their own homes to old age and nursing homes, senior citizens fall victim to violence even in places where they are meant to be safe.
To sensitise citizens on the issue and ensure well-being of the older people, June 15 is observed as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The idea for WEAAS day was proposed by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) on June 15 2006. It was aimed at raising awareness of the abuse endured by the elderly and providing an opportunity to communities around the world to ensure their adequate health and well-being.
The day was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly which adopted a resolution 66/127 in December 2011.
The issue of elderly abuse got more significant as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe. Millions of people were forced into their homes due to the lockdown making the older people more vulnerable to mental, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) emerging evidence suggested that the prevalence of abuse of the elderly had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The abuse rate had soared both in communities as well as institutions.
WHO shared that in the past year, 1 in 6 people who are 60 years and older have experienced some kind of abuse in community settings.
From social isolation, cognitive impairment, dependence on others, to physical frailty, these are some of the risk factors for elder abuse. And, apparently, the COVID-19 restrictions significantly increased most of these risks.
As people were compelled to stay at home, the older ones became more dependent on their caregivers for basic needs. This, in turn, made them more prone to abuse and is also the cause of a disproportionately high number of deaths among elders in long-term care institutions during the pandemic.
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