June 15th is being recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver, family member or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to older people.
Some notable facts about Elder abuse:
Recent research suggests that elders who have been abused tend to die earlier than those who are not abused.
Many people who hear “elder abuse and neglect” think about older people living in nursing homes or about elderly relatives who live all alone and never have visitors. But elder abuse is not just a problem of older people living on the margins of our everyday life. It is right in our midst.
Most elder abuse and neglect takes place at home. The great majority of elder people live on their own or with their spouses, children, siblings or other relatives – not in institutional settings.
Abuse creates potentially dangerous situations and feelings of worthlessness, and it isolates the older persons form people who can help.
Dependency is a contributing factor in elder abuse.
If you know of an older person in Belize who is the victim of Elder Abuse contact the National Council on Ageing for steps you can take to address the situation.