World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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By Wally Pearce
Elder Day Council/Special to the Express

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) happens each year on June 15. This year it’s on a Friday. Officially it was first recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution; 66/127, December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), who first established the commemoration in June 2006. It represents that one day each year when the whole world, including local communities like Winters, voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to older generations.

By Winters City Council Proclamation, issued on Tuesday, June 5, henceforth, in the City of Winters, every June 15 will be celebrated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day aims to focus both global and local attention on the rising problem of physical and financial abuse, neglect, abandonment, abduction, isolation, deprivation of goods or services or other treatment resulting pain or mental suffering of adults aged 64 and older.

It also seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by an aging population. It brings together older adults and their caregivers, national and local governments, academics and the healthcare community to exchange ideas about how best to reduce incidents of violence toward older adults, increase reporting of such abuse and to develop older adult friendly policies.

Currently, the world is undergoing significant demographic changes. Recent estimates indicate that by 2050, the global population of people 60 and older will exceed the number of younger people.

Today in Yolo County, that number of individuals aged 60 and older is 43,512. However, by 2050 estimates, just 32 years from now, that number will be over 83,000. This means the number will nearly double.

These demographic variations have led to  worldwide and local recognition of the problems and challenges that face each older adult no matter their status in life. Rich or poor, elder abuse doesn’t discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity violent prejudice. Research shows that elderly abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation is one of the biggest issues facing older adults locally and around the world. World Health Organization data also suggests that four percent to six percent of older adults suffer from some form of abuse, a large percentage of which goes unreported.

The purpose of WEAAD is to encourage all communities to recognize the problem of elder abuse, and to create policies that foster respect for older adults and provide them the tools to continue to be safe and productive citizens.

WEAAD asks that everyone wear something purple on Friday, June 15, to show their support for stopping elder abuse.

Anyone who resides in Yolo County, or is a Winters resident, who reasonably suspects that an older adult is the subject of suspected physical or financial abuse, neglect, abandonment, abduction, isolation, deprivation of goods or services or other treatment resulting pain or mental suffering are eligible for Adult Protective Services (APS) support. Any person can make a confidential referral alleging abuse or neglect by calling Yolo County APS at 530-661-2727 or 1-888-675-1115. For those residing in  Winters, please call either APS or contact the City of Winters Police Department at 530-795-2261.

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