Elder abuse is a violation of human rights.
Negative stereotypes about older people often serve as justifications for elder abuse or downplay its significance. In many ways, elder abuse is the most harmful expression of societal ageism (how we think, feel and act towards older people).
On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we want to mobilise everyone to stand up for the rights of older people, rejecting all forms of abuse and recognising that ageism can be the first step towards justifying such mistreatment.
Positively, we also want to champion the fact that older people who are treated with respect and dignity are more resilient and capable. In fact, we’re likely to live 7.5 years longer if we think positively about ageing!
Let us collectively embrace this opportunity to promote understanding, combat ageism, and champion the well-being of older people.
The way we perceive and portray older people plays a crucial role in shaping the environment in which elder abuse can occur.
We must do better.
The World Health Organization identifies five distinct types of elder abuse that violate the dignity of older people:
- Psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Despite the alarming prevalence of elder abuse, with one in ten older individuals experiencing it on a monthly basis, society often tends to perceive it as a phenomenon confined to “other people.” Unfortunately, ageism exacerbates this perception.
How to take part in our #RefuseToAbuse pledge on 15 June
Let’s flood social media with pledges from around the world that make it very clear that there is no excuse for elder abuse.
How to take part:
- Film your pledge on your phone – keep it short and simple
- Upload your pledge to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, tagging HelpAge, and using the hashtags #WEAAD #RefuseToAbuse (Twitter @HelpAge, Facebook @HelpAgeInternational, Instagram @HelpAgeInt, LinkedIn @HelpAge-International)
- Encourage friends and colleagues to join the call by tagging them (via their social media handles) when you post e.g. @johnsmith
On 15 June, we will amplify all messages and pledges through our social media channels.
Here are some pledges you could make:
- I promise to actively include older family members in social activities, so that they feel a deep sense of belonging. I refuse to abuse!’
- I refuse to dismiss the concerns or experiences of older people, instead choosing to value their wisdom and understand their unique perspectives. I refuse to abuse!
- I promise to support older people in accessing resources and services that enhance their quality of life and empower them to live independently and with dignity. I refuse to abuse!
- I pledge to promote a culture of respect, kindness and compassion in all interactions with older people. I refuse to abuse!
- I promise to actively listen to the opinions and preferences of my grandparents, and to respect their autonomy and decision-making abilities. I refuse to abuse!
The more we all #RefuseToAbuse, the better the chances of us being able to live in security and dignity as we grow older.
Let's make sure everyone, everywhere can exercise their right to freedom, equality and a life lived in dignity.