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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15th

What is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?

“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day involves activities to bring greater recognition of mistreatment of older adults wherever they live throughout the world and to highlight the need for appropriate action. It is intended to give abuse and neglect of older adults a global relevance that will sustain and move prevention efforts forward throughout the whole year and years to come.

 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day involves national and international activities developed by countries, communities, neighbourhoods and organizations collaborating in multigenerational and multidisciplinary initiatives. It can encompass volunteer and educational programs, cultural and art events, as well as diverse use of information technology, all aiming to create an awareness of elder abuse and its consequences.”

Common Myths about Abuse and Neglect of Older Persons*

  1. Abuse and neglect of older adults is rare. 
  2. Mistreatment in later life only happens to people who are very frail. 
  3. Some cultures are “immune” to abuse; they always respect their older members. 
  4. Mistreatment in later life only happens to: older women, older people who are isolated, older people with disabilities
  5. Sometimes an older person “chooses” to be abused or neglected by staying in an abusive relationship. 
  6. Most abuse of older adults involves physical abuse. 
  7. Most abuse of older adults occurs in nursing homes. 
  8. Most abuse in later life involves stressed families giving care.

*From International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse – www.inpea.net

A poem that has circulated for some time makes us think and realize we too will be old and an elder someday if we aren’t already and our fervant hope is that we will treated well and also continue to be “seen”!

“What Do You See?”

What do you see, nurses, what do you see,
what are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes.

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
when you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try?”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
and forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will
with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
as I use at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty-my heart gives a leap,
remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own
who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty my young sons have grown and are gone,
but my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more babies play round my knee,
again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread…..
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
and I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman and nature is cruel;
’tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,
there is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
and now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
and I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years; all too few, gone too fast,
and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
not a crabby old woman; look closer – see Me! 


So let’s all join together and

celebrate the 5th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. 

Show the world you care 

about ending elder abuse and neglect 

by wearing something purple 

on June 15, 2010. 

If you don’t take a stand, who will?


3 Responses to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15th

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