by Allison Schelske, Victims of Crime Coordinator II

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), elder abuse refers to any of the following types of mistreatments that are committed by someone with whom the elder has a special relationship (e.g. spouse, sibling, child, friend, or caregiver).

Physical Abuse

The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment .

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

The infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts .

Sexual Abuse

Sexual contact with any person who has not consented or is incapable of consent is sexual abuse.

Financial or Material Exploitation

The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets.

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse among Native American older adults are actions that damage one’s experience and personal practice of the sacred such as refusing to take elders to ceremonies and preventing them from participating in spiritual activities that lead to hurt or damaged spirits.

Our Traditional Values Are Our Strengths

The season of being an elder is one of the most important along one’s life’s cycle. The definition of an elder is someone who has received “gifts from the Creator” along their life’s path and someone who generously “shares these gifts with others to help them”.

About World Elder Abuse Day

Every year on June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated in America and worldwide. Through WEAAD, we raise awareness about the millions of older adults who experience elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. As many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year, only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever come to authorities’ attention. Older Americans are vital, contributing members of our society, and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. WEAAD reminds us that, as in a just society, we all have a critical role to play to focus attention on elder justice.