June 15th, the day widely recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, is fast approaching. If you work or live in any situation where elders are even peripherally involved, this is a good time to remind people that elders can be vulnerable to many types of abuse and we have a responsibility to protect them.
It’s natural to think that abuse is physical, and often it is. However, elder abuse can also be emotional or financial. Telling people they are worthless is abuse. Not providing good care for an elder because the family wants to protect what they view as their inheritance is abuse. Withholding food or medication is abuse. It goes without saying that hitting, pinching or other physical aggression is abuse.