Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans experience elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. In 2011, the United Nations declared June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), an international observance day each year to raise awareness about this growing problem.
According to the Administration for Community Living, as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year and only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities. This day of awareness reminds us that we all have a critical role to play to focus attention on elder justice. WEAAD is an opportunity for people or organizations to take action to protect older people by raising awareness about elder abuse, why it occurs, and what we can do to stop it.
Area cities are joining the cause, by issuing proclamations declaring their support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and offering activities to educate residents.
Excelsior Springs, Gladstone, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Mission, North Kansas City and Roeland Park have either issued proclamations in support of WEAAD or plan to do so at upcoming city council meetings. Lee’s Summit is educating staff about the issue and plans to turn the city’s fountains purple on June 15 to support the cause. Independence has planned outreach activities at local community centers, including a lunch-and-learn on elder abuse awareness.
UPDATE: As of May 22, Kansas City, Missouri, has signed a proclamation and the state of Missouri has signed a resolution in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.