Everyone knows and cares about an older person at some point in their lives; many of us throughout our entire lives—whether that person is a grandparent, an elderly parent, a mentor or coach, or an older person that has been influential to us in some way. As millions of baby boomers are aging, the US population of older adults continues to grow. Unfortunately, statistics show that one in ten people age 60 and older are victimized by elder abuse. The Administration on Aging (AoA) defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult; including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, emotional abuse, abandonment, and self-neglect. Please read below for ways to increase your awareness of this crime and determine ways you can be involved in preventing its occurrence.
To assist domestic and sexual violence victim advocates and others in increasing their knowledge of and responses to elder abuse, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life has created a series of Abuse in Later Life Information Sheets. This series includes an overview of the issue, unique challenges in investigating and prosecuting these types of cases, service provider tips on working with older victims, ideas for engaging community partners, and a resource list, among other items.
Advocates are encouraged to listen to this 30-minute BlogTalkRadio session, recorded in 2011 for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This segment discusses the “silver tsunami,” the impact of aging on our society, ageism, and how community-based programs can work together to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect in later life. Listeners will hear from experts at the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, the University of California Irvine Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, with support being provided by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Many older survivors have extremely powerful and impactful stories. Advocates are encouraged to connect with older survivors that have utilized their services to speak at community awareness events, trainings or presentations on this topic, or at other places to help make elders aware of their services. Hear first hand from Mickey Rooney as he speaks out against elder abuse before a Senate Committee on Aging on March 2, 2011. In this video clip, the 90-year-old actor tells his story of experiencing abuse at the hands of his own family. Full transcript (2 pages).
Mickey Rooney: Elder Abuse ‘Emotional Blackmail’ (2:36 minutes)
From the Front of the Room: An Advocates Guide to Help Prepare Survivors for Public Speaking, and its companion guide designed specifically for survivors, provides a basic overview of the issues that face survivors who desire to speak publicly about their experiences with intimate partner violence and notes special considerations for various populations, including working with elder survivors of violence. Guides are also available in Spanish and Arabic.
By focusing specifically on domestic and sexual violence (DV/SV) in later life, this special collection—Preventing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence in Later Life—highlights the complexities of older people's DV/SV experiences and emphasizes collaborative and multi-pronged approaches to addressing DV/SV in later life. Accordingly, the materials included in this special collection have been organized by their relevance to key stakeholders. Valuable resources are provided that discuss current research, cultural considerations, prevention efforts, systems responses, collaboration and coordinated community response teams, training, laws and public policy.
The Ageless Alliance connects people of all ages nationwide who stand united for the dignity of older adults and for the elimination of elder abuse. This mission is accomplished through building awareness to support abuse identification, prevention and intervention by communities and individuals; providing support through online resources for survivors of abuse, their family members and friends, and their advocates; and community involvement to unite individuals and take action in elder justice related activities to eliminate elder abuse nationwide. Access their Action Kit Resources for use throughout the year. Materials include free and easy to download PSAs, pocket guides, bumper stickers, press release templates, flyers, logos, table tents, and placemats.