The United Nations (UN) has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).
The day aims to focus global attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. It also seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population, and brings together senior citizens, and their caregivers, national and local government, academics, and the private sector to exchange ideas about how best to reduce incidents of violence towards elders, increase reporting of such abuse, and to develop elder friendly policies.
Currently, the world is undergoing significant demographic changes. Estimates indicate that by 2050, the global population of people above the age of 60 will exceed the number of younger people. These changes have led to a worldwide recognition of the problems and challenges that face the elderly. Research has shown that elderly abuse, neglect, violence, and exploitation is one of the biggest issues facing senior citizens around the world. World Health Organization data suggests that 4 to 6 per cent of elderly suffer from some form of abuse, a large percentage of which goes unreported.
The purpose of the WEAAD is to encourage communities to recognize the problem of elderly abuse, and for countries to create policies that foster respect for elders and provide them the tools to continue to be productive citizens.
The first WEAAD was observed in 2012, and was marked by meetings and conferences at the UN headquarters in New York.
In addition to the WEAAD, the UN also observes an International Day of Older Persons on October 1 every year to recognize the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives.