Furber and Bailey: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day promoted ‘respect and dignity’


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed each June 15 to raise knowledge about the abuse, neglect, mistreatment and exploitation that an older person may face. This initiative aims to promote respect and dignity, while emphasizing the right to live free of fear and violence.

This year, the observance focused on the theme, “Spotlight on Older Persons in Emergencies.” Emergencies, whether natural disasters, pandemics or conflicts, disproportionately impact older individuals. These events often exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, making it essential to address their needs in emergency planning and response. Older persons may face mobility issues, chronic health conditions or social isolation, which can hinder their access to aid, safe evacuation, timely medical care and support services. Moreover, the stress and chaos of emergencies can increase the risk of elder abuse, whether physical, emotional, financial or neglectful.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2024 called on all communities and organizations to prioritize the safety and well-being of older persons in their emergency preparedness and response strategies. This included creating accessible evacuation plans, ensuring continuity of health care and providing targeted support to prevent isolation and abuse. Education and training for emergency responders, caregivers and the public were also emphasized. By increasing awareness about the specific challenges faced by older persons during emergencies, we can foster a more inclusive and protective environment.

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation for someone living in a Delaware licensed nursing home or assisted living facility, please call the Division of Health Care Quality or complete an incident referral form: 877-453-0012 or dhss.delaware.gov/dhcq/mailform.html.

To join advocacy efforts in Delaware regarding the quality of care for individuals living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, please contact the Delaware Nursing Home Residents Quality Assurance Commission: courts.delaware.gov/dnhrqac or 302-836-2133.

Remember, raising awareness about elder abuse and promoting preventive measures is crucial to ensuring the well-being of our aging population worldwide.

Lisa Furber

Chair, Delaware Nursing Home Residents Quality Assurance Commission

Margaret Bailey

Executive director, Delaware Nursing Home Residents Quality Assurance Commission

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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