Today marks the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day(WEAAD), which highlights the issue of abuse and neglect of older persons.
The day, which is observed on June 15 every year, aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the two spheres to promote a better understanding of the issue of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
It also sheds light on the plight of elders at the hands of their sons, kins, friends, and society. This year’s theme is Digital Equity for All Ages and it is focused on accelerating solutions to combat the violence against the elder people and reduce the incidence of elder abuse as well.
In coincidence with the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) published a new report titled “Combatting Elder Abuse.”
The report reviewed some of the Egyptian State’s strategies to mitigate the burdens on the elderly & provide utmost care & attention to them over the past few years.
In January 2019, the Ministry of Social Solidarity created the “Companion of the Elderly” service in nursing homes to help them inside and outside homes and provide companions for them.
In October 2020, free means of transportation were provided for persons over 70 years old, and about 50% discount on tickets for persons over 60 years old, according to the Ministries of Social Solidarity and Transport.
In November 2021, the Ministry of Health launched the “Permanent Healthcare for the Elderly” Program to improve the quality of health for the elderly over 65 years old.
In December 2021, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology concluded contracts on free Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) for persons over 60 years old with no need to go to any branch.
Affirming the State’s strife towards improving the quality of life for the elderly, it developed social security networks of “Takaful wa Karama” (Solidarity & Dignity) with a pension for the elderly of 65 years old & above or those with chronic diseases and disabilities.
Recently, the Egyptian Senate approved a draft law “Rights of the Elderly” to ensure their health, economic, cultural, social, and entertainment-related rights and present an appropriate pension.
According to the UN, the day recalls the need to combat the various forms of violence against older persons, a widespread phenomenon that includes discrimination in the public sphere, linguistic and employment discrimination, lack of access, isolation, neglect, financial exploitation, physical and psychological violence and the withholding of basic needs, and physical attacks. The issue of violence and abuse has been considered one of the priorities of the mandate of the UN Human Rights Office and is consistently addressed in thematic reports.
On the other hand, WHO said that the abuse of older people is an important public health problem. According to its 2017 review of 52 studies in 28 countries from diverse regions estimated that over the past year 1 in 6 people (15.7%) aged 60 years and older were subjected to some form of abuse. Although rigorous data are limited, the review provides prevalence estimates of the proportion of older people affected by different types of abuse.
It noted that abuse of older people can have serious physical and mental health, financial, and social consequences, including, for instance, physical injuries, premature mortality, depression, cognitive decline, financial devastation, and placement in nursing homes. For older people, the consequences of abuse can be especially serious and recovery may take longer.
It’s worth mentioning that the day was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 66/127, December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), which first established the commemoration on June 15, 2006.
It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering that may happen to some of our older generations.