This Father’s Day, Give the Gift of Freedom from Harm

October 10, 2014
Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL Administrator

This Sunday, June 15, is Father’s Day, a day devoted to honoring our fathers—and our father figures—for the love and support they have given us over the course of our lives. Fittingly, it is also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day devoted to raising awareness of a serious world health issue that affects as many as one in ten older Americans.

Many people think of elder abuse as something that happens to women. But elder abuse is not just a women's issue. Older men are abused, as well. In fact, about a third of reported cases of elder abuse involve men who have been harmed in some way.

Elder abuse can include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse—or some form of neglect. It most often affects those who rely on others for help with day-to-day activities, such as bathing and dressing. Many studies have shown that older people with cognitive impairment are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect. And financial fraud, one of the most common forms of elder abuse, can happen to anyone.

That’s why, this Sunday, it is important to look beyond the giving of gifts and the sending of greetings cards to see the larger purpose in these observances. Dedicate this weekend to making sure that the men—and women—who have contributed so much to our lives and to our society, are safe from harm and neglect.

That means taking steps to educate our communities about elder abuse. Following is a list of simple resources that can help to prevent elder abuse. Read them. Post them. Share them with the caregivers you know. Make this Father’s Day meaningful by ensuring that all older Americans receive the care, support, and appreciation they deserve.  Today is the day to ask, “Is dad okay?”

To learn more about how to get involved and make a difference in preventing elder abuse, visit the ACL World Elder Abuse Awareness Day microsite.

Last modified on 05/06/2020

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