United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, made an address to promote Elder Abuse Awareness Day, stating the following: 'On this Day, I call upon Member States and civil society to strengthen their resolve and redouble their efforts to eliminate all forms of violence and abuse against older people.'
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a day where we promote older persons to have a voice and be an active role in society where all feel comfortable to make choices and report if they feel they are being abused. We often think of abuse as only affecting young women or children but an often forgotten abuse is towards the elderly.
As people age, those with poor physical and mental health present the highest risk for elder abuse. It is evident that the elderly who live with family or support that have mental disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, often have increased risk of abuse. Elder abuse does exist on the Island and it is something that we want to make all aware of as the population of older persons on St Helena also increases.
With the current population of those over 65 at 890 out of 4329 (around 22% of the population) according to the 2016 Census, we are seeing an increasing number of older persons beginning to rely on others for support or residential services to provide their daily activities. With increased dependence on others there is also an increased risk of abuse.
Home support from family, and friends in the community, is gratefully appreciated and it has to be acknowledged the heavy physical and financial weight this can play on families and relatives. There are resources available to help those who feel they do need a break from caring for a loved one even for just a short few days � contact the Older Persons Team on tel: 23349. We hope that on this week of awareness, all will look to visit an older person, whether it be a relative, friend or neighbour, to appreciate what importance the elderly play in our lives.
Elder abuse isn't something new and as the Older Persons Service, we want to bring awareness of these issues affecting the older population. We want all people on the Island, old and young, men and women, to seek help when they feel they are being treated in a way that does not respect who they are.
Source: St Helena Government