June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day to voice opposition to the abuse of older people.
Individuals and communities throughout Queensland will come together and show their support by hosting and attending a wide range of activities where people will have the opportunity to learn about Elder Abuse, it’s impacts and older people’s human rights.
The official colour of WEAAD is purple which represents wisdom, dignity, independence and creativity.
COTA Queensland is working collaboratively with Caxton Legal Centre, Elder Abuse Prevention Unit – Uniting Care, EveryAGE Counts, Office of the Public Guardian, Public Trustee, Queensland Police Services, Relationships Australia Queensland and the Queensland Governement to raise awareness of elder abuse, supports and services.
Over the next three years we are calling on communities to:
2022: Create Awareness
2023: Call for Action
2024: Empower Advocacy
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is a single or repeated act—or lack of appropriate action—occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
The five abuse subtypes are commonly recognised as financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse (otherwise known as emotional abuse), and neglect.
Signs of elder abuse
If you suspect an older person is being subjected to elder abuse, pay close attention and see if you can identify any of the signs or behaviour changes.
If you suspect elder abuse is happening, don’t wait for proof. Call the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 651 192 for free, confidential advice and referral.
Changes in general behaviour
- Fear of one or many persons
- Irritability or being easily upset
- Worry or anxiety for no obvious reason
- Depression, anxiety or withdrawal
- Changes in sleep patterns or eating habits
- Rigid posture and avoidance of contact
- Avoidance of eye contact or continuous darting of eyes
- Contradictory statements unrelated to mental confusion
- Reluctance to talk openly
Ageism is one of the enabling factors of elder abuse
Ageism is discrimination, stereotyping or prejudice against a person or a group of people based on age. For older people, this form of discrimination can lead to isolation, shame, and abuse.
It is pervasive but often hidden.
The recent Elder Abuse Prevalence Study (2021) empirically confirmed that the more ageist we are the more likely we condone elder abuse, and, the more ageist we are the less likely we are to recognise elders abuse.
It can distort our attitudes to older people and ageing and have profound negative impacts on our personal experience of growing older.
Ageism is not benign or harmless. It is a big problem because it impacts on our confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health, and control over life decisions.
Changing the social norms that underpin negative attitudes and behaviours towards ageing and older people is critical to reducing elder abuse.
How you can get involved
During the week of 15 June, individuals and communities throughout Queensland will come together and show their support by hosting and attending a wide range of activities where people will have the opportunity to learn about Elder Abuse, it’s impacts and older people’s human rights.
The easiest way to show your support is to wear purple and post the campaign shareables to your social media accounts using the hashtag #WEAAD #WEAADqld #WEAAD2022
- WEAAD logo
- Social media tile
- Email signature
- Editable event flyer (Word)
- Website banner (660×330 px)
- Website Banner (820x310px)
Need some inspiration?
Here are some event and activity ideas.
- Host a morning tea connecting people of all ages, cultures and abilities.
- Invite a guest speaker to discuss the issue of elder abuse.
- Let’s talk – host a facilitated chat using our conversation starters in this document – pages 11-13.
- Organise a flash mob.
- Wear purple to work during the week leading up to and including the 15th of June.
- Help turn Queensland purple to highlight the issue of elder abuse. See our list of bridges, buildings and landmarks that will be lit purple on page 10.
- Organise a purple themed awareness walk, picnic or sausage sizzle in your local park.
- Create an awareness display in your workplace, school, council, library or shopping centre. Find a listing of useful resources on page x
- Take the EveryAGE Counts online pledge to stand against ageism at www.everyagecounts.org.au