World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is Thursday, June 15. The Department of Health and Senior Services invites you to wear purple on this day (and anytime throughout the month of June) to commemorate this important event and raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect, bullying, and exploitation in later life.
On June 15, 2006, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was introduced by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action that recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Ways You Can Participate:
- Wear Purple and Take Photos: Wear purple on June 15 to raise awareness for WEAAD, take a photo and join the conversation by posting it on social media using #WEAAD hashtag. Share photos and stories on your social media platforms with #WEAAD. Attached is a social media guide. As you plan activities, feel free to use the WEAAD tool kit. If your organization or community hosts an event, please let us know!
- Display a Yard Sign and/or Window Cling: This is your opportunity to protect seniors by raising awareness about this serious problem and empower all Missourians to take action to end elder abuse. Light up a landmark in your community purple or use a purple porchlight during the month of June. To order promotional materials, please visit Health.Mo.Gov/weaad.
- Join the Webinar Series: Learn about adult abuse and neglect, its prevalence, reporting and the ways in which DSDS protects and supports vulnerable Missourians impacted by abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation. Please see attached flyer for details to attend these important sessions and help us promote by posting to your social media outlets, websites, bulletin boards, as well as sharing it with your customers, partners and stakeholders via listservs.
The theme for WEAAD is Building Strong Support for Elders. As we know, no community in the world is immune from the mistreatment of older adults. Sadly, every year an estimated five million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, bullying, or exploitation, and that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported; as many as 23 cases go unreported. In Missouri, during fiscal year 2022, the Department of Health and Senior Services received and investigated 42,319 reports of abuse, neglect, bullying, and exploitation involving seniors and adults with disabilities living in the community and in facilities. That amounts to an average of 116 reports every day. The number of cases is rising, but still vastly understates the extent of the problem because the victim often has an emotional bond with the perpetrator. Seniors and people with disabilities may be socially isolated and physically dependent on the perpetrator – often a son, daughter, or caregiver – making it nearly impossible for them to report for fear of losing their last vestige of independence.
Make a difference. Make the call.
To report adult abuse, neglect, bullying, or exploitation, call the department’s hotline (1-800-392-0210), 7 AM to 8 PM, seven days a week. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may utilize Relay Missouri 1-800-735-2966. You may also report online at Health.Mo.Gov/abuse. For more information on this issue, visit our website at http://health.mo.gov/seniors/abuse.php.
As the leader in promoting, partnering, and protecting the health of Missouri citizens we urge each and every Missourian to help educate our communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals about elder abuse.
Thank you for your partnership to raise awareness about this critical public health issue!