TO THE EDITOR,
June 15 is being recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Please join the Minnesota Network on Abuse in Later Life and Bluff Country Family Resources in a statewide action at noon when we will stand for 10 minutes in silence against violence, and specifically abuse of our elders. This is a time for each citizen to reflect on "What can/will I do to make my community violence free?"
Abuse in later life is a pattern of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial behaviors used against a victim by a spouse, partner, family member or person in a trusting relationship.
Why is it important to raise awareness?
• Only one in 24 cases of abuse of persons over age 50 is reported.
• Victims of abuse in later life are more than twice the risk of premature death than same age adults who are not victims.
• The unique services for abuse victims over the age of 50 are not only hidden but ignored. Ageism is the single greatest barrier to reporting, advocacy and recovery.
Become familiar with the signs and dynamics of late life abuse. Introduce yourself to your neighbors and share your knowledge and vision of a violence free community. Learn about the services available in your community and how to access them, and volunteer your time to promote a violence-free community. Distribute and post informational flyers and posters throughout your community - make all ages informed and aware that your neighborhood and community are violence free zones. Meet others in your community who have made a commitment to boldly confront the lack of openness about the issue of abuse of elders where you live. Together you will make a difference.