World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Calls for End of Neglecting and Mistreating the Elderly

International   |   Bill Poehler   |   Jun 15, 2015   |   2:02PM   |   Washington, DC

Today marks the 10th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which has been observed globally since 2006. This year’s event will continue to raise awareness of the exploitation of seniors and the need for better understanding and protection.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) urges communities and nations to provide safety and care to their older citizens. Hundreds of thousands of elders are abused, neglected and exploited each year, yet few of these incidents are ever reported. In the United States alone, older persons lose an estimated $2.6 billion annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation—funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care. Such abuse leaves elders even more vulnerable.

“Countless senior citizens across the world lack proper medical care when they become sick, and many die when care is either unavailable or withheld from them,” said MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “These vulnerable persons need care and protection, not hastened death.”

On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, MCCL GO encourages nations to prioritize access to medical care for elders. Seniors worldwide who suffer from serious illness are subjected to pressure to end their lives prematurely, whether by assisted suicide, euthanasia or the withholding of medical treatment against the patient’s wishes. MCCL GO has just released a brochure about the dangers of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and on patients’ rights to health and the alleviation of suffering. It is available at the MCCL GO website.

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide violate the right to life,” Fischbach said. “All patients have a right to health and deserve care rather than killing. We encourage everyone to share the vital information in our brochure.”

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On Oct. 1, the world will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, which will focus on Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment. The world’s elder population continues to grow, and with it opportunities for both exploitation and protection.