The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) joins the United Nations (UN) and countries all over the world in commemorating June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Globally, on this day attention is focused on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders.
As many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year and only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities. Older Americans are vital, contributing members of our society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. WEAAD reminds us that, as in a just society, all of us have a critical role to play to focus attention on elder justice.
In tribal communities, our elders are cherished and revered. They are our “wisdom keepers.” Sadly, American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian elders are the most economically disadvantaged group in the nation and often experience financial exploitation, neglect and even physical abuse.
It is a well known fact that tribal communities are under-resourced and there is critical unmet need across the board. When it comes to our elders, this is even more apparent.
According to NCAI, “…many tribes cannot meet the five-day-a-week meal requirement mandated under Title VI of the Older Americans Act, and instead serve congregate meals only two or three days per week. Similarly, some tribal Title VI programs are forced to close for a number of days each week, which means they are unable to provide Native elders with basic services, such as transportation, information and referral, legal assistance, respite or adult day care, home visits, homemaker services, or home health aide services.”
As Congress considers reauthorizing the Older Americans Act, NCAI strongly recommends a serious commitment to Native elders through significantly increased funding of tribal elder programs.
The theme for this year’s WEAAD is “Lift up Voices,” a theme that is centered on unifying the shared values of elder justice and responding to violence against women to bring to the forefront the lived experiences of older people around the globe. Let’s “lift up” our voices for elder justice and ensure they get respect, resources, and care that they deserve.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL), along with our federal and aging partners, invites you to join us in Lifting up Voices for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019, a theme that is centered on unifying the shared values of elder justice and responding to violence against women to bring to the forefront the lived experiences of older people around the globe.
This year, we invite you to join us and other organizations and communities across the country in using the collection of special Lifting up Voices outreach and campaign tools (including an action guide with sample social media posts and graphics), incorporating the Lifting up Voices theme in your community.
- Watch: NIWRC’s 2016 Webinar “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Violence in Indian Country” presented by Dr. Jacque Gray. http://www.niwrc.org/resources/world-elder-abuse-awareness-day-violence-indian-country
- Watch: NIWRC’s 2014 Webinar “Sexual Violence Against American Indian/Alaska Native Elders” Materials and presentation by Hallie Bongar White, Executive Director, Southwest Center for Law and Policy. http://www.niwrc.org/resources/sexual-violence-against-native-elders
- Visit: Lifting up Voices outreach and campaign materials at: https://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/weaad-home/tools-and-tips/
- Tour: National Indian Elder Justice Initiative website for resources, toolkits, webinars, training and technical assistance at: https://www.nieji.org/
- Explore: Resource Page for World Elders Awareness Day, by the United Nations, at: http://www.un.org/en/events/elderabuse/resources.shtml
- Download: Online Elder Abuse Response Took Kit, by the Seniors Rights Victoria, at: https://toolkit.seniorsrights.org.au
- Read: The Elder Justice Road Map at: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/file/829266/download
- Review: Reclaiming What is Sacred: Addressing Harm to Indigenous Elders and Developing a Tribal Response to Abuse in Later Life at: http://www.red-wind.net/page17/
National Indian Elder Justice Initiative has an Innovation Grant Program focused upon development of innovative ways to address the issue of elder abuse among American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian programs. https://www.nieji.org/innovation-grant
The NIEJI Innovation Grant Program provides opportunities for tribes to:
- Develop elder abuse protection programs
- Gather tribal data about elder abuse in Indian Country
- Produce additional training modules for professionals on working with elder abuse in Indian Country
About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to restoring the sovereignty of Native nations and safeguarding Native women and their children. The NIWRC supports culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy and provides national leadership to ending gender-based violence in indigenous communities through the development of educational materials and programs, direct technical assistance and the development of local and national policy that builds the capacity of Indigenous communities and strengthens the exercise of tribal sovereignty. www.niwrc.org