June 15, 2021
Celebrating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: The Impact of COVID-19 on Elder Population and Awareness as a Global Issue
“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation. It is likely to have a particularly devastating impact on older people in developing countries.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres
International Days are used to raise awareness and educate citizens on concerning global issues, to promote both political discussion and economic investment and to celebrate achievements and those who worked to get communities there. But there’s so much more to be done.
Particularly during 2020 and this part of 2021, the elder population has been the largest target for COVID-19. The pandemic put them in a place of higher risk than the rest of the people.
Older people are used to face discrimination in diverse areas such as decisions on medical care, therapies, ways of living. Even pre-COVID-19, issues on access to health services for the elder were already a problem.
In a world that changes constantly, health services should be a right, provided imperatevely for those in need of it, recognizing and being able to confront changes along the way.
“No person, young or old, is expendable. (…) Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else. (…) Difficult decisions around life-saving medical care must respect the human rights and dignity of all”, spelled UN Secretary-General António Guterres while launching a policy brief on older persons last year.
Elder abuse and mistreatment are issues that exist globally, but are normally disregarded. Only a low 1% to 10% of countries globally (selected developing countries) have started to treat the problem.
Whether nations are treating the matter or not, it is obviously an issue of social responsibility, and it demands a global treatment as well as a global response. We invite you to read further information in the United Nation Policy Brief on The Impact of COVID-19 on older persons.