Jun 3

Team Springwell is Walking for Elder Abuse Awareness

woman walking to raise awareness for Elder Abuse

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is an annual opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older people by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. Springwell employees and friends have joined the 2nd annual virtual Walk for WEAAD to help raise awareness to this key part of our mission. This is a team challenge that started May 1st in which we try to meet an individual daily goal for the 45 days of the challenge.

Elisa, Springwell’s Protective Services Program Manager, fits in many of her daily steps keeping up with an active toddler. “Walking is something that many people can do even if they need an assistive device to help them. Everyone can go at their own pace taking breaks as needed for the distance that is right for them. We always try to motivate older adults to stay active. The physical exercise of walking helps maintain mobility which helps physical independence. Just as important, walking often reduces isolation by promoting socialization. While outside walking, one may see other people, share a wave or a smile, or even chat with a neighbor. Reducing isolation is important after the past two years of the pandemic,” shares Elisa. Physical independence and socialization can often reduce the risks for elder abuse. “I am walking for myself but as part of this challenge, I am also walking for older adults and want them to join me if they are able to help their well-being.”

Neighbors of older adults can be helpful in alleviating elder abuse by saying something if they notice something. If you normally see a neighbor out walking daily and it suddenly stops, check on them. If the neighbor typically has a well-kept personal appearance and they look different, say something. It may be a sign of self-neglect or an indicator that caregivers or family members may not be providing appropriate care. Don’t stay silent.

Elisa stresses that “unfortunately when someone makes a report of possible elder abuse, and Protective Services contacts them to offer help, the older adult may hesitate to engage because they feel there is a stigma associated with assistance. The elder may be concerned that they will have to move and will have their rights taken away from them. This is not the case, and we need to make sure older adults understand that Protective Services workers are there to help them stay in their community with adequate support to keep them safe and independent for as long as possible.”

Put on your walking shoes and invite an older neighbor to join you for some daily steps to promote elder independence and safety.

To learn more about Protective Services, please go here: https://springwell.com/service/protecting-elders-at-risk-of-abuse/