World Elders Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), June 15

(scroll down for prayers)
15 June is observed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to increase the visibility of the elderly who face the violence of different kinds, due to their vulnerable state. The purpose of the day is so that the whole world can come together to voice its opposition against the abuse and suffering that is experienced by the people who are at an advanced age. The more we talk about it, the more we can help reduce the instances of elder abuse in our communities and prevent future harm to our most vulnerable.
The UN Secretary-General in his Policy Brief: The Impact of Covid-19 on Older Persons warned that measures to restrict movement with COVID-19 lockdowns may trigger greater incidence of violence against older persons and all types of abuse – physical, emotional, financial and sexual as well as neglect. He also claimed that the lack of adequate legislation at national level to protect the rights of older persons and the absence of a dedicated internationally agreed legal framework, contribute to the vulnerability of older persons and may have contributed to the inadequate responses to the COVID-19 crisis and that these gaps must be filled.

Elder abuse is a global social issue that detrimentally affects the health and basic human rights of millions of older persons worldwide, and it is an issue which deserves more attention from the international community as it is a problem that it is present in all parts of the world and hence needs to be addressed seriously. The World Health Organisation estimates that, worldwide, almost 1 in 6 (16%) of people aged 60 and over have been the victim of elder abuse in the past year. That means nearly 141 million people globally. This number might be much higher as elder abuse is one of the most hidden and underreported violations. In 2017-18 more than 10,900 calls were made to elder abuse hotlines across Australia according to statistics released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Most countries are expected to witness a marked growth in the concentration of older people by the year 2030. This makes it important to speak of the conditions of the demographic as instances of abuse are bound to increase. Abuse of the elderly consists of physical, emotional, or sexual harm that is inflicted upon an older adult. It also includes exploiting their finances, or neglecting their welfare, especially by people who are responsible for their care. more than half a million cases are reported in the US alone each year. Most instances of elderly abuse are not reported, indicating that the actual number might be much bigger.
Older adults become less capable of taking care of themselves as they are physically frail. This makes it less likely that they will resist being bullied, or fight back when physically attacked. Physical and mental ailments can make them more difficult to live with. They may have reduced abilities to see, hearing, or thinking clearly which makes them susceptible to being taken advantage of. The abusers are often adult children or other family members, and most cases are reported in at-home settings. Elder abuse can also occur in institutions that are set up to provide long-term care for senior citizens.
Some common examples of abusive behaviour towards an elderly person can include:
* the isolation of the older person from social connections and support services,
* withholding mail, phone calls and contact with family members,
* misusing the older person’s finances,
* causing physical harm, psychological or emotional injury or threatening the older person with violence,
* treating them like a child,
* any conduct that causes the older person to feel afraid, powerless or humiliated.

No More Elder Abuse
God,
Your knowing knows no limit
Your compassoion knows no limit
At all times
And in all places
For all people,
You are working for for good,
it is just that we get in the way,
Or fail to join you in your work.
Our knowing is so limited
Our compassion becomes fatigued
And we get caught up in our own lives
Along with the busy-ness which fills it.
Prompt us not to look away,
Remind us not to forget,
Provoke us to action.
May we become the rich soil that produces a harvest,
As we become more informed
And speak up for those who voice is silenced or is not heard.
May this insidious problem,
Be known and addresed.
We pray for those who perpetrate such heinousness
That there heart may be changed
Compassion be awakened
And repentance be made,
That our elders may be respected
That they might receive the care that is due.
May the issue of elder abuse,
Like all forms of abuse,
Find no place in our families or society,
For it is just wrong
And needs to be stopped.
It is our prayer.
Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that unite)

Gracious God, be with all those
struggling today with symptoms
of dementia in its many forms;
mood changes, memory lapses,
confusion and helplessness.
May they know in their hearts
your comforting embrace
amid their daily frustrations,
and continue to realise,
as names and memories fade,
that they are still loved by family,
friends, and especially by you.
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

God of compassion and grace,
we pray for all those who,
through age and infirmity
find themselves imprisoned
within the loneliness of home,
watching a world outside
that once had their
full involvement
increasingly pass them by.
Be with and bless them, Lord,
along with family and carers
calling through the week to help.
May they know that they are loved,
still precious in your sight,
and feel your arms support them
in the day and through the night. Amen
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

We pray for those who find
difficulty in remembering;
for whom once-familiar faces
are becoming strangers,
and treasured memories
disappear from memory’s store.
Lord, grant understanding
to those who care for these
your vulnerable children,
and dignity to those
who suffer in this way.
May they know and feel
your love surround them
and every moment,
though soon forgotten
be a moment filled with joy.
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

Memory fades,
and recollections
become hazy clouds,
fading outlines
of strangers’ faces
and forgotten places.
Even the familiar,
loved ones and names
that once tripped lightly
off the tongue
cause confusion,
in what seems
a cruel dismantling
of a life once lived.
Compassionate God,
for all who live in fear
of what they might become,
and those already walking
down this lonely road
we call dementia
grant them peace.
May each moment,
however brief,
be filled with joy
not sorrow,
and your love be seen
through those
who care for these
your loved and fragile people.
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

For those who walk
more slowly
through this world
than in the days
when they were young,
may each step
be made lighter
and their joy be greater
for seeing beauty
in little things
that the hurrying pass by
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

The Sanctuary Centre has some ideas for praying for older people.

God of all seasons of time,
We are humbly and boldly grateful for the gift of life.
We ask your gentle and vigorous blessing upon our older adults this
morning.
May they know they are held and summoned by your love.
May they feel empowered by the knowledge that their lives are vital to the
future of our world.
May they teach us to live fully, passionately, and gracefully in companion
with the limitations of mortal life.
May they lead us to illuminating understanding of what it means to
“become a new creature in Christ” with each passing year.
God of our life, we ask for your blessings and give our trust to you. Amen
(Adapted from 2008 Older Adult Month)

A prayer of thanksgiving for older adults
God of all the seasons of life, we thank you for the older adults who live among us, revealing to us the seasons of age and experience, reminding us to enjoy each day as your gift, and offering us perspective, courage, peace, and a vision of what it means to age with enthusiasm, purpose, and grace.
We recognize today that each of these dear sisters and brothers is a vital part of this family of faith, and that too seldom do we tell them of our gratitude. So we offer to them and to you our confession of that lapse and the loss we thus have sustained.
Now as we anticipate your grace, we also anticipate the grace of our ongoing journey with them. May we share with them our strength and eagerness and vision. May we learn from them dreams and wisdom and bravery. May we delight in each other. May we tell one another our own stories as they fit together into the story of your purposes and your kingdom on earth and in heaven.
May we simply hold hands with one another, creating ties that will bind us into the great communion of saints who have been, who are, and who are yet to be! Amen.
(Source: Adapted from a prayer by Sonja Griffith)

God you grant us only a few short years of life on this earth. It seems sometimes that youth is indeed wasted on the young and that by the time we have the wisdom of age we have lost the strength to use it. But Lord, we do thank you that you have preserved and passed along the wisdom of experience in the and through the lives of those among us who have lived enough years to know the difference between what seems prudent and what truly is prudent. God, give us all enough “wisdom” ourselves to pause and ask and then rely upon the true wisdom of our elders. Give them encouragement to apply their age advantage and give them the strength to stay engaged enough to pass along their wealth of wisdom and their legacy of understanding. We open our lives, our families, our neighborhoods and our entire society to this buried treasure of wisdom. Convert us to truly value human life in all forms and stages. We thank you for the aging ones among us”.
(Source: BeliefNet)

Prayer for the aged
Look with mercy, O God,
on all whose increasing years bring them
weakness, distress, or isolation.
Provide for them homes of dignity and peace;
give them understanding helpers,
and to them willingness to accept help;
and, as their strength diminishes,
Increase their assurance of your love.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
(Source: RibessJ)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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