The terms “flash mob” and “senior” rarely belong in the same sentence, but some seniors and volunteers in Massachusetts staged a flash mob – complete with singing “When I’m 64” at a supermarket to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Video proof below:
Elder abuse is a particularly difficult crime to recognize and respond to. Its victims are vulnerable in a way that can be invisible – dependent upon their adult children and other caregivers for basic necessities, but not in the same way as children. Additionally, aging and a vast array of health difficulties can leave seniors less able to prevent themselves from being victimized and to cope with the crime after it happens.
There are no quality national-level data on elder abuse. It is important to point out, however, that there are some big misconceptions about age and crime. The general public often perceives elders as experiencing more criminal victimization, when, in fact, it is actually a more youthful demographic (16-24) that has the highest rate of victimization.
It is not the number of seniors who are abused that matters, but rather the unique challenges that such abuse poses for both elder victims and the supporting agencies who help them.
Ethos, the non-profit elder services and advocacy organization that sponsored the flashmob, estimates that there are 20,000 incidents of elder abuse in Massachusetts each year. No doubt, there are more victims who are not elders.
But this population, who has raised us, guided us, nurtured us, and holds our collective wisdom and social history, nevertheless deserves special attention.
- Secret shame as elders abused by loved ones (smh.com.au)
- Presidential Proclamation — World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 2012 (pattidudek.typepad.com)
- Crime Victims’ Rights Week (crimedime.com)
- TSA Pretends to Lose Interest in Patting Down Your Gran (crimedime.com)
- Who Are Crime Victims? (crimedime.com)