There are many days in the calendar, such as Homeless Sunday, Refugee Week, National Sports Sunday, of which we are called as Christians to sit up and take note. One of those which often goes under the radar is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is taking place on Wednesday 15 June.
When was the last time we spoke in our churches about the abuse of older people? We need to recognise elder abuse is happening in both wider society and regretfully in our churches. That makes me uncomfortable but I have to confess, I’ve not heard this area talked about at all over my years in the church.
The UN website says: elder abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”.
Elder abuse affects many older people across the world, but it is also happening here in the UK in many of our communities. Unseen, not discussed but it happens.
That’s why the Salvation Army and Faith in Later Life are partnering and promoting a number of events to make sure the lid is lifted as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day this year.
How to join in
Older People Ministries at the Salvation Army is holding two events to which we want to invite all Christians.
On Tuesday 14 June, there are three zoom online sessions which will provide training on how to spot abuse with older people. The first is a standalone session at 11am is hosted by the Salvation Army. At 2.00pm and 7.30pm, these will be repeated as part of our June Church Champions training session. Faith in Later Life provides monthly training for Christians working with older people through a network of Church Champions, which is free to join.
On Thursday 16 June, at 7.00pm, there will be a time of prayer as we seek God to open our eyes to what is going on in our communities. Andrew Wileman, who is the Deputy Director of Older People Ministries and will be leading our session from the Salvation Army is keen to open the invitation to the time of prayer to anyone who would like to stop, pause and pray for a eradication of older people abuse in our church and society.
To find out more on any of these events, please email: [email protected]
Let it not be on our watch that we allowed older people to suffer in our church and wider society!