Elder abuse is often 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. In 2006 the United Nations designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and each year an increasing number of events are held across the globe on this day to raise awareness of elder abuse, and highlight ways to challenge such abuse.
According to statistics released by the NCEA, more than 30 percent of all nursing homes in the United States have been involved in some form of resident abuse. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of the nursing homes in the United States are understaffed.
With the age of the population ever increasing, more people find themselves requiring the assistance of these facilities. In fact, it is estimated that the demand for beds will far exceed the supply by the year 2010.
Most people believe that nursing home abuse comes at the hands of staff members. However, many instances of abuse come from other residents or occupants. Thus, it is hard to make an exact definition of nursing home abuse because no two cases are the same. Nursing home abuse may be in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, malnutrition, and neglect.
An increasing area of elder abuse stems from self-neglect. Self-neglect is a condition in which an individual neglects to attend to their basic needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding, or tending to their medical needs.
For more information on elder abuse and events being held in your area check out http://www.inpea.net/weaad.html.
 Pathways Courses-Out of the Shadows, accessed June 11, 2008