Preventive Measures For Elder Abuse
Like any other form of abuse, elder abuse is an equally important concern. If we want to eradicate it we must keep in mind that elder abuse can be intervened and prevented if we are aware and responsible enough to actively implement measures of precaution. Prevention of elder abuse is a necessity to promote life satisfaction and general health in the elder population so that they can live a fulfilling life and exercise their rights.
A few preventive measures to get help for an elderly person:
1. Increase understanding of elder abuse among elder members of the family. Explain thoroughly its causes, forms, degrees, manifestations, and how they can save themselves from being abused.
2. Teach elder members of the family self-care and self-help strategies as far as is feasible for them to perform. Performing comparatively easier activities like having one’s own medicine, keeping oneself hydrated, timely consumption of one’s own food, etc. will be of some help.
3. Understanding personal rights – the right to one’s assets, possession, and property, etc.
4. Learn and strengthen day-to-day problem-solving abilities like managing one’s own funds, insurance, cards, important documents, property and monitoring transactions, and limiting other people’s access to those resources.
5. Expand social networks and seek community help or take resort to self-help groups.
6. Be a part of elder associations or other community groups where you can meet like-minded people to share your experiences.
7. When in crisis, stay calm and abstain from arguing with the perpetrator.
8. If the perpetrator attacks with or without weapons, try to escape the situation and seek help from trusted neighbors.
9. Stay alert and pay attention to intuitive thoughts. If you notice something out of the place, immediately take action by seeking community help.
10. Keep trusted people’s contact numbers on speed dial. Dial the emergency number of your area if you need immediate help and in case of physical injury or wound.
11. If need be, shift to your relative’s house with identity documents, some cash and card, and required medications for a temporary stay.
12. Promoting public education and sensitizing younger adults about caring and respecting elderly people in domestic and public spaces.
13. Setting up campaigns and programs to train law enforcement officers, healthcare professionals, social activists, and social workers to recognize and respond to elder abuse.
14. Responsibilities of family members and caregivers:
- Openly communicate with the elderly person and do not keep unrealistic expectations from him/her.
- Do not hamper the older person’s mental peace by making the household environment toxic.
- Be patient and accepting of older individual’s feelings and provide him/her with emotional support.
- Optimise physical health by maintaining a nutritious diet and hygienic environment and helping elders engaging in self-care activities.
- Regulate the mood of older adults by encouraging them to involve in positive coping strategies like maintaining an appropriate level of physical activities, pursuing hobbies like listening to music, writing or reading.
- Provide proper training and supervision to monitor the well-being of elder individuals.
Elder abuse is a crime and needs to be fought against with equal fervor by the law enforcers and by all of us. With awareness and prompt action, elder abuse too can be stopped.
More Information On Elder Abuse And Helplines
1. Eldercare Locator
2. National Center on Elder Abuse
3. National Adult Protective Services Association
4. National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 (toll-free, 24/7)
5. U.S. Department of Justice
1. Werner, C.A., “The Older Population: 2010,” 2010 Census Briefs (C2010BR-09), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau, November 2011, Retrieved April 10, 2013, from https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/ briefs/c2010br-09.pdf. 2. Nelson, T.D., “Ageism: Prejudice Against Our Feared Future Self,” Journal of Social Issues, 61 (2) (2005): 207–221; Penhale, B., and P. Kingston, “Social Perspectives on Elder Abuse, in Family Violence and the Caring Professions, eds., P. Kingston and B. Penhale, London: Macmillan, 1995: 222–244; Phelan, A., “Elder Abuse, Ageism, and Human Rights and Citizenship: Implications for Nursing Discourse,” Nursing Inquiry, 15 (4) (2008): 320–329.