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Empowering Seniors - Elder Abuse Awareness

Posted on 10 October, 2016 at 17:40

As a professional who regularly works with seniors in the privacy of their home I believe it is my responsibility to be able to “See it”. The first step of course is being able to recognize the warning signs of abuse. This is exactly where this initiative starts….at the very beginning helping identity those signs.

Having grown up in a small town where I knew and trusted everyone I use to describe myself as naïve. But, I have learned that senior abuse is real and it is out there and we must acknowledge it. Speaking about it, educating ourselves about it, is a great foundation for the necessary change. As a society, we can’t change what we do not acknowledge. Some of the statistics I am aware, of as well as some of the stories I have encountered speak volumes to the need for awareness. This is why initiatives like “Empowering Seniors to Create Safer Communities” are so important. This program will bring the issue out into the community and not only create awareness but provide a safe environment for seniors to go when they need help.

I personally develop very strong personal relationships with my clients, many of whom are older adults, and they often share with me stories of ageism and feelings of neglect. I have unfortunately also come across situations of financial abuse by close family members. My clients tell me that their families are too busy to help them, that their children live too far away to help, or they feel alone in life now with the passing of their closest family members. These circumstances lead to seniors depending on paid professionals for the extra help they need.

When it comes to abuse, particularly the most common, financial, we must be aware of the professionals and the family members who are involved in an older adult’s life. During a major life transition such as a move many professionals may come into a senior’s life at one time. This single event can bring a dozen new faces into their world. Imagine all of a sudden there is a deluge of strangers who are getting your home ready to sell, packing, and moving your belongings to a new home. Anyone can become overwhelmed in this situation and may be putting themselves at risk to financial and emotional abuse. This may be particularly true if the older adult is grieving the loss of a loved one.

Finding the best professionals of integrity in every field can be a complex feat. We all have heard stories of individuals who will take advantage of seniors. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have a current police check, a vulnerable sector check and current referrals. A trusted advisor is a great place to start when looking to connect with the right support professional. A trusted advisor should be someone who is credible, and has a relationship with the person being referred, so they are able to vouch for their honesty and respectfulness towards older adults

Working together as neighbours, family, friends and professionals we can raise awareness of elder abuse and provide the education to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect with the end goal of a safer community for all.

 

Categories: Seniors and Stuff

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