Combatting Elder Abuse: It’s About Dignity

" "This Saturday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), when people all over the world voice support for the rights and dignity of elders and opposition to the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

WEAAD is part of a global movement for “elder justice” that asserts the fundamental dignity and equality of older adults. Elder justice requires us to develop systems, approaches, and programs that prevent abuse, protect people from abusive situations, and support those members of our community who have experienced abuse to help them recover.

Abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation are not the inevitable consequences of growing old. We all have a role to play in changing how we talk about elder abuse in this country and around the world. Respecting the dignity and rights of people of all ages is a core American value, and a principle built into many American laws. For example:

  • The Elder Justice Act established programs and initiatives to strengthen the federal response to elder abuse, promote elder justice research, and support state Adult Protective Services (APS) systems. If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, contact your local APS office.
  • The Older Americans Act (OAA) created programs and services that help older adults stay healthy and engaged in our communities. You can connect to nutrition, caregiver support, legal assistance, and other OAA programs through Eldercare Locator or by calling 800-677-1116.
  • The Nursing Home Reform Act established a “Resident’s Bill of Rights” for people in most long-term care facilities. It includes the right to privacy, to participate in all aspects of care, to complain without retribution, and to visits from friends and medical providers. If you believe your rights, or the rights of a loved one in a long-term care facility, are being violated, contact your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the civil rights of people with disabilities of all ages and helps make our communities more accessible and age-friendly. State Protection and Advocacy agencies inform and empower people with disabilities by investigating suspected abuse and neglect, and providing free legal representation and support for clients.

Our society is like a building.  Just as buildings need strong supports and secure beams to remain strong, our society needs solid “social” beams so that we can all participate fully in our communities, living free from abuse as we age. As we commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I hope you will join me in lifting up the voices of survivors, and taking action, such as engaging with the older people in your life, empowering members of your community with information, involving students and young people, or by speaking out.


39 thoughts on “Combatting Elder Abuse: It’s About Dignity

  1. My thoughts on Elderal Abuse. Was a Registered Nurse and Geriatric Nurse Practioner for 50+ years
    before retiring age age 70 yrs old. I have seen
    much Elder Abuse in my career in Acute Care Hospitals, community, even siblings on each side of their alert and very aware Mother’s money. I personally told them to leave and no visitation rights without supervision of “ Mother’s right for
    Dignity “. There are many Elderly Abuses being allowed by the USA! I discovered 3 weeks ago..
    after being directed by the Medicare HMO I pay
    $200.00 a month.. to change to a ( new) in June 2019 preferred Pharmacy. . One of my medications
    looked totally different.. Shape/ color etc. Bottle saie yellow.. was white oval pill. Called the new
    Pharmacist.. he researched the (fillers added by the pharmaceutical company of the brand .. the
    pharmacy has in stock) Gluten and Dairy!!!
    Manufacturers have no regulations/ oversight/ nor
    requirements to list the fillers ingredients!!! I have
    Systemic autoimmunity Disorders /Disease. After 3
    pills of this different Generic medication.. I am very ill with the worst Inflammatory Flair up crisis have had in 5 yrs! Have been Gluten frree for 10 yrs/
    Dairy free for 5 years. Geriatrics are not the only people who have severe reactions to Gluten and Dairy! So this is not only Ederley Abuse; Abuse to
    all people with severe reactions to hidden substances to innocent trusting people who do not know the Pharmaceutical ( prescriptions) are making them sicker! I do not have much confidence this message will be read nor anything will be done about the Phamaiceuical Industry that is in control of the Government. But I am convinced will not be putting anymore poisoness
    Pharmaceutical products into my body.. Have a determination to live a bit longer to experience the Joys of my Beautiful Children and Grandchildren!
    Reba A Ridgeway

  2. Under the Older Americans Act of 1965 the nursing home Ombudsmen program was created as was the rights of nursing home residents. These and other programs that helped elderly across the nation were closed by the administrations starting in the 90’s.

  3. My partner and I have been in, North Port since 10-18, due to the death of a relitive.
    We are both on Social security, & find it hard, to make ends meet.
    I have reached out to, every, local, county, state, government, & private organizations, (that I have knowledge of), for any type of resource, that might be able to help us, get back on our feet, after several,(unfortunant)
    events,(for the most part), happened because we were, either victims, scammed,
    or some other event, that was illegal!
    We don’t have a vehicle, & my spouse can’t walk.
    We use a cab, when we have to go somewhere, & alot of times, we just can’t afford to do things!
    When we call,& try to reach out for help, they say,” all we can do is provide #’s, we can’t physically do anything?
    Right now, our air conditioning quit working,
    along with the Ice maker in our refrigerator.
    We can’t afford to repair them.?
    When I try to reach out for help, no one can do anything.

    • Hi, Peter. We are sorry to hear about your situation. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

  4. this problem has been on going for far to long when I reached 75 yrs I see it more and most people could care less about us I tend to see first hand not only in my family but others what needs to happen is more people needs to be punished for their actions .

  5. What if elder abuse is perpetrated by your neighbor. . .B&E. Burglary, food . . .beverage. . .other items stolen. . . you name it. . .constant violation of personal privacy, civil rights, property rights. . .attaching/hacking into/droning your property/utilities e.g., I have Consumer Energy meter tags and high electric/gas bills as evidence. And because you are old and black. . .nothing is done when police are call. . .instead you are labeled “delusional.” It is no delusion when your food other goods disappear out of your home. As soon as you are out. . .someone is in. Please get them to stop. . .that is all I ask. . .I want my house back so that I can clean it back up, and sit and relax while school is out (yes, I still get out and guest teach) rated very highly by schools. . .sleep at night unencumbered.

  6. My wife and myself are abuse victims of a twelve year old adopted girl. No therapy or behavioral hospital programs have worked. We are threatened and verbally cursed out regularly. She refuses to take medication that has been prescribed. We have notified our local police and SSAS but to no avail. Please, any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Hello! I am 61 years old and live in rural county since August 2017. Relatives invited me out to live and try to find work. I moved out here also because it seems to be better for my health. Almost from the beginning my personal items began to get stolen. It started out with little things, toilet paper, tooth paste, body wash swapped out for inferior brands, but soon escalated to my clothing, and medication. I know it is my relatives. I moved, did not tell them where i was moving but I received a text message from one of them and foolishly I answered it. 12 hours later, my belongings began to get stolen again. It was then I realized that the locations settings on my phone and computer act as a tracking device, this is how they found me. I turned off the location settings and moved again. Three weeks later, I was again being robbed.
    since moving here I have had to buy 8 different wardrobes because they eventually steal all my clothes. These are two young women in their 30’s. I approached their parents who immediately started treating me as if I was the problem. I know the mother, who is my niece, has not discouraged them, and has on at least a few occasions encouraged them to steal from me. The police are corrupt, and so are most people who live here. In fact, methamphetamine is a huge problem here.
    At night, they break into my house while I am asleep and steel my inhaler, they actually swap it out for one that is empty or very near to being so; they steal my prednisone which I take for extreme asthma attacks; my toiletries, such as tooth paste, toilet paper, dish washing liquid, etc. The wort thing is they will destroy my furniture, either by cutting it up in increments or buying something else and swapping it out for what I have. I can send you pictures of what I mean.
    My question is, what can I do in this situation? I have just gotten a promotion on my job, so moving out of the state is not really an option.
    I will be moving again and am thinking baout getting a weapon to protect myself.

  8. Too bad it seems contradictory based on the abusive online experience of enrolling for seniors. They get blamed for bad programming if an error occurs and then even though they correctly answer security questions and set the account up, they are told to go in to prove all over again. It’s abusive to keep a person waiting 2 months and longer to find out details.The trauma of being told they’re not getting their card and being told they didn’t apply when in fact the site says so is very abusive, just knowing that as a senior one has to live without healthcare all because of the mistakes that ssa makes. And seniors can’t help but wonder, this is only the beginning. What will it be like under Medicare. Well they still haven’t fixed the error so yes I am among those who has to live without Medicare unless some kind hearted director tells them to go easy on seniors and process that enrollment in a humane way.

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