Elder abuse can deteriorate self-confidence and threaten life expectancy. While your awareness may play an integral role in recognizing and preventing mistreatment, you can also empower your aging loved ones to advocate for their health.
Education and awareness can play a significant role in aiding your elderly family members in standing up for their human rights.
Awareness of abuse
One reason why an elderly family member may refrain from reporting abuse is that he or she is not even fully aware of what constitutes abuse. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institute on Aging, abuse can take on many forms including physical, financial, sexual and psychological.
Your effort to educate your loved one about what abuse looks like can encourage a timely response should mistreatment ever happen. Remind your family member that abuse can be more than physical pain. It can also include abandonment, manipulation, threats, isolation, property damage and stealing.
Power of connection
Another way you can encourage your aging family members to protect themselves is with the use of social connections. Meaningful relationships and active social life may effectively lower opportunities for abuse to occur. Encourage your family member to participate in community events and family gatherings.
The power of connection may also encourage your family member to talk to someone if an abusive situation happens. Knowing there are trustworthy individuals who care may increase the chances of your family member disclosing concerns before it is too late.
When your aging loved ones understand what abuse looks like and they have meaningful connections with people who care about them, they can more effectively advocate for their health.