Awareness of Elder Abuse: What can be Done?
Elder abuse is an issue that many keep silent about, including its victims. Since this issue is one that has been on the rise but is hidden from the public, awareness is essential so victims and their families know their rights and where to find help. Raise awareness on this important topic in your community and help prevent elder abuse.
Outreach in your community regarding the issue of elder abuse can take several different forms. The National Center on Elder Abuse provides outreach materials that can be printed and handed out to businesses, community senior centers, cultural centers, senior living facilities, nursing homes, restaurants, churches and supermarkets to name a few. This website also provides an “Awareness Kit” to help those who want to speak about this issue to local churches and community gatherings, such as the local KIWANIS, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Outreach can be an effective way to reach out to hidden victims, faith-based groups, caregivers, geriatric professionals, and families. By going out into your community, you can help raise awareness about elder abuse, the signs of abuse, what should be done about this issue and the resources that are available.
Join a Task Force
Joining a task force or special concerns group can provide strength in numbers since all the members are driven by the same cause. If you are not aware of a task force or group in your area whose aim is to raise awareness about elder abuse, contact the AARP or the National Center on Elder Abuse to see if there’s one near you. If not, form one on your own.
Raise Awareness Online
If you have already joined a task force and are heavily involved in community outreach, consider creating a website, blog or an online group surrounding the topic of elder abuse to take your awareness efforts one step further. The website or online group can connect visitors to local and national elder abuse resources, allow access to printable materials, provide tips on how others can help, list signs of abuse and let people know what should be done if abuse is suspected.
If possible, include a forum on your site where questions can be asked and support given in a non-intimidating environment. Invite a professional, such as a doctor or social worker, familiar with the issues surrounding elder abuse to contribute the forum and different areas of the site.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.