Socio-economic status is, quite obviously, not protection from elder abuse.
Our social fabric is seeing the impact of the Baby Boomers on our economy, our healthcare and sadly, the incidents of the inexcusable abuse of these individuals, as they enter their “golden” years.
Society is judged by its treatment of its most vulnerable and as a society, we are failing.
There are so many facets to the problems of dealing with an aging population but there is one thing, that we can all offer, and it costs us nothing but grants so many rewards. Time.
- Time as a gift to a family caregiver; allowing them to take a day, a night or if possible, a weekend away from the responsibility of caring for an elder relative.
- Time spent at the care facility, if the relative has been placed in such an environment.
- Time spent talking to doctors/nurses/aides in charge of the elder’s care.
- Time spent talking with the elder relative or friend; listening to their concerns.
- Time spent watching the interaction between staff and your relative/friend.
- Time spent by taking the relative/friend out for a walk, even if it just around a facility’s grounds.
- Time spent discussing medical care with doctors/nurses and aides, ensuring that our elder relative/friend understands their treatment and options.
- Time spent preparing a special meal or a morning coffee/tea to share.
- Time spent ensuring that all our relative/friend’s financial dealings are above board.
- Time spent to stave off loneliness, ensuring our relative or friend knows that he/she has not been forgotten.
Following the passing of my father; it became clear that living alone, in the family home was not in my mother’s best interest. Mom, my husband and myself decided that the best option was for her to move in with us. My husband and my sons constructed an in-law suite for her, complete with her own kitchenette, a separate bedroom and bath/laundry room. She would have her privacy and we would have ours. In all honesty, it also provided me with a way to ensure she was taking her medications/eating properly.
This was a huge adjustment for all of us but, I will never regret the decision. I was able to be there for my mother, as she was for me and believe me..I was not the easiest child with whom to deal. My memories of the 3 years Mom lived with us, are wonderful, coming home from work and seeing her. Sharing our ups and downs; trying to help her with the monumental grief of losing my Dad, they had been married for 60 years when he passed away.
Caring for an elder relative/friend, allowing them to feel needed, loved doesn’t take much. Just some of your time. It really is such a small thing but means so much. Time can help to prevent abuse, depression and loneliness. Time will create memories that we can hold in our hearts, long after we have to say good-bye to our loved one. Time costs us nothing to give but the pay back in priceless.