I don’t know about you but hearing about the elderly being abused makes me mad. Yesterday on my home television station there was a terrible story about a elderly woman who was allegedly abused by her own son.
She was left on her couch allegedly for approximately three weeks without medical help. She was so weak from lack of food and fluids that she could not even get up off of her couch. Her home was so filthy with her own waste that the emergency workers and police who checked on her, became violently ill in the front yard of the home. It sounds as if the woman’s social security checks were being cashed regularily though. The news reports say that the woman allegedly did not have a shower/bath for up to one year!
The poor woman has had to have surgery…her home was in such disrepair that it was condemned by the authorities. Where in the world has respect for life gone? This is a failure of our culture to fail to make sure that all of our older friends and relatives are nurtured, cherished and protected. Sometimes, the elderly deal with memory issues or mental illness; this is an especially important circumstance to get social workers and medical personel involved with, especially if they don’t have a close supportive family system in place. It would be bad enough if this was an isolated case in our country; but, it is not.
Everyday the elderly are abused and neglected in their homes, in medical facilities, in nursing homes and on the streets. It is an outrage. Yes, the elderly require time and attention. Yes, it can be difficult for the caregiver; as they are loosing their independence and ability to do many of life’s chores on their own and often they resent that fact; however, it is important to take loving care of our elders. Time is short and spending time with your loved ones is special. You can never get that time back with them once they are gone. The difficult and challenging times will pass. The elders in your community have many memories and experiences to share; take advantage of that time with them to store up knowledge and memories.
Just showing some caring and concern for the elders can make a difference in the quality of life for them. Offer to do a kindness for them such as pick up their mail for them; or walk their dog…take them to medical appointments, or grocery shopping. Some tasks are too difficult for an elderly person who is unsteady or has medical issues; like, going up and down stairs to do laundry or shoveling their walkways or raking leaves.
We all will be elderly one day if we are blessed to live long enough. Please, check up on your elderly neighbors, your parents, your friends; visit with them and help to relieve their loneliness. If you see someone abusing or neglecting an older person (or any person for that matter) get involved…call the authorities! You never know…you could be saving a life. If you suspect elder abuse report it: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/ncearoot/Main_Site/index.aspx