Today, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. How can you celebrate?
1. Visit with an elderly friend, family member or neighbor. Seniors who are isolated are more likely to be taken advantage of due to confusion, fear, poor health or loneliness. Gain this person's trust through regular contact. Listen closely. If something doesn't sound right, or you see unexplained injuries, take action!
2. Check up on elderly friends and relatives who live in nursing homes or other institutions. Observe how the staff responds to and treats him or her. If possible, look under the blanket for signs of pressure ulcers or bruises. Develop a friendly rapport with staff members; they may reward your relative with extra attention. If you are concerned about treatment of the elder, ask to speak with management personnel.
3. Acquaint the elder with the many kinds of scams targeting the elderly. Reinforce that he or she should never give out financial or personal information to phone callers or strangers who knock on the door. Remind her that before signing up for any home improvement service, she should check credentials and get several references. And offer your help and feedback if she has doubts about any solicitation or contact.
4. Ask how he's doing. Offer a short car trip, a breakfast at his favorite restaurant, or to balance his checkbook. If you see anything unusual in the check register, ask about it.
A little kindness goes a long way. We will be old ourselves before we know it. Model caring behavior towards our elders to your children. And remember the Golden Rule.
Now go out and celebrate.