Friday, October 7, 2011

Seniors need Safe Havens from Elder Abuse.

Mike King, the national president and CEO of Volunteers of America wrote an important advocacy article that was published in the Huffington Post on October 4, concerning the need for Safe Havens for Elderly Americans.

King wrote about the recognized growth in the scourge of elder abuse within our culture and the fact that seniors who are stuck within an abusive family relationship need a safe haven to protect them and give them an opportunity to become free from abuse.

King wrote about his recent experience in Sacramento where a new Senior Safe Haven has been established. He states:
On a recent trip to Sacramento, I was introduced first-hand to the rising need among the frail elderly to have access to safe places where they can escape abusive situations. Leo McFarland, Volunteers of America's chief executive in the region, showed me their new Senior Safe House -- a residential home providing shelter and support for abused seniors who previously had been showing up at homeless shelters.
King introduces us to Beverly, a retired army nurse, who was abused by her daughter. He states:
as shocking as these stories is the fact that the Sacramento Senior Safe House is one of only a handful of places nationwide established specifically to help older people escaping abusive situations.
King then tells the readers about the problem of elder abuse.
While we all would agree that elder abuse is dreadful and should be stopped, we have failed to dedicate the necessary resources to actually combat it in an effective way. In March 2010, Congress passed the first comprehensive federal elder abuse prevention law. This was an important victory for those of us advocating on behalf of seniors, but more than a year later, the law is now pointless because no money has been dedicated to enforce it.

To this day, elder abuse remains the only form of family violence for which the federal government provides virtually no resources. What resources are dedicated come from cash-strapped cities and states. Abused dogs and cats in our society receive more attention and money.

By many measures, elder abuse in this country is getting worse. According to a recent National Institute of Justice study, almost 11 percent of people ages 60 and older (5.7 million Americans) faced some sort of elder abuse in the past year. A 2009 study estimated that 14.1 percent of non-institutionalized older adults nationwide had experienced some form of abuse in the previous year. A 2009 report by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse estimates that seniors lose a minimum of $2.5 billion each year from financial exploitation.
King then explains how the growing demographic of elderly citizens will effect the care and attitude towards seniors. King writes:
Today's elderly also come some a generation that values quiet dignity and would rather "remain calm and carry on" than complain. Because of this, many victims of abuse suffer in silence rather than seek help. Since they're not complaining -- and because our society over the past generation has adopted an out of sight, out of mind mentality toward care for the elderly -- this problem doesn't register in the minds of most people. It certainly wasn't on my radar until recently.

We need places like the Sacramento Senior Safe House in every community in the United States." ...

The number of seniors in abusive, and even life-threatening, situations will only get worse as our population ages. The time is now to build the infrastructure to support their needs and provide a safe place for them to call home.
I share the concerns of King and I agree that seniors, and other vulnerable people need "Safe Havens" and other types of societal protections. I also recognize how societal attitudes that lead to the scourge of elder abuse will also, if legalized, lead to people being killed by euthanasia or assisted suicide, under the guise of "choice".

When mom is being constantly told that she is a burden, or that her death could not come soon enough, or that she should end the "suffering" that she calls life, then the supposed "choice" or euthanasia or assisted suicide becomes the social obligation that is being imposed on her.

The practical reality for many is that choice is an illusion once euthanasia and assisted suicide becomes a common practice.

Protect our seniors, oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.


Cat Ray said...
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No Immunity said...

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