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In the June/July 2014 issue of our eNewsletter, we explore the impact that elder abuse has on concerned family, friends, and neighbors who love and help abuse victims. Three compelling narratives detail the experiences of friends and loved ones who try to help those being abused. As NYCEAC Executive Director Risa Breckman explains, abuse situations “can cause significant, on-going distress for the caring, empathic people in an older victim’s circle.” Understanding the needs of these caring people in the lives of elder abuse victims – and providing them with needed information and support – is critical to ensuring they are not isolated in their helping efforts.
Reflections from a Family Member
In this narrative, a loving niece describes her experiences caring for her Aunt Bev, who was victimized by other family members and a close family friend. Each of these experiences caused great strain for the niece not only due to the distress of knowing a loved one was being harmed, but also in dealing with the multiple systems involved and the alienation that was caused within her family due to her protection of her aunt. This case clearly highlights the challenges of caring for a loved one who has been abused, particularly the added burden of social isolation and stress caused by speaking up and out against other family members and loved ones.
Reflections from a Friend
This narrative documents the struggles that a friend faced in protecting his older friend from her son’s manipulation and exploitation. His efforts to protect his friend while at the same time trying to document as much as possible and maintain his employment caused a great physical and emotional strain.
Reflections from a Neighbor
This narrative documents a neighbor’s involvement with Miss D who was being financially abused by her son. The neighbor intervened by calling Adult Protective Services, comforting Ms. D during hospital admissions, testifying in the guardianship hearing and helping her adjust to her newer, safer housing. The neighbor reflects on her “loneliness and powerlessness as a neighbor” as well as the myriad of other emotions that she experienced while helping to care for Miss D.
As each case highlights, we need more support and acknowledgement for individuals who love and care for victims of elder abuse. A number of suggestions are offered for improving the support for friends, caregivers, families, and non-abusing loved ones. Concerned and caring loved ones are great resources and have specialized needs. It is important for every service provider working with older adults and interacting with them to make sure they receive the information and support they need.
Also in this issue:
Elder justice leaders and NYCEAC Steering Committee members Evelyn Laureano, Director of Neighborhood Self Help by Older Persons Project (SHOPP) and Elizabeth Loewy, Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, were spotlighted in this issue.
We welcome your feedback and hope this eNewsletter issue helps to further the dialogue on the impact of elder abuse on the non-abusing loved ones of victims in your professional and personal communities!
by Elizabeth Bloemen, MPH, NYCEAC Social Media Associate
by Alexandra Pearson, MA
NYCEAC, Communication Specialist
– See more at: http://nyceac.com/elder-justice-dispatch-nyceac-takes-an-in-depth-look-at-mental-health-and-elder-abuse-issues/#sthash.Umxrnd1n.dpuf