COVID-19 has revealed a lot of nasty things about us, both as individuals and as a society. But one of the saddest things that we’ve seen recently is the uptick in the number of abuse cases that have been reported around the country, especially when it comes to senior citizens.
Now, there’s no way to sugarcoat this. Abuse is a terrible thing. The people that have had to live through this type of treatment come out scarred, scared, and untrusting. It’s horrible to see someone that is already in need being taken advantage of. It’s horrible to hear about it. And it’s an atrocity to have it happen to someone that you love. But unfortunately, it’s a reality for thousands of people right now.
The only silver lining to this spotlight is that it has increased the awareness of this issue. It has brought attention to issues that have long plagued poorly run and under-supervised nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Because this is receiving more attention than ever before, the odds of effective steps being taken to help combat the problem on a wider scale are more likely. It’s a tragedy that this has occurred, but it could be the event that leads to better punitive action and better prevention.
By shoving this ugly thing out into the open, we’re taking steps to correct it. It’s not easy, but it’s an opportunity for each one of us to improve. We need to take a step back and look at how we treat the older people in our lives. We need to look for opportunities for improvement and we need to ensure that we are moving forward in terms of safety. There have been a lot of cases of abuse that have come to light simply because the caregivers providing supervision for elderly folk weren’t properly trained. This is inexcusable. Being a caregiver, whether you’re a professional or a volunteer, entails a lot of responsibility. It’s not a job that should be accepted lightly, and the people in these positions should be encouraged and empowered to keep receiving training so that they can grow in their ability to serve others.
This is one reason why each of our caregivers receive thorough, ongoing training.
No matter how you look at it, elder abuse is a terrible thing. It involves people that are in a position of authority or trust and allows them to use their power to hurt, abuse, or steal from someone in a vulnerable position. This is something that should be stopped, but that involves us educating ourselves about just what abuse is, how it can occur, and then to use that information to be more observant, careful, and caring for those around us. It requires us to be vigilant, proactive, and persistent. This was a problem before COVID-19, and it will likely exist long after COVID-19 is a distant memory.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t do something about it. We can have a big influence over the people around us and take great measures to help increase safety and prevent things like this from ever happening.