It’s tough to be a senior citizen these days. As older adults slow down, the world continues to speed up. It can be challenging for them to keep pace.
There are governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping seniors. But they can’t reach everyone who would benefit from their intervention. It’s really up to the families and friends of older adults, and society as a whole, to lend them a hand.
In the 21st century, the village can no longer be solely focused on the raising of children. Our senior citizens need help and protection as well. Here are three ways we can all address the challenge and rights of seniors in an ever-changing world.
1. Guard Against Abuse and Neglect
People are living longer now. This creates a growing need for skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and senior living communities. Those who can’t afford to reside in such places but need help with their daily activities are living with family members.
Adults who were once independent find themselves at the mercy of others, and that mercy is not always kind. Caregivers can physically, emotionally, and sexually abuse seniors or neglect them in life-threatening ways.
Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, in particular, may be unable to communicate about their abuse and neglect. That is why it is so important that loved ones watch for signs, question everything, and shield them against further harm.
If your senior has suffered abuse or neglect, consult with a nursing home abuse attorney right away. A lawyer will know how to investigate a claim and ensure any incidents are reported to the proper authorities. Your legal counsel can help you remove your loved one from harm’s way and garner compensation for their damages.
Perhaps the greatest service an elder abuse lawyer can provide is allowing you to hold wrongdoers accountable. That will not only prevent your senior from experiencing further abuse. It may also save another older adult from suffering from the same treatment.
2. Protect Their Finances and Identity
There are a multitude of unscrupulous actors out there who won’t hesitate to steal from senior citizens. The vulnerability of their targets, coupled with increasingly sophisticated technology, makes it easy to do. You need to protect seniors from wolves in sheep’s clothing preparing to fleece them.
Most older adults have stopped actively earning income, so they’re relying on a lifetime’s worth of assets to get by. Retirement accounts and pensions, homes, stock dividends, and valuable possessions need to be safeguarded. Liability insurance is vital for those who own real property to shield them from claims. Checking, savings, and credit accounts also need monitoring.
It won’t just be nefarious scammers you need to watch out for. If your senior forgets to pay the mortgage or the credit card for a few months, creditors will take their assets. The cleaning person, the lawn mower, or the kid who delivers groceries may steal from them. And the lonelier your senior feels, the more susceptible to financial exploitation they may be.
Talk to your elderly loved ones about ways they can protect themselves, such as by executing proper powers of attorney. You can make certain they are keeping current with payments and monitor account activity. Suggest a visit to their attorney to ensure their wills and estate plans are up to date.
Although some seniors won’t appreciate what they view as an intrusion into their private matters, it’s an important conversation. If you aren’t the right person to lead it, perhaps an attorney can help you to help them protect themselves.
3. Teach Them to Use Current Technology
The one lesson learned during pandemic lockdowns was that technology could keep the world connected. Despite no longer being confined to their homes, children and young adults continue to eschew personal contact for screens. Some older adults are being left out entirely.
There are two reasons for this isolation. First, seniors may lack the financial resources to buy smartphones, laptops, and internet services. Second, even if they have the tools to stay connected, they might be befuddled by how they work.
In this day and age, even teens can be their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ tech specialists. People just need to take the time and make the effort to show older adults how to use technology to stay in touch. Setting up their devices for one-click connectivity to loved ones and to social media and other apps is all it takes.
The fact is, technology can be overwhelming to people who grew up without even remote controls for their television sets. If they never had to learn how to use a computer for a job, for example, it’s likely they’re intimidated by them. But these are also people who repaired their own cars back in the day. They’re perfectly capable of “getting it” with a little guidance.
If you’re wondering what to buy your seniors for the holidays, consider paying for a high-speed internet plan if they can’t afford it. Then spend some quality time showing them how to use technology without making them feel dumb. You can teach wise old dogs some helpful new tricks.
Being the Village
Senior citizens have protected others throughout their lives. Today’s society challenges everyone, but especially them. They may lack some of the resources they need to protect themselves, so it’s up to everyone else to be their villagers.