Elvia Walkingstick: Elder abuse is too common in Indian Country

"When one attempts to go into the topic of elder abuse, it’s something that isn’t easy to talk about, period, so it makes it even harder to address within the community. But, it is most definitely an issue, as hard as it is to face, that needs to be dealt with because The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that “one to two million Americans 65 years and older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection”.

Frankly, one is too many.

Elder abuse is a broad spectrum as well. It includes the obvious physical, mental, and sexual violations against our elders, but it also encompasses so much more that people have often chosen to sweep under the rug. Not providing necessary hospice and/or medical care and support when needed is abuse. When an elder has food, water, clothing, personal hygiene needs, medicine, and/or shelter refused or just not given to them, it is abuse. When responsible for being present for an elder, failure to show up is abuse. Using coercion and trickery to obtain money from an elder is abuse. Exploiting conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney is abuse. Convincing an elder to purchase items they don’t need/want, like a magazine subscription, is abuse. “Visiting” and either taking elder’s money and resources or leaving when they’ve ran out is abuse. Dropping young children off with elders who lack the strength and/or means to provide care is abuse. The taking and selling of elders valuables, including cultural items, is abuse."

Get the Story:
Elvia Walkingstick: Elders are the gems of a culture, do not abuse them (The Cherokee One Feather 6/15)

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