How can you help an elderly person who is being abused?

A practical list of Do's in the scenario of Elder abuse.

Aaheli Dasgupta

Abuse is a very complicated phenomenon, multitude of things may constitute abuse (Read here). However what does you do after you have identified that someone you know is in an abuse situation? What do you do when the abuser is a family member on whom the elderly person may be financially dependent? The elderly person may not want to shame them and therefore may refuse help. There are some steps you can take to help them.

  • If the abuse is life threatening then one of the options would be call an elderly helpline or help the person contact other family members who may be willing to take them in.

  • Try and be a confidant to the elderly. Often the elderly do not have somebody to share their worries and feelings with. By encouraging to communicate you are not only emotionally supporting them but also empowering them to speak up for themselves.

  • Sometimes there is lack of awareness on the part of the caregiver and they often do not realize the kind of support and understanding an ageing person may require. Educating the caregiver might act as a deterrent to any potential neglect and miscommunication that may crop up.

  • In certain cases recommending family therapy becomes crucial in helping the family work on some communication problems (most cases of emotional abuse could be attributed to faulty communication patterns and the child being brought up by the elderly in a certain way).

  • Helping the elderly by finding support groups of people who  have gone through similar experiences can be of great resource often.

If you suspect that an elderly person is being abused reach out to the elders helpline by the Nightingales medical trust at 1090 or the Helpage India helpline at 1800-180-1253