According to a researcher and psychologist named Dr. Paloma Gómez-Campelo, “Elderly people deserve the highest respect and quality healthcare because they helped build the society we currently enjoy.” And this should be the punchline when questioning how to treat the elderly with care and respect. These older adults were once youths and not ordinary youths because the modernity with enjoy is because of the effort they out during their youthful days.
The population of individuals above the age of 65 is likely to continue increasing in the coming years, which has given much weight to maintaining dignity and respect for the old. It is so unfortunate that people of contemporary society do not treat their seniors with the respect they deserve. Most elders have fallen victim to domestic abuse, humiliation, segregation, and denial of quality healthcare.
Table of Contents
How the elderly are treated in our society
Before jumping into how the elderly can be treated with respect and care, we ought to assess their current treatment. Our seniors are gradually being segregated and pushed to the margins of society despite their contributions to building our communities. Family members do not seem to care that the education and living standard they enjoy no is all because of the effort their seniors put in.
The elderly are regarded as a plague that should be kept in an asylum. Most families are so quick at taking their seniors to elderly homes and never follow up on their welfare. Don’t get me wrong! I am not against elderly homes. However, the decision to take a senior family member to an elderly home should be mutual. And as a family, you should pay regular visits to your senior one in the elderly home.
Older adults have nothing life-changing to long for, and this can might make them think of themselves as antique. Sadly those around them do nothing but make them feel like old furniture indeed. Respect is the only pillar that old people depend on to hold them firm, and depriving them of this is just like starting to dig their graves early. Older people deserve to be treated with care, their needs met, and given a special place in our lives to make them feel important.
How Is Life For The elderly Without respect
As mentioned earlier, most elderly people have nothing to look forward to, and when they are treated with disrespect, they no longer see the essence of life. Without Respect senior adults feel out of place and unappreciated. In some extreme cases, this could make such individuals despise life and develop suicidal thoughts.
The elderly and children are often abused by people close to them, and if society has no respect for the elderly, then when they are abused, they have no option but to suffer in silence. Most elderly citizens live a life of suffering and regret due to a lack of respectful treatment. What most people fail to see is that aging is inevitable, and what you do to a senior might also be done to you.
Five major Challenges for Elderly People in Our Society
1. Financial Insecurity
It is a good thing that life expectancy has increased in most parts of the globe; however, employment and retirement have not evolved equally. Some elderly citizens are willing and able to work despite being above the standard retirement age; unfortunately, there are no opportunities to accommodate them. Without a source of income, it becomes difficult for an elderly person to sustain their daily needs. Most financial operations are done online, leaving the elderly vulnerable to scammers and fraudsters.
As per WHO’s definition, ageism is how we think, feel and act towards others or oneself based on age. Our societies have different stereotypes about elderly people that contribute to their marginalization and segregation. How society thinks about older adults severely affects their psychological wellbeing and could lead them to lose their life purpose. For instance, when elderly citizens lose their job or are denied a job opportunity because of their age, yet they are well-capable of the job’s responsibilities, this adversely affects their self-esteem.
“What is the best way to treat the elderly,” you ask. We can improvise innovative measures that will involve the elderly in the community and help their self-esteem and a sense of identity.
3. Lack of Access to healthcare services
The elderly tend to require medical attention more frequently compared to the other age groups. Most of these older adults cannot afford healthcare services because they are unemployed and without health insurance coverage. Without access to quality healthcare services, most senior adults may have a petty health condition, but it gradually develops into a severe one.
4. Immobility and Difficulty with everyday tasks
With age, our stamina and agility gradually reduce. The decline of a person’s mobility makes completing everyday tasks more difficult. At this stage, an individual might have to depend on a caregiver or do it themselves but at the expense of being social and participating in other socio-activities that they would enjoy. The elderly people can be supported to live independently and thrive through the introduction of products and programs that uphold their balance, fitness, mobility, and safety.
5. Finding the right care provision
An age might come when complete independence is no longer an option, and older adults must require additional care. It is often better if family members provide this care. However, if this is not practical, as it strains the caregiver as they try balancing work and family responsibility hiring an outside professional caregiver is recommended. Finding a qualified and caring caregiver is often a challenge.
How do you treat the elderly with care and respect?
Below are ways how can we show respect to the elderly.
- Be a good listener
The elderly are like children in that they need some attention. The key thing that a caregiver or family member can do to avoid colliding with the elderly while caring for them is to listen to them carefully. As a person age, they develop physical and mental disabilities that gradually take away independence and control over their lives. This can make a person feel as though decisions about their needs and health are made without their input on the matter. Active listening and considering the concerns of elders gives them a measure of control over their lives which is an essential booster of their self-esteem and sense of dignity.
- Be sensitive
Older adults are aware of the changes happening to them, and they do not take it well when they see they are being looked down upon or mistreated because of their age. Showing sensitivity to their feelings is a great sign of respect and concern for their feelings. Family members and caregivers dealing with an elderly person should be mindful of what they say.
Whenever you feel as though you’re taking the wrong foot with an elderly, make amends early. Most seniors grew up in an era where good manners and courtesies were the norms. Therefore an elder will be happier and feel secure when those around are sensitive and attentive to common courtesies, such as asking for permission before touching their stuff or body.
Senior adults age after witnessing a variety of experiences and values that they feel are important to their lives. Being mindful and respectful of these values makes elders feel respected and appreciated for their own unique viewpoints.
- Relinquish Independence
Although elderly people might be experiencing physical problems and cognitive impairment that affects their mobility and processing of information, they should not be denied their independence. These elders appreciate it when they are assisted in maintaining their independence and staying in their own homes where they are more comfortable.
We are fortunate that the current society has improved living conditions that enable people to reach old age. Aging is a blessing, and we should be grateful for it; however, the elderly face many challenges that ought to be faced. Unfortunately, we have to wait until we get old ourselves to notice the struggle old people persevere. Respecting the elderly is something that starts with you and me.
As a nursing student, you will often be tasked with an assignment that wants you to research how to treat the elderly with care and respect. All you will be required to write is ‘how can we show respect to the elderly,’ The above article is great at getting you started.
An example of an elderly abuse essay:
Elder Abuse Sample Essay
Elder abuse is a deed committed by a caregiver that puts a vulnerable elder at serious risk of harm or denies the elder a basic need. Over the years, elder abuse has become rampant and recognized as a serious societal problem. The phenomenon (elder abuse) has widely varying and poorly constructed definitions, and this poses a barrier to improving people’s understanding of it (Pillemer et al., 2016). Determining the precise scope of elder abuse is difficult because often, it is under-reported due to ignorance and the absence of a nationwide uniform reporting system. Below are the seven types of elder abuse identified by the National Center of Elder Abuse:
Physical abuse: This is when a caregiver uses excessive physical force to the extent of causing a bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment on an elder.
Sexual abuse: Engaging an elder in any sexual activity without their consent. Elders are susceptible, and anyone can sexually take advantage of them. Some of the signs that might show an elder is abused sexually are bleeding from the genitals, bloody undergarments, and new sexually transmitted diseases.
Emotional abuse: This form of abuse is done by Inflicting pain, anguish, or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts on an elderly individual. Victims of emotional abuse often appear depressed, disturbed, and attempt to hurt others.
Financial/material exploitation: entails improper use of an elder’s property, assets, or funds. This is a common abuse, and it often goes unnoticed as adult children taking over aging parents’ finances is normal and assumed to be a family matter (Falk et al., 2012). However, sometimes the finances or property is mismanaged, and the elderly adults have no one to heed their pain.
Neglect: This occurs when a caregiver does not meet an elder’s need leaving them exposed to risks and harm. Elder neglect is also characterized by inadequate hygiene upkeep, clothing, and medical care.
Abandonment: This is when an elder’s caregiver deserts them. A practical example of this abuse is a caretaker leaving an elder at a care facility without any formal arrangement on how the elder’s needs will be met.
Self-neglect: This is when the behaviors of an elder individual pose a threat to their health or safety.
The topic of Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide is controversial as some people find it immoral and unethical. Supporters of this notion conclude the deeds (Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide) are immoral because life is sacred, and no one has the right to take it. But this attitude fails to consider the reasons that lead to Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide. I find this opinionated and do not value the quality and content of life. Some patients have conditions that their pain cannot be reduced or controlled, which can be unbearable (Banović et al., 2017). This is enough reason to abide by a patient’s wish for assisted suicide. Patients know best what they are going through and their interests and should be above any legislation. In any ethical dilemma, I would always respect the patient, which constitutes respecting their wishes, interests, and wellbeing.