by Risa Breckman, LCSW, Executive Director, NYC Elder Abuse Center
A child’s 1st birthday is a time for doting family members to marvel at and reflect on the child’s remarkable growth and development over those formative first 12 months.
Oddly, so it is for blogging. Before NYCEAC’s staff took the blogging plunge, I would not have understood how many small yet significant achievements could occur during one full year of blogging. But I do now. Here are just a few reflections on what I’ve learned this year:
Powerful blogs, kicked out on a timely, regularly scheduled basis, takes considerable thought, commitment and determination. NYCEAC’s social media team meets twice monthly to select topics, develop content angles, assign stories, analyze engagement metrics, choose images, problem-solve technical issues and more. Each blog is lovingly nurtured from topic selection through completion by Cara Kenien, NYCEAC’s Social Media Manager. So thank you, Cara!
Engagement is key. We strive for each blog to be highly relevant, interesting and informative so readers will contemplate and engage. We hope this engagement results in action: commenting on our blogs, sparking an in-person discussion with others, sharing blogs with colleagues, developing a program, improving a service, taking an action in pursuit of elder justice – or even blogging!
Our blogs reflect NYCEAC’s organizational thinking about elder justice. A review of the themes and titles of our 62 blogs posted during the past year illuminates NYCEAC’s current thinking on emerging elder justice issues, effective programs and current events – and also reflects on our commitment to informing and engaging our readers through meaningful content.
We’ve pulled together 10 of our blogs and podcasts produced during our first year. (Yes, some of our blogs are also podcasts!) This “round up” provides a sampling of the range of topics our blog explores, and showcases the perspectives of some of our interesting and talented authors. Scroll through the blogs below to revisit old favorites or find something new!
Elder Abuse in Pop Culture
In the blog post, Realistic Depictions of Elder Abuse in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, we explore representations of elder abuse in this Academy Award winning film. This film depicts family dynamics when older adults are compelled to care for a child with mental illness.
Unfortunately, these situations can and sometimes do turn abusive. While older parents are acting out of love and a sense of familial duty, they may not have the emotional, financial or physical resources to deal with someone with severe mental illness who is also demonstrating unpredictable and abusive behavior.
Case Studies Shed Light on Elder Justice Challenges and Solutions
The blog, A Profound Elder Abuse Case Study from the American Society on Aging, presents a poignant personal story illustrating the complexity of elder abuse cases, the challenges for responding effectively, and highlighting the critical need for a coordinated response. Recommendations for making systematic improvements are offered.
NYCEAC Elder Justice Podcast Series Interviews with Ageless Alliance & Ashton Applewhite
Our blogs also highlight podcasts from the NYCEAC’s Podcast Series, accessible on iTunes. The podcasts feature interviews with elder justice professionals from a wide range of disciplines, with the goal of providing interesting and helpful information about policy, practice, research and education. We’ve included two recent podcasts below.
NYCEAC’s podcast, Exclusive Look at Ageless Alliance: A National Elder Justice Movement, is an interview with Mary Twomey and Kevin Trout about their work with Ageless Alliance, a campaign centered around empowering people of all ages to take action to eliminate elder abuse. The Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect and Ageless Alliance are both initiatives of the University of California, Irvine.
We are also delighted to bring you A Conversation with Ashton Applewhite on Ageism & Elder Justice, an interview with writer, speaker, and activist Ashton Applewhite. Through her work, Ashton strives to raise awareness of ageism and inspire people to reconsider negative stereotypes of aging. This is crucial to the elder justice movement because ageist attitudes prevent the proper detection, assessment and response to elder abuse cases.
Understanding Elder Abuse and Elder Justice
What is meant by the terms elder abuse and elder justice? In this blog, Elder Justice and Elder Abuse: Two Sides of One Coin, NYCEAC defines these terms and explores their relationship to each other.
Covering Elder Abuse in the News
There are a growing number of news stories about elder abuse situations, which is a positive trend. But frequently, individual cases of abuse are reported as if they are isolated events.
In so doing, elder abuse as an epidemic remains unacknowledged, as does the elder justice movement. NYCEAC’s blog post, Recent News Reports of Elder Abuse Overlook Epidemic, features three examples of elder abuse stories recently printed in elite newspapers, identifies the types of elder abuse present in each one and explores why it is important for the media to discuss elder abuse cases within the context of an elder abuse epidemic.
Expanding the Elder Justice Movement
The field of aging faces a severe workforce shortage. In order to involve younger adults in aging and the elder justice movement, we need to engage them in conversation about the value of older adults so they will want to actively care about the welfare of the elderly.
We then need to discuss the complexities of elder abuse, help foster a sense of belonging to a movement, and provide a structure for them to take action. The blog, Countering Ageism to Expand the Elder Justice Movement, describes NYCEAC’s efforts to grow the elder justice movement and the importance of actively working to bring new voices to the field.
Social Action through Social Media
A recent case study on elder financial exploitation posted by a member of LinkedIn’s Elder Care Professionals group sparked a lively conversation. The blog, Elder Financial Abuse Discussion Explodes in LinkedIn Group, begins with an overview of the online discussion and concludes with a list of abuse warning signs.
Follow the NYC Elder Abuse Center on LinkedIn! We’re actively contributing to robust discussions in several aging-related groups and often feature highlights from this digital engagement on the Elder Justice Dispatch Blog.
Encouraging Healthy Sexuality through Increased Awareness and Conversation
Sexuality in later life is a topic rarely discussed between doctors and patients and is a topic largely ignored by the media. The blog post, Why Is it Important for Elder Justice Professionals to Talk About Sex with Older Clients? discusses the need for health care providers to discuss sexuality with older clients and summarizes a recent compelling article on the topic of sexuality, sexual assault, sexual rights and ageism.
Undue Influence: An Insidious Form of Elder Abuse is an insightful and thought-provoking piece providing a conceptual framework for understanding undue influence. The blog persuasively presents the need for further exploration of this poorly understood tactic utilized by abusers to maintain power and control.
This selection of blogs was first published in our July/August 2013 eNewsletter. To view the complete eNewsletter, please click here. This edition and all of our previous eNewsletters are archived and can be viewed here. To subscribe to the eNewsletter, click here.
We are eager to hear your thoughts on these blogs and other elder justice issues. Please engage below!