Elder Abuse Intervention
Increasing recognition of elder abuse generated research and focus on risk, vulnerability and response matrix however, the elders’ lived experiences demands attention. This paper offers a practice approach based on ten case studies involving twelve clients aged 65 to 90 years, in addressing physical, psychological and financial abuse by their adult children. The approach is about acknowledging diversity in clients and their needs, diversity in disciplines, practice in a context of elder abuse across cultures, family transitions and technological change.
Clients’ feedback about counselling suggests a pluralistic and integrative approach is effective in coping with as well as reducing the abuse.
Elements of this approach include:
- Creating a safe space to talk and work it through at the client’s pace.
- Cultivating a shared understanding about implicit and explicit expectations.
- Balance stopping the abuse with building bridges between client and adult children.
- Promoting support within trusted networks whilst extending the client’s ecosystems via advocacy.
- Roll with resistance, stand back and co-construct possibilities congruent with the client’s values.
- Understand how the social rules of the client’s environment influence therapeutic approaches.
- Understand the client’s and the family’s adaptive capacity in facing issues of trust and justice.
Jeannette Stott is a registered psychologist with 25 years experience in human services in welfare, child protection, aged care, relationships counselling and family violence sectors.