Preventing elder abuse: educational resources from collaborative projects
Ageism is increasingly recognised as a root cause for elder abuse. Because of this ageist lens, older people are seen as different, without the same rights as the rest of the society. Henriikka Laurola is sharing with us the findings of several collaborative projects exploring elder abuse and proposing a way forward to address ageism and its harmful consequences.
European level cooperation has produced applications aiming to combat elder abuse through making ageism visible and increasing awareness of older people’s human rights. The project S.T.Age – Socio Drama Tackling Ageism, Preventing Abuse (2015-2017) published last year a training handbook called Respect to Prevent using creative methods of socio-drama. The training programme seeks to prevent elder abuse through raising awareness among older people of their human rights, empowering them to exercise their rights and challenging ageist attitudes through building empathy among health and social care professionals. As a whole system approach, the workshops are targeted for the managers, staff and residents of nursing homes.
Following-up to the S.T.Age, the Two Moons project (2018-2020) develops further educational resources to improve and enhance older people’s knowledge of their human rights. The project involves them as well as social care professionals and community members in a collaborative creative process, providing older people with an opportunity to share their stories in print, and through documentary theater.
Human rights are also a significant lens for elder abuse prevention in the TISOVA (Training to Identify and Support Older Victims of Abuse, 2017-2020) and SAFE (A Safer Life for Older Women, 2017-2019) projects as well as in the WHOSEFVA one (Working with HealthCare Organizations to Support Elderly Female Victims of Abuse, 2016-2018) targeting older people, employees and volunteers of senior centres, and social and health care teachers and professionals in residential and health care settings.
Henriikka Laurola is the Co-Founder and a Project Officer of the Finnish specialist NGO Voimaa Vanhuuteen – osk VoiVa – Empowering Old Age Coop. VoiVa, established in 2017, focuses on the prevention of violence and abuse against older people. VoiVa is a partner organisation of the mentioned Erasmus+ projects TISOVA, SAFE and Two Moons as well as the Daphne project WHOSEFVA.