UNITED NATIONS PRINCIPLES FOR OLDER PERSONS

It is hard to imagine that there is hope when one is in a crisis. Depression, embarrassment and shame keeps a person prisoner from reaching out and asking for help. An elderly person experiencing elder abuse battles with these feelings. If a loved one sees this going on, the loved one must assure the elder that he/she has a right to live in indignity.

In 1991. the United Nations designed the Principles for Older People for those who work with older persons who are vulnerable to elder abuse (who ever knew they existed). These principles were designed to empower those working with the elderly and help them convey to the elderly they are not accountable for other’s behavior.

These principles are:

INDEPENDENCE

  • Older persons should have access to adequate food, water, shelter,clothing and health care through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help.
  • Older persons should have the opportunity to work or to have access to other income-generating opportunities.
  • Older persons should be able to participate in determining when and at what pace withdrawal from the labor force takes place.
  • Older persons should have access to appropriate educational and training programs.
  • Older persons should be able to live in environments that are safe and adaptable to personal preferences and changing capacities

PARTICIPATION

  • Older persons should remain integrated in society, participate actively in the formulation and implementation of policies that directly affect their well-being and share their knowledge and skills with younger generations.
  • Older persons should be able to seek and develop opportunities for service to the community and to serve as volunteers in positions appropriate to their interests and capabilities.
  • Older persons should be able to form movements or associations of older persons.

CARE

  •  Older persons should benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with each society’s system of cultural values.
  •  Older persons should have access to health care to help them to maintain or regain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being and to prevent or delay the onset of illness.
  • Older persons should have access to social and legal services to enhance their autonomy, protection and care.
  • Older persons should be able to utilize appropriate levels of institutional care providing protection, rehabilitation and social and mental stimulation in a humane and secure environment.
  • Older persons should be able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in any shelter, care or treatment facility, including full respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy and for the right to make decisions about their care and the quality of their lives.
  • Older persons should benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with each society’s system of cultural values.
  • Older persons should have access to health care to help them to maintain or regain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being and to prevent or delay the onset of illness.
  • Older persons should have access to social and legal services to enhance their autonomy, protection and care.

SELF-FULFILLMENT

  • Older persons should be able to utilize appropriate levels of institutional care providing protection, rehabilitation and social and mental stimulation in a humane and secure environment.
  • Older persons should be able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in any shelter, care or treatment facility, including full respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy and for the right to make decisions about their care and the quality of their lives.

DIGNITY

Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical or mental abuse.

Older persons should be treated fairly regardless of age, gender, racial or ethnic background, disability or other status, and be valued independently of their economic contribution.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

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