Older Americans Month, with a look at elder abuse and rural communities
Older Americans Month is an opportunity to reflect and recognize the contributions of older adults across the nation.
Unfortunately, some rhetoric during the COVID-19 health crisis says older people are somehow more expendable and "should" be willing to sacrifice themselves for the economy.
But how is that fair? And who decides which lives are most valuable, especially in the name of capitalism?
Ageism during the COVID-19 pandemic is amplified along with other problems facing older Americans right now. Older Americans who are experiencing domestic violence or elder abuse are often overlooked by traditional services that are not designed to support them.
This is especially true in our rural and mountain communities, which are more isolated and tend to have fewer resources - for both health care and domestic violence - than their urban counterparts.
Additionally, older populations - and sometimes, their caregivers - may have more public-facing jobs, and, due to the inability to practice safe social distancing, may be exposed to the virus and experience more health complications.
A crisis is no excuse to deny dignity and agency to elders. As we work toward new and radical possibilities at Violence Free Colorado, we envision a new social system that value people's presence and contributions to society at every age, over profits and bottom lines.