Aging With Respect (Elder) Safety Card
Aging with Respect is an intervention addressing elder abuse, neglect and intimate partner violence with those later in life. It is developed for those patients/clients with agency and capacity in non-crisis, non-emergency situations that provides information about healthy and safe relationships, and the impact of unhealthy relationships on health and well being. Topics include financial, emotional, and physical abuse and exploitation, education and prevention strategies, and information on seeking support.
The intervention is designed for doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, aging services program staff, victim advocates and Adult Protective Services staff during wellness, primary care, social service and counseling visits, health specialty settings (e.g. podiatry etc.), rehab centers, assisted living and senior housing facilities, and aging service programs such as recreational and meal programs.
Because the education is offered universally, not just to those with observational red flags, the intervention ensures that all patients, regardless of whether they choose to disclose violence, abuse or neglect, have access to information, resources and support. This approach mirrors Futures Without Violence’s (FUTURES’) evidence based universal education intervention called “CUES” (Confidentiality limits, Universal Education, Empowerment and Support). The intervention relies on a safety card to provide guidance to health and community professionals on how to talk to patients about any concerning behavior of those around them and encourages early education about emotional, physical, and financial harassment, abuse and neglect.
(The image above is the Front and Back panels of the 5-panel, double sided, safety card tool designed for use with older adults. The complete resource measures approx. 5.5″ x 17″ when unfolded, and folds down to a 5.5″ x 3.5″ card)
How to use this tool:
- The well-thought-through scripts normalize these conversations with patients/clients and lets them know that the clinic or organization is a place to turn for help should they have concerns about abusive or harassing behavior at any time in the future.
- In any one appointment or clinic visit, providers may focus on one or two sections of the safety card most related to their patients’/clients’ presenting problem(s), health issue(s) or circumstances. Given time limitations, issues covered in the card can be pursued over multiple visits.
- This approach can be used with a clinic’s, hospital’s or organization’s current elder abuse screening procedures or protocols as a precursor to a direct inquiry approach where the Aging with Respect tool is used first to open patients to the possibility of discussing issues of concern.
- Two cards are to be offered – if safe for the client to take home – to read over later and share with a friend.
- While the intent of the intervention is to use it with patients and clients in-person, the card may also be distributed during community events, and/or placed in private areas such as restrooms and exam rooms for individuals to pick up on their own.
For resources on Elder Abuse visit our Elders webpage.
This intervention and safety card was created by Futures Without Violence in collaboration with National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.