Webinar presenter Philip Marshall answered a number of your questions after his presentation, "Achieving Upstandership™: How it can help each and all of us realize (elder) justice ." Here are a few of his responses.
Audience Question: We live in a time when people are stretched thin and often don't know our neighbors. We aren't as connected as we once were as a society. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can take simple steps to help protect elders in this context?
Philip Marshall: The routine activity theory — the problem with seniors at this point is that if you don't have a capable guardian because seniors are isolated, or all of us are more isolated. My campaign on this is you end ageism through engageism. That tagline for the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day says that we should do things for elders… I don't agree with that. We don't do things for elders, because that could be plenary guardianship. We don't simply say "You know, we have a declaration of independence — let everybody on your own". We have this declaration of interdependence, we should message everything is 'with elders', not 'for elders'. I would start with seeking ways through involvement to empower elders. Back to kind of Hopi to make sure that people can help themselves. And it's making those connections instead of saying, "We need more facetime than Facebook-time". We all know it, "Turn off the television, you don't see your neighbors". That's easy to say, it's almost easier to do. In thinking about some motivational folks. Just don't put it on your checklist don't have it as an aspiration. Have it as something you cultivate daily.
Audience Question: How do we limit elder abuse when the abuser has power of attorney and was able to get this through the trickery of an elder who has Alzheimer's?
Philip Marshall: That's what I was confronted with my grandma. My father had power of attorney for my grandmother. The only card I can play was guardianship, you already know I feel about guardianship. But New York state changed his power of attorney — the document which has helped a bit. Guardianship is one of the most critical concerns and just as legal instruments, there are lots of legal instruments that can help us on this but sometimes, they are a double-edged sword. My father had that power of attorney as a weapon and a shield. I really hope that the American Bar Association has done so much in this arena and really delving into power of attorney. I would hope that just as phones have commanded our lives, I would hope that at some point, that there will be filming of the execution of any and all documents that relate to not just this arena — but executing power of attorney, especially after somebody has been either declared incompetent or has impairments or especially undue influence.
I am skirting the issue a bit. Power of attorney is one of the biggest issues which I can't fully address right now.
Audience Question: What does it mean to bring elder abuse to a social level?
Philip Marshall: That's where I think there's an articulation between justice and advocacy with folks who have skin in the game, who have really been in the trenches. But within the social arena, I think looking at what framework is done and looking at other arenas which I have not done. There are other models that people are looking at for climate change. Peter Heller back in 2003 said the two biggest issue that will confront us are climate change and the aging global population. How do we cognitively address this and do it based on moral, legal, and ethical obligation of society as citizens? How we get there, I need our collective help.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of "Achieving Upstandership™: How it can help each and all of us realize (elder) justice ."