Hope and Help
By Tracy Wang
May 12, 2022
Why would a 17-year-old have a great interest in the prevention of elder abuse? In this blog, I would like to describe my message and mission for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day campaign from the point of view of the up-and-coming generation. The reason I am writing today is not only to tell my story, but to also share my solution and encourage other people of my generation to join me.
In 2017, I lost my dear grandfather. He started out with pneumonia and was transferred to a long-term nursing facility where unfortunately his case worsened, and he died. Similarly, such a situation occurred again with my grandmother in January 2021, where all rescue measures proved ineffectual after she was sent to the hospital, and she died due to an infection and sepsis. As a granddaughter who lived through this tragic experience twice, I realized that there must be other elders who undergo the same experience. Since then, I have been inspired to develop a project that will have a lasting impact and a glimpse of hope and help to change this cycle and better the lives of older adults.
My concept is to create an international youth organization called Hope and Help, where we are dedicated to elders who have been wrongly mistreated and abused in nursing or long-term facilities and are scared to speak up about their experience. Hope and Help centers around the three pillars: elder human rights, elder abuse prevention and elder empowerment, and we deeply believe these elders deserve to get the same level of respect, attention, rights, voice and representation as any other human being does. Moreover, I want to give our next and future generations’ elders, myself included, the opportunity to have a home within facilities where elders can unquestionably live a life that is respectful, loving, and caring no matter their physical or mental condition.
Once I had this idea in mind, I reached out to Dr. Laura Mosqueda, a prominent geriatrician at USC. I had read her NIA- funded R01 study to understand the causes of abuse of people with dementia. Dr. Mosqueda was so encouraging and guided me to the team at NCEA who wanted me to write about my story and share it with others. A social justice issue like elder abuse requires all of us to do our part.
Although Hope and Help is in its early stages of development, we plan to begin this movement by:
1. Thoughtfully creating materials that will engage our demographic about elder abuse
2. Engaging interested individuals to work together to advocate for elder abuse and neglect prevention
3. Being actively involved in policy developments and elder abuse research to extensively resolve the problem from the root, and implement up to date strategies efficiently
With this opportunity to build awareness and with all of us united in this social justice issue which impacts all of us as we age, Hope and Help will grow into a national and potentially worldwide movement. I welcome you to follow our progress at (https://linktr.ee/hope.and.help__official).
Many thanks to Dr. Mosqueda and the NCEA for this unique opportunity to join in WEAAD activities and give a platform to the teenagers of today who will become the older adults of tomorrow.