New School of Thought for Elder Justice
By Alycia Cisneros, MSW
September 12, 2022
When I think of the end of summer, I think of back-to-school advertisements that used to pull my stomach into knots as a kid. “Oh no, not another year of syllabi,” I would groan to myself. Now I feel a sense of relief that it is not me going back-to-school when I see billboards of kids with the coolest new backpack and matching stationery. In reality, I suppose school never really ended for us all as we age, it just looks different now. Everyday working in the field of elder justice has been a new learning experience. I have gotten to learn and work with the most incredible pioneers in this field.
The question I ask myself now is, “is it a form of ageism to think back-to-school time is only for children instead of all of us as we age?” Ageism marketing tells us back-to-school is for children and young adults in college, when in fact there are folks of all ages in the class of 2023. What about people who have finished classroom learning, but are ready to learn to lead the field of elder justice? Perhaps instead of focusing on the marketing of back-to-school supplies, this time of year should remind us to reflect on the accomplishments of the last eight months and refresh for the fall. A time to think about what worked and what did not. Maybe finally get around to carving out a slot in our schedules to get updated on the newest research. Or take time to learn from our partners with differing perspectives and scopes of work. I particularly enjoy working with partners from different professional backgrounds and hearing their view of an issue based on their own expertise. The ideas of my colleagues are something I often would have never thought of and a learning experience that I treasure.
This back-to-school season I plan to take this challenge to join in on a new year of learning to expand my expertise, and perhaps even get some new stationery- it is part of the tradition after all. I will reenergize and prepare for a new season of education from all of my wonderful colleagues. I extend the challenge to you as well, and will jump start your first day of classes with these tools from the field of elder justice:
- The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is the leading elder abuse resource center in the nation. Visit the NCEA for the newest publications, trainings, podcasts, and outreach tools.
- The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has a wide array of resources to help us all learn more about long-term care issues and what we can do to advocate in an effective way, especially as we approach Resident’s Right’s month in October.
- The Elder Justice Toolkit is a resource created by the National Center on Law & Elder Rights. It contains practical information on civil legal remedies, practice tips, and sample pleadings for attorneys seeking protection and redress for their clients who have experienced elder abuse (a great resource to prepare for Guardianship Awareness Month in October).
- The Reframing Aging Initiative is a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older people contribute to our society. They have a wide range of training resources to join in on the initiative today.
- The NCEA’s Reframing Elder Abuse team is sharing the Reframing the Conversation on Elder Abuse Video Lecture Series for free with code: NCEAELDERJUSTICE! During this interactive training you will gain the skills to begin effectively reframing your public communications to address and prevent elder abuse.
- The Frameworks Institute and the NCEA are teaming up to bring you the Reframing Long-Term Care (LTC) Lunch and Learn Series. The series will feature 3 sessions on reframed LTC outreach materials, how to apply this concept, and how to get others to join in the movement to address and prevent abuse in LTCs.
- The Adult Protective Services Technical Assistance Resource Center (APS TARC) provides a variety of educational tools including podcasts, webinars, and toolkits (including a new APS public awareness toolkit).
- SAGE is helping us all to provide culturally competent care with LGBT aging training from SAGECare.
I wish the class of 2023, including my colleagues who, like me, are not done learning, a wonderful first day of classes. I hope your fall session of learning continues to evolve and strengthen our growing field of elder justice prevention.