Recently, I came across an email that listed 45 synonyms for “old” and “old fashioned.”
In reviewing the 45 word list, I got to thinking more about the consequences of the meaning of each of these words.
As an example, what jumps to mind when I write the word vintage? Maybe that classic car? Maybe that high quality wine?
Certainly something that is excellent, enduring, and classical.
On the other hand, how about obsolete? Still thinking about the classic car or enduring appeal?
I thought not.
It occurred to me that how one views another, specifically how a family member or friend perceives a senior relative, will go a long way in determining that person’s decision-making process and conduct when interacting with their relative.
Is this explanation for the son who becomes power of attorney and transfers most of mom’s money into a joint account (that is ultimately raided by the son)?
Does this explain transfers of land from uncle to nephew months before uncle’s death, thereby depriving uncle’s estate, and his beneficiaries, from inheriting same?
Does this explain how the home improvement contractor, also known as the woodchuck, becomes sole beneficiary of mom’s estate despite his knowing her for a matter of months?
No, I am not offering an explanation for these events, that would take much longer than this article and is left for minds much greater than mine.
What I am suggesting, however, is that signs for elder abuse exist well before the power of attorney is executed, well before the joint account is opened, and well before the stranger inherits one’s entire estate.
In viewing mom with an enduring appeal, you see her as venerable or with distinction; such an outlook provides a cue for positive thoughts and interaction.
If, on the other hand, she is perceived as aged or antiquated, then you view her as what she was or, even worse, you view her as susceptible. With susceptibility comes the opportunity for use and abuse instead of the opportunity for interaction and reciprocity.
I suggest, for both seniors and family and friends, paying attention to the signs, both tangible and intangible.