Our Elders Are Suffering in silence
By Karol Markosky
HIV/AIDS Education Coordinator
Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc
Seeing the pain in someone’s eyes as they talk about atrocities they suffered and committed often by someone they love – especially by a son or daughter – has been the hardest thing about filming video stories for the Elder Justice Now campaign.
Working on this campaign, while tearful at times, has opened my eyes even more in to the rich lives of our seniors. I have been moved by the women and the men that I interviewed and by all of the stories of abuse that usually go unheard.
The most surprising thing has been the strength and power of the elders who had experienced the pain caused by abuse. However, many were ready to speak out against elder abuse and they did!
America’s seniors are often cast aside by a society that values youth and disdains aging. The people we interviewed for this campaign were NOT your stereotypical “elderly” who are often characterzed as weak and feeble. Their strength astounds me.
In New York, we were able to film at a few local senior centers. We had a blast! They not only welcomed us with open arms and talked to us about their experiences, they also let us film them having fun. We saw seniors who were belly dancing. Others were ballroom dancing, playing card games and working on the computer. We had lunch with one of the first female cardiologists. We had an afternoon snack at an Alzheimer’s support group. We were serenaded by a gentleman who wanted to share songs from his past and engaged in stimulating conversation.
I feel blessed everyday to work with seniors that have shaped this world and paved the way for me to do what I do today. Because of this, I feel truly impassioned to help in the fight for the Elder Justice Act.