Based on the results of Isabelle Maillé’s research paper, the article published in the official review of the Polish Gerontology Society addresses the experiences of older adults when receiving support from non-profit organisations specialised in the fight against mistreatment.
Stemming from analyses of data collected for the project ABAM_MF – Volunteering to Counter Material or Financial Mistreatment of Older Adults, the article examines the experiences of older adults receiving available help and identifies four types. The typology is:
- Beneficial support
- Positive support
- Threatening support
- Discontinued support
In the first case, the support offered by non-profit organisations (NPO) allows older adults to go beyond the negative stereotypes associated with asking for help in the context of mistreatment and helps them reshape the vision they may have of themselves as merely a mistreated older adult. To do so, the support worker creates a climate of confidence that facilitates a formal request for help. Also, this type of support offered by NPOs allows the older adults to evolve positively and equip themselves to put an end to the mistreatment experienced.
In the second case, the support given by NPOs accords with the older adult’s desire to seek help. Having no negative preconceptions, the latter is abreast of available services, mobilises their skills, and takes advantage of tools proposed during support to answer their needs and put an end to the mistreatment.
In the third case, the NPO volunteer is perceived as menacing by the mistreated older adult because he or she contravenes their core identity: religious belief, family affiliations, etc. In such situations, the older adult tends to refuse help or backs away from the NPO’s services.
In the fourth case, the older adult is open to receiving the help of a member of the NPO as is the case in Positive Support but adopts a retreat strategy when their interactions are reduced or interrupted for various reasons (sick days, change of employment). In some documented experiences, the older adults spent months waiting for the support giver instead of following up with a colleague.
Interested in this article? It was initially published in Polish, but we can send a copy in English or French on demand. Please contact