Elder Abuse: Was Kayak Up a Creek With It’s ‘Stairlift’ ad?


We all see humorous commercials all the time, meant to drive home a particular point. Sometimes the commercial is a bit “over-the-top” or extreme, in that in no common-sensical way can be believable in the sense of human dignity. Or indignity, if you will.

But when it comes to taking care of elder parents or grandparents, can a line be crossed when it comes to “over-the-top” depictions? Should something that may be viewed as “elder abuse” be fodder for the sake of advertising? When does dignity get trampled on, and when does humor prevail when the tongue is implanted firmly in the cheek?

KAYAK.com Gets Nailed by Canada, Eh?

Recently, the travel website KAYAK.com unveiled a 30-second commercial on television and its YouTube page that got a lot of attention in Canada – so much so that the country’s governing body of advertising standards cited the company due to several complaints about its “stairlift” ad, which can be seen and described here.

In short, while the commercial can be seen as humorous in some circles because of its outlandishness, there were some among our northern neighbors who complained that the commercial seemed to show “elder abuse,” and that was no laughing matter. With the finding by the Canadian ad standards agency, KAYAK gave in to the pressure and removed the ad from its YouTube channel and from television.

The debate over the commercial does lead to a question about how to best care for an elderly family member, and what could constitute abuse. At the heart, was due diligence to care for this family member in the commercial achieved with the installation of the stairlift? Taking care of an elderly family member does go beyond just legal issues; it goes to quality-of-life issues as well.

Elder Abuse, What Do You Think?

After looking at the commercial, what do you think? Is it depicting “elder abuse,” or do you think it is just an over-the-top joke and people need to develop a sense of humor? We are not here to say whether this commercial is funny or disgusting, but we do want to use this as an example of the importance of elder care and how the charge of “elder abuse” can be very serious – just a serious as child abuse. We should always look to take care of our loved ones who may not be able to care for themselves. Whether it is installing a stairlift in your home (and not for you to use!), putting him or her in a proper care facility and/or making sure the estate is up to date with health-care directives or powers of attorney.

And if you are in Michigan, and especially around the Brighton area, it behooves you to sit with a good estate planning attorney to get some advice not just about legal matters but also about how to make the best life for your elder family members so their last days are happy and harmonious. There is no need to be left up a creek without a paddle. So to speak.

Castle Wealth Group Legal in Media

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