The Case That Prompted this Blog
September 28, 2007
What happens to victims of elder abuse once they have been “rescued” from their abusive environment?
I believe that if the victims are under the care of Adult Protective Services or other government care facilities they would be cared for in some ways. However, if they are living in their own homes and are still physically and mentally capable there are no help for them.
Do they ever get over the abuses – especially, if the abusers were members of their own families?
This is a case that I have details of.
The reasons the abusers gave for their abusive actions, surely would nauseate most of us. Those reasons they gave are insults to our intelligence.
Unconscionable acts of elder abusers have left a 77 year old man without a family and dignity. To add to this injustice is that his adult children and abusers have got away unscathed.
One still works in the mental health sector and organizes seminars to inform others how to better treat mental patients and to improve services for these people.
The other works as a team manager of ‘Customers Relations’ in an organization that has sponsored an Elder Abuse Prevention Organization.
To add insult to injury – They have given ‘reasons’ for their actions (elder abuse of their father):
“ …we cannot look after mum and our own families……”
When they knew even a 50% property split for their parents meant that they do not have to pay a single cent towards their parents care. Yet, on behalf of their mother they did asked for a shocking percentage and more! Remember the fact that their father has been the sole person who accumulated and maintained assets. Their mother has a serious mental illness; diagnosed 5 years into her marriage.
“…we feel sorry for the old man; but we did what we did because he has a lady friend….”
Are they kidding? (I have received confirmation that that lady in question will be making a statement, after hearing about their excuse.)
"...... we used to shiver in the corner as they (the parents) argued......"
(Remember, the mother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness 40 years ago)
If that was a enough reason to abuse a parent in his/her twilight years, then majority of such parents would have been "abused"!
What did they do? They refused to discuss property settlement (they have power of attorney for their mother). Left their father in shockingly crammed living-quarters for more than 8 years! Just have a quick look at his Living Quarters for over 8 years:
Elder Abuse has been said as the crime of the century.
What are we doing to abusers who got away unscathed? Have they made a joke of all of us?
It is time we tell these two unrepenting elder abusers that they should be ashamed!
Please visit the website and leave your comments. Go there
September 24, 2007
(Japan September 18, 2007)
A little village in Hyogo Prefecture held a gathering in 1947 to show respect for the elderly and to ask them to share their wisdom and life experiences. It is said that this was the origin of the national holiday--Respect-for-the Aged Day. It has been exactly 60 years since then. At that time, the average longevity in Japan was roughly 50 years old. Now, the expected life span is 79 for men and 85 for women. Japan is an exceptional country in terms of life expectancy.
Not only are Japanese people living longer, their lifestyles in old age are beginning to change. What is especially striking in recent years is the rapidly increasing number of people over 65 years old living alone. There are as many as 4 million of them. With the increase of the "nuclear family," fewer people live with their grown children. There are those who live alone after bereavement, and those who chose not to marry. Living alone allows certain freedoms and few hassles.
Some people are good at living on their own, and enjoy the benefits of their lifestyles to the hilt. But there is another aspect to living alone that cannot be ignored. Many elderly people living alone actually want to be with people, but they have no chance to mingle with neighbors or have no friends.
Elderly people who want to have more contact with their neighbors must not just wait around for a chance to come along. (my emphasis) They could go to the local community center and join a hobby group, for example. Making a point of talking to your neighbors is a good thing, and not just for the elderly.
Communication helps to create a safer community, (my emphasis) and will be the first step toward creating an atmosphere that's comfortable for everyone. On Respect-for-the Aged Day, those are the kind of things we would like to think about again.
Source: Global Action on Aging
A great concept! Perhaps other countries can look at adopting such move - Declaring a certain day in the year as "Respect the Elderly Day".
There is no doubt that older people in most countries around the world will need special care and attention from their community and government agencies.
Elder Abuse in the general community (i.e. not in care facilities) is easily perpetrated if the older persons have no one to go to for help.
Promoting Respect for the Elderly is, I believe, one of the many steps we can take to prevent elder abuse. Perhaps we can try out such programs at schools.
The elderly citizens of every country have valuable knowledge, experience and skills to share.
We must involve the younger ones in these programs.
Elderbloggers can do our bit to promote Active Living, eradicate Ageism, and help disseminate information. We can publish and broadcast the fact that Elder Abuse is NOT ACCEPTABLE in any society. By examples, we can show the younger ones that we are not "a burden" but a valuable resource - we have much to contribute.
September 19, 2007
A sense of entitlement to their inheritance, that is.
I have personally heard the following comments from adult children (and they were not made in jest!):
- Mum should take public transport; she spent too much money on taxis. Our inheritance has dwindled
- My parents should have sold their property for $300,000 more, we (siblings) would have been $xxxxx better off.
- Mum died 2 years ago, now the old man (dad) has a new woman in his life. We are not going to standby without a fight. What belongs to my parents is ours!
- I wish mum would stay home more instead of taking numerous trips overseas. She has been like that since dad died. How inconsiderate of her. Doesn’t she realize that she is squandering our inheritance!
The older persons in the cases quoted above have mental capacity. They are not suffering from dementia or other forms of disabilities. One can imagine how they would be treated if they were incapacitated in some ways!
Sure, we love our children. And, in most cases, they are the major ones we think about leaving our inheritance. But, surely what belong to us is ours to use till we are gone? Maybe I have been on another planet; and somehow missed some events that led to the change. And, what we own belong to our children after we reach a certain age. If so, would someone please fill me in on what went on?
How great is the problem of elder rights and elder abuse? Just do a quick check in cyberspace and you will notice a growing number of ads. By attorneys offering their services on these two issues.
September 18, 2007
Apologies have been sent to the original source of that article.
If you are still wanting information on Elder Abuse Helplines, Hotlines and How to report EA, please check out the links given in the sidebar of this blog.
I am an elderblogger with no political or other affiliations. I put up this blog because I could not get help in my own country, Australia, to assist a close friend who was a victim of EA.
If you have checked out the case that prompted this blog (Link given below the title of this blog); you will understand why I am now an advocate for Elder Rights and changes in the law in my country to better protect older persons.
I welcome any report of inaccuracies in my posting.
The information given was actually provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Administration on Aging.
My sincere apologies to AoA for mistakenly crediting Fred Cicetti for the information.
The National Center on Elder Abuse is funded by the AoA.
Links to these two excellent sites are listed in the sidebar.
The information on these two sites are well set out and contain one of the most comprehensive resource that I have ever come across on Elder Abuse. Included on the NCEA site is a list of contact details for:
Report Elder AbuseDomestic/Community
Report Elder AbuseNursing Home/Long TermCare Facility
I wish we have such an excellent resource in Australia. We still have a lot to learn from others.
September 12, 2007
Majority of the elderly are been cared for at home by family members. There are many anecdotal reports of carers' stress that led to elder abuse. It is obvious that carers need help and support from their own community and government - at every level.
A subscriber to AboutSeniors (Australia) has spoken out on this issue:
Jennifer C said, "Up until recently I have been a primary carer for my mother. Because of the lack of services in my local area, I had to place my mother in a nursing home. During the four years that I cared for her, I discovered the lack of support that either the Federal or State Governments were willing to provide carers. When I had to place mum in a nursing home, it made me angry. The results of that anger can be seen on the following attached letters. The first letter titled Dear Friend and the following letter Dear (.).. are letters that I am sending out to as many Australians and organisations that I have email addresses for. I would like your help in disseminating this information. The more people that can be contacted, the stronger the voice and message. There are many other issues that I have not mentioned here that may affect carers in your area such as young carers, sole parent carers, carers of people with a mental illness and ageing carers and ageing people with disabilities. All carers deserve our support and help."
To read more Click Here .
Australians - take a few minutes of your time to give support to this important appeal by Jennifer C. Our politicians need to act now before the situation get more serious. Plans to improve Aged Care and to give support to carers must be put in place NOW. There are already many reports and so-called "..how to...Projects" ; yet, not much have been happening with regards to the implementation of recommendations! Am I wrong? I will be most happy to publish on this blog, any information to the contrary.
September 11, 2007
By Richard McIlroy
5live Report 8 September 2007, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Next year will see more pensioners in the UK than children and ever more people will be facing up to huge bills for the cost of continuing care of the elderly.
For individuals, the magic number in England is £21,000. If you have assets of more than that to your name, you are liable to pay for your own funding.
Many elderly people faced with the costs of long term care have been forced to sell their homes or transfer their property and other assets to their children or other relatives.
The 5live Report has found that the system is a quagmire of red tape and bad advice, with rules being interpreted differently across the country.
Journalist Liz Penney and her sister were faced with looking after their parents who both needed care at the same time. Naïvely they used £50,000 of savings to pay for their father's care.
It was only after that had dried up, that they discovered he could have had that care for free as the savings were in their mother's name. But they couldn't get the money back
"We were very angry about that," says Liz.
"It's driven my sister and I close to despair and exhaustion for two and a half years.
"We've more or less ignored our own children. We've had to throw all our own energies into our parents.
"And it's heartbreaking to see your parents to go into a pitiful decline and not be able to help them fully."
Owain Wright, head of care funding at Saga, encounters similar stories all the time.
"I think it is generally held that the system at the moment is not working for the majority of people," he said.
"Mainly because, if everyone who should get it did, then the system would crumble.
"Also the criteria are not great so we're finding Primary Care Trusts finding ways to deny people continuing care when perhaps a reasonable person might say they're eligible."
In October, the government will implement new rules intended to provide a simplified national standard for who will foot the bill for looking after millions of pensioners.
The aim is to standardise decisions on who is eligible for continuing care.
The Care Service Minister Ivan Lewis says the new system will be "fairer and more convenient for both patients and professionals".
The government expects the new system will cost up to an extra £220 million in the first year of operation.
But the overall cost of looking after all the elderly in the UK runs to £42 billion a year according to the charity CareAware.
While acknowledging that the changes will go some way to ease the funding gap, critics say there are still millions of families facing financial meltdown to ensure that their loved ones receive the right care
Those with the most serious conditions are entitled to fully funded continuous care. But it can be very difficult to prove.
September 10, 2007
September 3, 2007
I've been a gerontologist for 30 years, and the staying power of some misperceptions, or myths, of aging continue to amaze me. Among these is the myth that families in the United States don't take care of their elders.The myth says that we dump our elders into nursing homes and abdicate their care and its costs to the government in the form of such programs as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. Nothing could be further from the truth.Only 5 percent of seniors are being cared for in nursing homes, and, of course, in many cases families and friends continue to provide some care.The vast majority of the care provided to seniors is provided by informal caregivers. These folks are unpaid and are usually family members or friends of the person being cared for.The number of people involved is substantial. One-fourth of all households in the United States provide care for an elderly person.Eighty percent of adults who receive long-term care at home get their care exclusively from unpaid family, friends and volunteers. Of those who have paid caregivers, two-thirds also get some regular assistance from family or friends.In addition to these millions of caregivers who provide hands-on care, nearly 7 million Americans are long-distance caregivers.Overall, 85 percent of all home care for seniors is provided by more than 23 million family and friends.
Who are these caregivers?The average age of a caregiver is 57. One in 10 is 75 or older. Most are women. Twenty-three percent are wives, 13 percent are husbands, 29 percent are daughters and 9 percent are sons.The personal investment of caregivers is substantial. One way to measure involvement is in terms of hours spent caregiving. Households involved in caregiving invest an average of 20 hours a week. That includes time spent traveling back and forth, activities such as shopping, as well as hands-on care.In addition to time, caregivers also frequently provide some financial support. In fact, 40 percent of caregivers incur additional financial costs associated with their caregiving role.
Caregiving takes a heavy toll not only because of the actual care provided, but also because of the impact of caregiving on other aspects of the caregiver's life.The time commitment of caregiving often affects the caregiver's other relationships. Work roles of the caregivers may be dramatically changed. One-third of caregivers unexpectedly lose time at work. Just over 40 percent have permanently reduced the number of hours they work, and 12 percent have given up working completely.The extremely high levels of stress also lead to physical and mental health breakdowns. Six out of 10 caregivers report declines in their own physical health. The stress of caregiving makes caregivers more prone to frequent headaches, anxiety and depression. Caregivers use prescription drugs for depression and anxiety at three times the rate of the rest of the population.It's obvious that families and friends provide the largest share of the care. Only 10 percent to 20 percent of care comes from the formal services provided by public agencies.That's not to say that public programs such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are not important. Without the support of these programs, most caregivers would find their difficult jobs virtually impossible.
Hanns Pieper is professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of Evansville.
Source: Global Aging Org
To these unpaid and often unrecognized carers -- We salute you.
Other carers in Nursing Homes -- We are aware that majority of you are often overworked; I, together with others who have looked into the issue, acknowledge your great help to our loved ones. A few 'rotten apples in the barrel ' have tarnished your reputations. We know that too. Keep up the good work.
September 7, 2007
We have a lot to learn and to do regarding the prevention of Elder Abuse in the general community. Researches have shown that these cases often involve complex family relationships and Enduring Power of Attorney.
There is currently a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the Law and Older People. We are eagerly awaiting that report.
It is therefore fair to say that a multi-disciplinarial study, research and plan of action has to be done before we see some kind of assistance from government.
In Australia, my own experience with trying to get help for an elder abuse victim who is NOT in a Aged Care facility and is NOT receiving any care packages - had been frustrating and fruitless.
Firstly, every state has its own department for health. It is NOT uncommon to hear from people who wanted some kind of assistance in this area say, "We are not getting much help from these people". or "We are still waiting for action; after all this time".
Things are still very confusing for Australians who need help or advice on the issue of Elder Abuse. We need to learn from the US and UK.
Better still - we need to have a uniformed approach to such an important social issue as Elder Abuse.
Please don't wait till you need such assistance. Act now! Get involved. We need to tell politicians what we want.
For Australian visitors to this site, please check out the links in the sidebar of this blog.
In addition, there is a long list of contacts given on the Australian Government Depart. of Health and Ageing.
For that list, Click Here
-1800 550 552
Or write to:
September 5, 2007
Recognise and report elder abuse
Elder abuse is the violation of an elderly individual's human and civil rights by any person. If you're concerned that you might be at risk, or are worried about a friend, relative or client, there are ways to help.
How to recognise elder abuse
Elder abuse may happen once or regularly over short or long periods of time.
The abuse can be:
· physical – hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, inappropriate restraint, misuse of medication, inadequate monitoring of prescriptions
· psychological – emotional abuse, threats of harm, threats of leaving or stopping care, lack of human contact and stopping access to people who can advise or help
· sexual – all unwanted sexual acts
· financial or material, including theft from the abused person, fraud, or coercion regarding wills and any financial transactions
· neglectful or just not doing something, for example ensuring that the person is eating or is warm or clean
· discriminatory – racist, sexist, exploiting disability or other forms of harassment or slurs
There are some tell-tale signs to look for:
· unexplained bruising, fractures, open wounds and welts, and untreated injuries
· poor general hygiene and weight loss
· helplessness and fear – or any sudden change in behaviour
· unexplained changes in a person's finances and material well-being
· questionable financial or legal documents or the disappearance of those documents
· More on elder abuse (opens new window)
Reporting to the police
Some types of abuse - including assault (sexual or physical) and theft and fraud – are criminal offences and should be reported to the police, which may lead to prosecution following a criminal investigation.
You may feel too afraid to report abuse, especially if your carer is the abuser. But you are entitled the protection of the law and to dignity and respect. Anyone concerned about a friend, relative or carer who is being abused needs to take action to prevent further abuse and protect others.
· Crime and taking action (crime, justice and the law section)
How to make a complaint
You can also make a complaint. The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) regulates care homes and inspects every care home registered by them. Any registered care provider must, by law, have a complaints procedure. Services have rules about the staff they employ and the standards of care they provide.
To make a complaint, call the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) helpline on 0845 015 0120.
Most local authorities have procedures for investigating cases of abuse, and you can complain to the council about any services they provide.
· Find your local authority
· Standards of care and how to make a complaint on the Commission for Social Care Inspection website (opens new window)
If you or a relative is in hospital and not being cared for properly you can make a complaint to the NHS.
· Making a complaint to the NHS (opens new window)
Full-text from Direct Gov.Uk Source
September 3, 2007
'More than half of nurses would not report the abuse of an elderly person in their care, according to a survey published today. The poll of NHS and private sector nurses, conducted for Help the Aged, found that a lack of training, heavy workloads and fear of confrontation or of upsetting the victim all prevent nurses taking action.
The findings come amid growing evidence that elder abuse is a widespread problem in families, care homes and hospitals. A study by the National Centre for Social Research and Kings College London suggested that 342,000 older people living in private households are subject to some form of mistreatment every year in the UK. '
Obviously, there must be support for nurses. It would be unthinkable to load these care workers with more paper work; on top of an already heavy workload.
The public MUST take action in lobbying politicians to act on such issues. Given proper support and training, care-workers in residential homes are valuable in any attempts at reducing/preventing elder abuse.
Some suggestions on documenting suspected elder abuse:
Documenting Your Complaint, Obtaining Records
There may be times when you have questions about the care of your elderly loved one in a nursing home or other residential care facility that have not been adequately addressed by the staff. We suggest that you ask for and obtain copies of his or her chart and records. If you later seek assistance outside the facility, these items could prove invaluable in backing up any complaint. Reading the chart may also give you a better idea of the level of care that your loved one is receiving.
Keep records of your own. Write down the date, time, place, and people involved in any questionable incident as well as your observations of your loved one’s health. With his or her permission, take photographs of any physical indications of abuse or neglect such as bedsores or bruises. This evidence could be useful should you later feel the need to pursue a legal action.
Details are important. For example, it is not enough to state that it takes too long for a bedridden nursing home resident to contact an aide. A better description might include the length of time that passed before an aide answered the call button, the time and date of the occurrence, the aide’s name, the number of staff on duty, and whether your elderly relative needed to be helped to the toilet. Other observations may include the cleanliness of your loved one’s clothes, room and bed. Remember that your detailed observations may later prove useful in improving your relative’s living conditions. (Source )
September 1, 2007
By Anuj Chopra, The Christian Science Monitor India August 27, 2007
Ananta Khuduskar says his son has abandoned him with little money.Tarabai Godbole vividly remembers the proud moment when she gave birth 50 years ago. But now, in her twilight years, Ms. Godbole's pride is sobered by her feelings of rejection from her own child. Two years ago, at the age of 75 and after the death of her husband, Godbole was left by her daughter in an old age home run by the city's Radha Medical Trust. For the first two months, her daughter visited her regularly and paid for her medical expenses. But then the visits stopped, and the trust says Godbole's daughter can't be found. "You become a burden on your kids when you grow old," Godbole says.
As a rapidly urbanizing India sees its social landscape shift away from traditional family bonds, the country's once-revered elders are becoming increasingly marginalized. The swelling ranks of middle-class children are moving out of their parents' homes to live independently or go overseas for better employment opportunities, leaving the elderly at home. To offer legal recourse to people like Godbole, the Indian government introduced a bill this year that would make it a legal obligation for children, heirs, or relatives to provide financial assistance to senior citizens. Such a law would take India's traditionally strong sense of filial obligation into the stricter territory of legal statute. "India is losing its family values," says Sumangala Gokhale, president of the International Longevity Center's office in Pune. "Children move out as soon as they become financially independent." Along with its changing social dynamics, India is also witnessing a demographic shift. While its population remains predominantly young, the office of the Registrar General of India forecasts that people over the age of 60 will make up more than 12 percent of the population by 2026 – up from nearly 7 percent in 2001.
Loneliness a problem for India's seniorsSurveys among India's elderly have found that due to abandonment or gross neglect by children, India's elderly suffer from loneliness and isolation.
Full-text: Click Here
Sadly, other countries around the world may have to take similar approach to ensure that children and heirs of senior citizens do not abandon their parents.
Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.