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AMAC: Elder Abuse is The Nation’s Dirty Little Secret

dan-weber‘We must bring this disgraceful crime wave out into the open’ – 

BOHEMIA, NY, July 5 – You are more likely to read or hear about the granny who fought off an attacker than about the more than 6 million seniors who are victims of elder abuse each year, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

“In fact,” Weber said, “the national media virtually ignored Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June, an event designed to bring attention to what is considered the nation’s dirty little secret that has serious psychological and physical implications for America’s senior citizens.”

The actor, Mickey Rooney, made headlines when he testified in Congress in 2011 about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepson and his stepson’s wife who allegedly denied him food and medicine and robbed him of millions of dollars over a period of several years.

In testimony before the Senate Aging Committee Rooney said: “Over the course of time, my daily life became unbearable.  I felt trapped, scared, used and frustrated. But above all, I felt helpless.  For years I suffered silently, unable to muster the courage to seek the help I knew I needed.”

The Pew Research Center has reported that ten thousand Americans will turn 65 years of age each day for the next two decades and the Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that at least 10% of them will be victims of elder abuse.

“These are pretty startling statistics,” Weber commented, noting that “these crimes against the elderly take the form of neglect, physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, in that order.  Yet, for whatever reason, people do not want to talk about them.  But we must bring this disgraceful crime wave out into the open if we, as a nation, hope to stem the tide.”

The experts say that most of older Americans who are victims of abuse live alone and require the help of care givers, but many like Mickey Rooney live with family.  “It’s up to each and every one of us to get involved.  There are many Web sites, such as the National Council on Aging [www.ncoa.org] that offer advice on how friends, neighbors and relatives can read the signs of elder abuse by taking the time to talk and listen to the stories suspected targets have to tell, and then to have the courage to intervene,” Weber explained.

As Rooney told Congress: “Sometimes the transition from being in control of your life to having absolutely no control is swift, but other times it is so gradual that you wonder exactly when it truly began.”

 

NOTE TO EDITORS: Dan Weber is available for telephone interviews on this issue.  Editors/reporters may contact John Grimaldi at 917-846-8485 or jpgrimaldi@verizon.net to set up a call.

 

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital and conservative alternative to those organizations, such as AARP, that dominate the choices for mature Americans who want a say in the future of the nation.  Where those other organizations may boast of their power to set the agendas for their memberships, AMAC takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests, and offering a conservative insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.

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Paulette Metoyer

The problem with elder abuse is the same problem with child abuse, the government agencies to whom this activity is reported ignore it or they perform a perfunctory investigation and then get back with the doctor who reported it to say that there was no basis for concern. When nursing homes abuse elderly patients via policies that allow for false imprisonment there is no one to report it to. As a physician I am no stranger to elder abuse, child abuse and spousal abuse. As a physician I have reported those cases that I can report but when there is institutionalized abuse, such as that which exists in nursing homes and in hospice programs at times, there is basically no where to turn and our legal system is set up to facilitate abuse as most of the abusers have obtained the legal authority to make decisions for the elderly in… Read more »

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YouKidsNever

I don’t think this is underaddressed. What is underaddressed is the elderly who are verbally and emotionally abusive and demanding. I would love to be there for my mother, but every time I go to see her she goes on the attack – about me about my brothers and sisters (who have all given up on dealing with her already), about everything. She has done this for as long as I can remember. Nothing is ever enough – when she was so sick and I was going up 3-4 times a week it wasn’t enough. I cannot tell you how devastating it’s been.

Jean

I briefly worked in a nursing home after I retired from my regular job. I thought I would help out the elderly. The other younger people who worked there were so hateful to me that I quit. It was unbearable and I was a fellow employee. I hope I die before I have to go into a place like that. It’s the worst situation we have in this country. I don’t understand why we can’t do more about this. People should be prosecuted for this!!
Jean

Ellen A

first let me say, I have never responded to anything like this, but feel I need to tell my story, maybe it will help someone else. A big problem is that when Elder Abuse is reported, it it like knocking your head against a brick wall. I tried for over 5 years to get Elder Abuse charges against my sister who was verbally, emotionally and physically abusing our parents. She was living with them and supposedly helping take care of them, she would threaten them demean them and call them all kinds of names. She even threatened to beat them in the head with a baseball bat while they were asleep, they would put a chair unter the doorknob when they went to bed. I would report this to Aging Services and Elder Abuse and they would investigate, then they would ask my parents about what I had reported right… Read more »

Karen

Oh yes. I work as an activity person in an elder care facility. I see the poor and impatient attitudes from healthcare employees that make me sick. They feel overworked,underpaid, and take it out on these precious residents who should have the most tender love and care. I have reported it, complained about it, and do my best to be some sort of an advocate for the most vulnerable . And I do not know where it ends up. I can only hope and pray that I have some difference. Karen

Lynne

I am an RN who has worked with the elderly.

My father-in-law was in a situation in a personal care home that I found unacceptable. This was done by his stepson.

I reported what I believe was abuse to the state regulatory agency and they went in to investigate. Because my father-in-law would not tell them the situation was against his will they would not (or could not?) intervene.

Everyone understands that the abused rarely speak out against the abusers. So what good are the regulatory agencies if they require confirmation from the person being abused??

We have now “rescued” my father-in-law and he is living with us. He thanks us every day.

Pat O'Connor

My MOTHER an RNA of the most noble order was stripped bare naked, tied to the bed & had repeated bi-lateral breast checks on her. I asked LAW ENFORECMENT FOLKS WHY? WHEN MY MOTHER Had been beaten into a QUAD!. The COUNTY NURSING HOME TORTUED MY MOM,& DEFRAUDED HER MEDICARE,& PRIVATE INS.My mother was murdered @ that DEATH KAMP. tHAT NURSING HOME WAS FINED OVER $4,OOO.OO LAST YEAR!!
Pat O’Connor

Jim Edwards

I believe I need to be a member of your organization BUT – I have been a salesman for many years and learned the Benjamin Franklin close. I need reasons to join especially in comparison to AARP. Do you have a comparison to AARP like this? AMAC AARP Topic 1 Yes Yes Topic 2 Yes Yes etc. I don’t know exactly why to join AMAC. I’m 70 and won’t join AARP because I know they are working against me while saying they are helping me.

Izzie

I was a state surveyor for 14 years and went all over the state investigating complaints and inspecting nursing homes. The things we saw as a team were unbelievable! Yes, the homes do bring in extra help when we came in, we recognize that. They are also on their best behavior when we are there. It is very difficult to get residents to complain to us for fear they will get into trouble. Yes, the CNAs, LPNs, RNs and even the administrators threaten the residents if they talk or complain to the surveyors. They have told us so but the staff deny it of course. Some of it stems back to the owners of these nursing homes who will not give the homes enough money in their budget to operate, hire the needed staff or provide quality food for the residents. They are very top-heavy! Not enough care is given… Read more »

Roberta

Having recently gone through the experience of having a close relative in an assisted living facility due to increasing dementia and immobility ( and by the way it was a facility with a fine reputation) I would just point out a few things to look out for even in well-reputed places. First let me say that most facilities require or encourage a significant amount of participation by family members in the care of the person in assisted living, for example, bringing in supplies for daily hygiene from toothpaste and toilet paper to adult diapers. in spite of a huge monthly fee for care. Some expect family to take laundry home while others provide weekly laundry service. It is a good idea to find out exactly how much family members are expected to do, and also what staff will decline to do. For example, it was a sad surprise to me… Read more »

Jan Harper

What is truly disgraceful is the absolute ineptness of the people who are officially supposed to protect the elderly. We reported abuse to Adult Protective Services and they called the person with dementia and asked if she wanted the abusers (who she was living with) to be investigated. They said that privacy made it impossible to even confirm if they had opened a case. Eventually a court case was created in New Mexico. The case never should have come to court. There is not enough space here to spell out all the gory details. In the end many incompetent attorneys spent time (wasted) until the cost to the patient was over $100,000 and the abusers had taken virtually all her goods and over $30,000 in a clever overdraft scheme. She had a heart attack cried oceans of tears out of fear and became even more paranoid than is usual with… Read more »

steve

I believe that elder abuse at the hands of family is far less than that of nursing Homes. The state of nursing homes is a disgrace. The government program of welfare to work is partly to blame for that. The government took a bunch of low lifes and gave them a few weeks of training and then called then CNAs. For every one good CNA there are a hundred low lifes out there killing our love ones. They are lazy and drive off any hard workers that might make them look bad. If the management tries to make them work the bad CNAs will complain until the manager gets fired. The government gives notice of when they plan to visit because they know the result if they arrive un announced. The government knows how bad it is but chooses to look the other way. We can allow OBUTTHEAD to give… Read more »

DLS

I am a long-distance caregiver for my mother, who is only 79. I am her legal guardian due to aphasia, dimentia, and bipolar disorder. Mom is in a modest assisted living facility, where she has been for 2 years. I visit twice a year to take her to doctor appointments (I have 3 brothers who live in her town) and to check on her well-being. Although the facility promised that there would be bus outings, the bus didn’t go out for over a year and a half and now my Mom is “not a candidate” for the infrequent trips it makes. Mom cannot leave the facility without one of her children taking her out. The nursing staff seems to be good but the administrator and aides are questionable. Mom tells me they withhold food sometimes and with her dimentia she is paranoid about stealing so she hides everything in her… Read more »

Jaci

It is difficult enough to find an acceptable facility to care for an aging loved one. Add Alzheimer’s to the picture, and the search can be overwhelming. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with this perplexing disease when in her 60’s, and my brother managed to work until he was 70 in order to keep good insurance. Then he had to retire and stay at home with his wife full time. She doesn’t know him anymore, and she can’t take care of her own physical needs. My brother has to introduce himself every morning, and he has to bathe and dress her. She tells him he is a very nice man, and he is grateful for that. She is beginning to lose her balance and will soon be in a wheelchair. There are no children who can help or give my brother some occasional relief. He is in good physical health, but… Read more »

Peggy

worked in ecf for over 24 years. The staff that care and do the extra for the residents are the ones that aren’t outsides smoking,try other interventions besides drugs, that take time and effort. Then get reprimanded from not getting the work done,taking longer on med pass because they work with that person to see they take the medication on a regular basic instead of getting prn’s to just keep them quiet and not be a problem..In other words be incontient and cared for when staff comes down the line and does their bed check. We that conform to the patient and their desires are ostrichized,wrote up and disciplined by being sent to outpatient mental health sessions, threatened to be fired because we don’t join the others in mistreatment. Don’t make routine visits to your loved ones because they will always be clean, and well dressed at that time. Make… Read more »

Sam Craft

Caring for the elderly really starts with children and how they are raised. We must teach them to respect all people
regardless of age or any other difference there may be. monkey see monkey do. If our children see us as disrespectful
to others than it will be no big deal to them. I had 9 siblings, My oldest sister took care of my mother until she died age 93. Dad died early at age 59. My wife quit work to stay home with my mother-n-law until her death age 83. What a delete it was to be the ones to be there and return the to them the blessings they gave us for many years.

Diane

There is another solution to consider. Adult Daycare programs for seniors. I have my 88 year old father living with me for 9 years now. I work fulltime so I drop him off at daycare on my way to work and pick him up on my way home. He plays games, eats 2 meals plus snacks, sings, watches tv, etc. He has dementia and they help him. Since he isn’t living there like a nursing home situation, there is less stress for everyone concerned – me, my dad, and the daycare staff. The load is spread out , not 24/7 for any of us. Relief is the key to good caregiving and daycare programs do that well. And are cheaper than residential care or in-home private caregiver assistants.

LaDonna M. Guy

I have had contract with 3 homes. One husband was over-medicated, then moved him to Woodside Village, Mt. Gilead,Ohio there I hired a Doctor from Westerville and he finally gave up as they didn’t do as he said and I had to call him twice on cell, decided he wouldn’t come anymore. I moved him then to the Sterling House in Marion and he got the best treatment, that director said “they either treat them like Grandparents or they are out of here” He loved it but died of pneumonia. At Woodside was the worse, I was self pay so they loved that but I ended up being there all day so he would get care. Fell over wheelchairs, knocked out teeth and the pay off was when I was late for breakfast (said he would not eat unless I came” not true as he did fine at Sterling. He… Read more »

KarenFaye

I agree with you, Howard. I, too have heard Mickey Rooney was no “Father Teresa” in his younger days. Elder abuse is more common than not — however, I think more of it occurs in NURSING HOMES than in private homes. I speak from experience – having had several relatives, including my father, in nursing homes. The nurses are usually professional and kind, but the CNA’s, and other workers steal, are physically and mentally abusive, and couldn’t care less about the dignity or feelings of the residents/patients there. I remember one incident clearly — my father was in a wheelchair, but mentally lucid and alert. I came to visit, and he was sitting by his restroom door — and told me he had rung for help about 10 minutes ago and nobody came. I walked to the nurses station and requested someone to take him to the bathroom – please.… Read more »