One of my best friends sent me two separate articles/videos about Elder abuse that absolutely broke my heart. These are our parents, our grandparents and, for some, great grandparents. Why does this go on? How can it happen time and time again? How can we prevent it?
The first article was about a 20-year-old who physically abused a 70-something year old in a nursing home where they were both residents. He absolutely beat the stuffings out of the elder gentleman, and was “bold” enough to record himself while doing so. Thank God he did or this could have gone on for a minute or, perhaps, he would have abused other patients at that facility. The other video was of a granddaughter who spanked her grandmother (with her pants pulled down) for falling asleep holding her baby. The person who was recording the beating, then went over and showed the grandmother how to bend over the chair so that she could be spanked, and it went on from there. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I was so angry and so hurt. How could someone do such a horrible thing? At no point did their minds tell them this was wrong? After all, this was their family! Forgive me, but this really bothers me and I feel like these people should be thrown under the jail. I don’t care what these two people did, there was no reason for them to be treated the way they were!
Sometime later, I was told a story about someone who actually witnessed a staff member beating one of the patients while bathing them. She was afraid to say something for fear of retaliation against her friend, who was a resident, so she said nothing and just turned a blind eye.
I remember an incident when my grandfather was in an assisted living facility. He had to go to the restroom and asked one of the staff to assist him in getting there (he had a walker and wasn’t supposed to walk a distance unassisted). He was told “You have a diaper on, just go on yourself.” My grandfather wasn’t having it and said to her, “If you don’t take me to the bathroom, I’m going to pee on this floor,” and the thing was he absolutely meant it. Why encourage him to wet himself? Then, how long would he have had to sit in his wet, soggy diaper? He had lost everything else in terms of being able to live alone. Why should he have been robbed of his dignity as well? I’m grateful that he spoke up for himself.
Also, our elderly are being raped in some facilities. Are you serious? Can you imagine the absolute fear and horror of these patients who are not “asking for it?” I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it.
Then, you have some families who take in their elderly family members just for the money but are neglecting them by not keeping them properly bathed, clothed or fed. They don’t communicate with them or take them out and about to get some much needed exercise. These are people who have lived their lives, most probably taking care of people during their lifetimes, and now have to depend on those who don’t give two woodles of the dickens about them.
There are families who put their loved ones in nursing homes, and never visit them. Some families feel their “elders” are a nuisance, so they just place them in a facility and go on with their lives never giving care or concern for them. They are just forgotten about. I remember once when I was in my late 20’s and one of my friends’ mother was placed. We were in the area where guests could visit and one of the patient’s was blind. She was asking us questions just to make conversation because she had no one to visit her. The staff member asked her why she was questioning us and then further asked, “Are you writing an article? Why do you need to know?” Well, that ticked me off because we didn’t mind talking to her. What was the harm? Shouldn’t she have been allowed the freedom to talk? I could see if we looked as though we were bothered, but we weren’t.
Now that we’re in a pandemic, people aren’t allowed to visit their loved ones who are in various facilities, and that has to be extremely difficult for them and their family member(s) because they can’t really check on them. They don’t know if they are being treated properly and that has to be worrisome. Honestly, I can’t imagine.
Let me say this, taking care of the elderly is not always an easy task, and it’s not for everyone. However, they don’t deserve to be mistreated. If it’s a family member and you find you can’t take care of them, please say so rather than abusing them. Perhaps, you work at a nursing home facility and are in over your head, please be honest enough with yourself to find a job that you’re more suited for. It could be you or one of your family members being abused.
Even though most families do their best to find great nursing homes for their loved ones, you never know what goes on when you’re not around. Please make yourselves visible. Show them that you didn’t just dump your family member off and ride off into the sunset, but that you do care about them.
My nearly five-year-old granddaughter asked me on yesterday, when we were walking, where was I going to live when I got “old”. I told her that I had no idea. She then asked, “In a hospital” (I’m guessing she was thinking about her great aunt when she asked that question). My response was, “I certainly hope not.” We will all reach that point in life should we live that long wherein that may be a possibility, particularly, if our health is such that our family members can no longer care for us. Honestly, it’s pretty scary when you think about it.
When this pandemic is over, please, please, please go to the nursing homes and assisted living facilities to check on your loved ones to make sure they’re okay.