Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alzheimer's and Elder Abuse

There is a plea to put this film up and get people talking about elder abuse at this brilliant blog.

I will tell you a story. My parents and grandparents were older when they birthed. My grandparents were all born in the 1800s and I never met them, as they passed on before my birth. My parents acted very much as grandparents rather than parents for me. I had a fascination with my elders. I sought knowledge in a faster form and there is no faster form than talking to those who lived the experience and accrued knowledge in many decades on the earth.

Three of my siblings were a year apart in age. They all three worked as nursing aids at a local nursing home in Fairfax, Virginia. I remember as a kid going there often and brushing women's hair, painting their nails, singing for them, playing card games. It was my favorite getaway and they were so happy to have a little kid visitor and I was thrilled to have their full attention since my family ignored my presence. I asked them about historic events and how they ended up in their chosen professions. I wanted to know so much and I felt a hurried rush to get the information before it was gone.

My sisters and brother eventually went on to other jobs, but one sister continued to be a nurse's aide. One time, she took me on a job interview to a nursing home in Fairfax that she wanted to work at. I went with her and the supervisor on a tour. I was absolutely horrified. The supervisor took us into a room of an elderly patient where they had her on her side on the bed and leaned a lamp up against a pillow, the bulb right near the sores on the woman's buttocks. It was their way of treating bed sores. The supervisor casually mentioned, "you have to take a lot of bad stuff. One patient the other day had a necrosed toe and she removed it and put it on her dresser. We try to turn the patients often enough to not get bedsores, but it's an impossible chore, so we use the bulbs to heat the sores and heal them quicker."

Needless to say, that was not a place my sister wanted to work. I was thrown into a knowledge I had never imagined, that caretakers would take the most precious resource our country has and neglect it and even abuse it.

It's still a reality and it takes active family members to be on top of such issues. This is a cause I'm behind. You should be behind it too. Some day, it may be you.


  1. Thanks for putting this up. It really is a good cause, but we'd rather pretend it is not an issue.

  2. Good article and thanks a lot for placing my short film here.
    I hope it will cause more awareness.