Welcome to the Consumer Voice Residents' Rights Month Resident Voice Entries page. As stories and entries from our network of residents and providers come in, we will conitnue to post them on this page. Please check back periodically to find and read some amazing entries submitted from around the nation.
Let everyone know
To act properly with class
Abuse is no fun
You can help others
By counseling them to stop
Because words can hurt
Stop the abuse now
You can hurt people like me
Learn to be wiser
Please don't abuse me
Instead of using your hand
Think before you act
It will save a life
No need to abuse others
Enjoy our love
Do not abuse me
Think of yourself in my shoes
Be kind sincere and loving
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Speak out and say something. It is not alright to abuse others.
We have our rights!
Speak out against abuse. Tell the person it is not right.
We have our rights!
If you see an abuse, let family know.
We have rights here at Hale Anuenue.
I Count on Kindness
I feel safe where I live
It's the feeling others give
When they help from the heart,
Every day, from the start.
These angels seem to say...
That I matter in every way.
They help each other get it right,
Treating me special, day and night.
They let me think and choose the way
To enjoy my life, and have my say
If I feel pain or risk or fear,
These dear souls are always near.
If I were ever ignored or harmed,
My caring team would be well armed.
I'd tell my story to any one,
And they would assure that the pain is done.
Each helper knows how much I need
To trust the ones who bathe and feed.
I count on kindness they always share,
And I know my life is filled with care.
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Crossing the Line
A= Always treat others the way you want to be treated! No one should touch you or anyone else without your permission.
B= Be aware that a lot of elders are unable to speak up for themselves. Advocate, be the voice for others.
U= You cannot always recognize signs of abuse. It can be verbal, mental or physical.
S= SPEAK UP! Make people aware of the situation.
E= Everyone needs to report abuse, to an “appropriate person.”
Be Aware!! This could be you…or your mom…or your dad…or your sister….or your brother…or your grandmother…or your grandfather…or your friend….or your neighbor! Speak up, do this for the ones you love!
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Elder Abuse – Mean, not necessary, should never happen, pain, people trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do, reality for some.
It is important to speak out on the issue of Elder Abuse because it is the reality for some and if we don’t speak out then actions can’t happen for those causing the abuse. You must speak out if not for yourself then maybe for someone else, and people have to better educated on the issue, and need to be more mindful of it; and the severity of the actions of abuse. If you know of someone or have reasons to believe that an elder is being abused it’s important to report it so that it stops. Speaking out could save a life if not your own.
We can encourage others to speak out about elder abuse by first educating others, and to give examples of what is abuse; is both physical and mental. We can be a shoulder for someone to lean on or an ear for someone to talk to who is or maybe knows of someone experiencing abuse.
Facilities, families and communities can do many things to lower the risk of or to prevent elder abuse from happening in their homes, nursing homes or communities such as have a zero tolerance for any such behavior so staff knows from the beginning that any such behavior is not allowed or accepted by any one person. Talk about the subject on regular basis, have regular discussions with staff on the issue of elder abuse, and ask for their input into the topic. Host a large community based meeting with your town officials and government officials and choose a different topic for each meeting, feed them and they will come, play games and make such a serious topic something of interest to help draw in a crowd. Never be a afraid to speak out; know that you are never alone.
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Most people have some idea about what they consider abuse but most often they associate it with Child Abuse. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or neglectful. While it is true that nearly everyone has heard the term “Child Abuse”—unfortunately, too few understand that the elderly can also be abused by the same people who abuse children in the very same ways. For, with the elderly as with children, many cannot speak out or are afraid of retribution or not being believed. (The child is making it up just to get attention and the elderly are “just getting more senile”).
Often the role-reversal that comes about when the adult child has to become “parent” to his or her own Mother or Father becomes a “hot bed” for unintentional Elder Abuse. This may be in the form of neglect as the child hardly ever visits or calls the parent (“Why call Daddy? He can’t hear on the phone anyway.” ) Then send frequent cards or letters-- if a parent is unable to read them someone will gladly read them for him. And you can bet that if/WHEN families DO visit they will see those cards proudly displayed for all to see.
The most frequent kind of abuse of elders in a Long Term Living setting is, in this writer’s opinion, emotional abuse. And rarely is this abuse intentional on the part of the “relative-in-charge!” Our children have not walked in our shoes and do not realize how infinitely painful it is for a parent to be talked to and treated like a 2-year-old! Yes, we may be more forgetful and less responsible than in the past. And, yes, we may require more attention from our families when we were once the ones GIVING the attention. But we have grown-up feelings and having these things brought to our attention usually in “an angry parent voice” as though we are a “TERRIBLE TWO” leaves a pain in our hearts that can never be repaired. I understand the anger and resentment and even the grief this situation causes both generations. Often this situation can be remedied by calm, unemotional communication between the generations. For in nearly all cases the love is absolutely there! JUST CONTINUE TO GIVE US THE DIGNITY WE ALL DESERVE UNTIL THE DAY WE DIE—PLEASE!!! We have had to give up so much else!
I have been very fortunate in that I have not seen Elder Abuse in my long-term care home. I would encourage staff (who are admittedly very busy!) to take a few spare moments to chat with residents they know are lonely—just talk about the weather if nothing else! Volunteers can be encouraged to visit people the staff knows never get company. We ALWAYS love to brag on and share memories of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Or to remember the spouse we loved for many years and is now gone. And, please, never forget how important a simple touch when you see us. Most of us crave it!
To paraphrase Smokey the Bear: “only YOU can prevent Elder Abuse!
Fortunately, I’ve never experienced or witnessed elder abuse first hand. But I have heard about it. I believe it’s important to raise awareness about elder abuse so that we can help prevent it from ever happening again. The more we talk about it, the more people will become aware, and reach out and help someone.
One way as residents that we can encourage others within the facility is to talk about this issue, perhaps during Resident Council. We need to raise the topic because others might be too afraid to speak up.
I realize that there are many types of abuse, such as neglect, rudeness, not feeling as if we can say what’s on our mind. Talking about it at Resident Council, during group activities, hopefully will raise awareness within the facility, families, and the community.
I have never come in contact with elder abuse, but I realize there are other people who might not be able to speak up for themselves. There are elders who can’t speak for themselves, they might not have the capacity to talk anymore, and that’s why I’m glad that I can speak for myself and perhaps speak up for someone else.
I would always encourage a fellow resident to talk to a staff member if they’re unhappy about their treatment, as I would do. We talk to each other at the dining table and during activities, and this could be a good opportunity to bring this topic up. I hope I can help others by my example. I’m glad others are thinking and talking about this. It makes me feel good knowing that other people care.
People should never suffer abuse, it just shouldn’t happen. We don’t like to think that it happens, but we know it does. But talking about it makes folks aware. I’ve never suffered abuse, but I always speak up for myself. If a nurse’s aide is new, I always talk to them and tell them what my special needs are. Making your preferences clear is important, and you have to speak up for yourself.
Resident Council is a good forum for talking about our needs. We need to educate folks that abuse comes in different forms. If your call light isn’t answered, and you feel ignored, or if someone’s been rude, that’s abuse. I feel safe, and I’m grateful for that. But I’m sorry for anyone who can’t get help.
Making elders feel safe is an important issue. We’ve given our lives to our families and communities - and now when we can’t fend for ourselves, it’s important to know that we can count on other people. I think a good way to promote this issue is through television and advertising. Perhaps it would encourage people to think about their neighbors – encourage them not to be too shy to check in on them from time to time. Churches and community leaders could organize groups to go out and visit people, both in facilities and in the community.
There are many important issues in the world, but helping people who can’t speak for themselves is paramount.
Resident Names: From Lakeside Care Center in Dunedin, FL: Paula Jacobs, Louis Paolinetti, and Mary Rollyson; From New Port Inn in New Port Richey, FL: Judith Ann Edwards, Marguerite Espelin, Elene Howard, Petra Irizarry, Meritta Kinser, Edward Nitsche and Merle Ortiz; From The Oaks of Clearwater in Clearwater, FL: John Fenick, Joan Frahn, Sheila Gray, Mildred Matusik, Virginia Miqnacca, Dorothy Norton, Patricia Mae Smith and Regina Richardson; From Southern Pines Healthcare Center in New Port Richey, FL; Diana Kelly, Debra Lake, Fredrick Melendez, and Patricia Ingarelli; From Villa Rose in New Port Richey, FL: Judy Buskirk and Ruth Vospar
Facility Name: Pasco and North Pinellas District-Wide Resident Council (DWRC), Florida
From left to right: Paula Jacobs of Lakeside Oaks Care Center in Dunedin, FL; Mildred Matusik, Virginia Miqnacca & Horatio the Dog from The Oaks of Clearwater in Clearwater, FL; Fredrick Melendez from Southern Pines Healthcare Center in New Port Richey, FL
On July 11, 2013, the Pasco and North Pinellas District-Wide Resident Council met to discuss "Speak Out Against Elder Abuse!" and listen to the story of abuse and triumph of Horatio the dog from teh Area Agency on Aging. Below are the highlights of the councils discussion:
Have you ever experienced having to speak out against elder abuse?
A neighbor spoke out for me. I wasn't abused but looked abused due to bruising. State workers came to check on me several times to make sure I was okay.
I had a $200 camera taken from under my pillow by a caregiver.
In the 1970s, my grandmother was a double amputee. She was put in a nursing home and within a week, she had a bedsore.
I experienced verbal abused.
Why do you think it's important to speak out against elder abuse?
It is important to help other people.
Speaking out about abuse will prevent others from becoming victims.
I think if one person speaks out, the word gets around and encourages others to speak out.
It is important to report abuse to keep it from happening again.
How can you encourage others to speak out against elder abuse?
Confidentiality is an important issue in reporting abuse.
You should talk with people about their feelings, be a friend, tell them it's okay to report abuse.
Let people know that it is safe to speak up.
What could facilities, families and communities do to make residents feel safe and know that their right to be free from abuse is supported?
In their facility newsletter and the communities', post a phone number to call if they are experiencing abuse.
If families visit more, the residents will feel more comfortable.
Staff should keep an eye on the residents to make sure they are not abused.
Have group meetings to discuss the issue and make sure everyone knows how to report abuse