Year The Abuse Occurred/Began1999
Type of Abusefinancial, neglect
My First Experience with Elder Abuse 1999
Elder abuse was never in my vocabulary. As a child and young adult, all of my older relatives were treated with respect and dignity and usually lived with one of their adult children.
I got my first glimpses of elder abuse when my dad was moved to a nursing home. An attorney gave the advice to my mom to impoverish him so he could qualify for MediCal, thus leaving the assets to cover my mom's care later. I do not recommend or condone this practice of “intentionally impoverishing” an elder to qualify for MediCal/Medicaid.
The nursing home was awful. Staff neglected and ignored residents leaving them unkept and in pain. Communication was very difficult as most staff didn't speak English, they was unresponsive and uninvolved- no quality care. Dad was transferred to the hospital several times due to neglect and poor care. The nursing home staff also stole my dad’s wedding ring and other personal belongings.
At the time, my family and I lived a plane ride away, but visited every month for over a year. I didn't know I could report the neglect. Even if I had reported the abuse, I learned later during my 2nd experience with EA, that no one would have done anything to intervene.
How could my brilliant and kind Dad, a graduate of CalTech who worked with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and on the Manhattan Project, end up in a disgusting, poorly run nursing home? It was heartbreaking. Ten years later, I would learn more about the hidden crime of elder abuse and how apathetic law enforcement, financial institutions, elder law attorneys and reporting agencies are in America and worldwide.
I felt helpless. My only sibling (who would later exploit my mom) was always indifferent and of no support. Mom was having a hard time dealing with the situation. This experience enlightened me about ageism and the way we discard and ignore our elder population.
Watching my dad decline and eventually die, was devastating. Thankfully. I have my favorite memories: his excitement over becoming a GrandDad, watching him as a Tournament of Roses “white suiter”, teaching me to sail, and he always drove me to the vet when it was time to say good bye to my pets- even as an adult.
My Dad made significant contributions to our hometown, Pasadena, and later in the beginning of the tech industry boon in Silicon Valley and adored his family. Eighteen years have passed since he passed and I still hurt thinking about his last years. Elder abuse can happen to anyone, it doesn't discriminate.
Our elders deserve to age with dignity. And if they are abused or exploited, they deserve justice. If you suspect abuse, report it- and if you are ignored, contact the media, your elected officials and post your story here on Ageless Alliance’s “Share your Story” as well as other social media outlets.
Part 2 of my story will be about the exploitation and abuse of my Mom.