Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Older People Really do Deserve Protection

"Bernice Vickers didn't deserve to die like that."

Vickers' landlord Gerald Feder made that comment after the 90-year-old woman was found dead last week in her Belleville apartment. She'd been dead at least 12 hours; her daughter Karen Vickers has been charged with criminal neglect.
As if that isn't bad enough, the system that is set up to help defenseless, elderly people like Bernice Vickers failed to protect her.

Illinois' Department on Aging was alerted at least three months prior to Vickers' death about concerns for her well-being, then again a month before she died. The Belleville Police confirm that at least two reports were made to the elder abuse hotline.
The department's web site promises an investigation within, at most, seven days of a complaint. But seemingly officials did nothing, at least nothing of consequence.
The department now is conveniently hiding behind confidentiality laws. The reason for the secrecy, we're told, is to protect the identity of the people who report suspected abuse as well as the victims.

Well, Bernice Vickers is beyond needing protection, and at least one person who called the hotline has identified himself. So who exactly is the state trying to protect?
The public deserves to know why the system failed, and what will be done to ensure it doesn't happen again. Because no other elderly person deserves the same fate as Bernice Vickers.

2 comments:

Appalled said...

This is another example of the State's social welfare departments dropping the ball. Apparently they (Department of Aging) don't care about old people, just as Children and Family Services don't care about children.

Posted by: Appalled

Anonymous said...

You really don't expect the government buearacrats to do anything, do you?

Posted by: Anyother department to be cut