Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letters to Editor from Irene Masiello

Dear Ray,

I hope you are well. I'm so sorry to hear that this fight for the seniors of our country has left you drained. I completely understand as it's what compelled me to drop the issue.

Having taking over 10 years to research, write and publish my book, "Paradise Costs-A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse," I recognize that God has granted me the peace to accept that I cannot change anyone but myself. Having done that,I realized that continuing the battle is fruitless.

I've had people from all over the country mistake me for their therapist and take hours of my time for their catharsis. I have found that most people need a member of the clergy to talk with and I have experienced their demands for my time as burdensome.

Everyone thinks their situation is unique. It's not. Everyone thinks their need to vent is a priority in my can't be. I have found people think that because my father was a victim, so am I. It's not so. I have found that people want me to listen but they don't want to buy my book.

Writing Paradise Costs was my took years and years and great personal sacrifice. I was also blessed so deeply with help and love from many including Dr. Bennett Blum who contributed so much through his generous heart to make readers aware.

At the core of elder abuse is greed...think big pharma, big oil, health insurance,the tobacco's the mantra of today's society....get more and do anything to get it. It's the transfer of wealth from the babyboomer's parents and transfer it to anyone who can steal it and, like the above, it's a big business.

Fundmentally, as I look back, I see that people don't want's easier to "marry their victimhood" and dump their issues on to someone else.

Since EA is number one in search engines I want to offer you my deepest respect for a job well done. I want to offer your readers a passage from my book and a warning. Just the way other social ills and big businesses have eventually fallen, so will this. There is a universal law that addresses this: "what goes around comes around"

To those who abuse, let this serve as a warning and let those who think they can get a free pass in their "victimhood" remember that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Ray and I chose to be part of the solution but you won't listen...
therefore, here's reminder:

"No matter what the laws of the land are regarding elder abuse or exploitation,understanding and correcting the complex dynamics of these types of crimes will involve taking action while increasing education, improving mental health and examining one of the vast social ills that lie at its core…greed.

Materialism and its mantra–“dying with the most toys"—has reached the saturation point having generated nothing but hatred, frustration, social unrest, war, near destruction of our planet and,now, economic chaos. It’s a dangerous and endless spiral leading to an abyss of human misery and spiritual degradation—a murky, meaningless blind alley of unconsciousness leading humanity and the earth to the brink of annihilation. It’s imperative that we expand our perspective to a more universal understanding of a transcendental tapestry where we are united with each other and, ultimately, nature.

And as a society,it is our moral responsibility to weave the treads of empathy, compassion,
decency, equality and human rights into every fiber of our civilization to create a future safe rom exploitation or abuse for every citizen.

Meanwhile, the painful reality remains…predators stalk the innocent and the most vulnerable
are their victims. Those at risk or victimized, especially the elderly, cannot understand the lurking dangers, walk a picket line of protest, tackle the issues of crime and violence
aggressively nor lobby in Washington.

In view of the above, it may make sense, as suggested by a reader of the first edition of
Paradise Costs whose deceased brother was a victim, that elder abusers be legally compelled to register like child abusers.

Sadly, the elderly serve to remind us of our own mortality with so few of us comfortable
with this inevitable fact of life. The peripheral issue of denial (another deadly social ill)deepens the complexity of the issues.

And in the meantime, victims die ignored, quietly stripped of their dignity and right to life and, often times, in plain sight. Too many line up for the spoils of crimes and dignify their participation with a litany of excuses after what is, realistically, looting the assets of the vulnerable. Accountability must be put in place in a system that fails for 
too many reasons with those proven responsible facing harsh penalties including criminal charges, incarceration, suspension of professional licenses, fines, restitution, etc.

It’s vital that the issues mentioned above and demonstrated throughout the pages that
follow be viewed as a violation of human rights and solutions be vigorously pursued as
such. Paradise Costs is a social and humanitarian movement in book form urging evolution
of consciousness to address serious issues now before a worst case scenario manifests the projected numbers and beyond into reality we as a civilized nation cannot nor will not tolerate.

It is to that end this book was written. This is a proactive rally against the painful
lessons taught by my own personal history, one many of us can relate to, and by other catastrophic world events that are remembered as blights upon humanity.

Apathy and denial always costs in this “paradise” known as democracy and everywhere else on our planet.

As President John F. Kennedy once said, 'Let us resolve to be masters,not victims, of our history….' "

To all you who read this or find this on the Net...aging is the great equalizer.

Victimhood is a choice (see JFK's quote above). Do nothing and you are part of the problem.
Do something and you are part of the solution.

Donate to the Elder Justice Coalition TODAY and maybe you won't be a victim in the future. Complain? Do it to you local politician otherwise get ready, you just might be next victim.

Thinking it can't happen to you is DENIAL and it's not a river in Egypt.

(c) October 2010 - All rights reserved -Irene A. Masiello Author: Paradise Costs- A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse Afterword by: Bennett Blum, M.D.

"Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has"


Anonymous said...

This is one of the best posts I have seen. I too can sincerely appreciate the victim burnout syndrome and often want to just walk away from the battle for constructive reform. It often seems we are just spinning our wheels. The State and Federal governments know there is a problem with elder abuse and guardianship abuse but are just not interested enough to do anything about it. I guess old people just don't matter in this country.

L Ring

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this, Ray.

What Ms. Masiello has to say is so true in every aspect.
We all have our story.

I do think what Janet is doing for the cause is great! We all need to be involved and help in every way. As a group, we can make a difference.

I am disappointed in the report by the GAO. Their findings are such a small part of the problem but it's a start.

Like Ms. Masiello, I have listened to stories from victims who thought their problems were unique. We have all been victimized but what I have gone through, and am going through, doesn't compare to what my father experienced in his final days by these professional abusers. How sad.

Again, thank you to you and Ms. Masiello for sharing this truth.

Anonymous said...

On Irene’s comments, I largely agree with what she said. As this group wants to move into new paths of activity, it also brought to mind the helpfulness of strategically thinking about one’s activism. With regard to victims, this is an emotion-driven issue. In today’s society, too many people largely want an easy answer and, especially with this, it doesn’t exist. I have a “no magic bullet” response that I go through when contacted by people many of which I never hear from again and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As Irene indicated, if allowed, people will consume the life of a stranger wanting attention for their own problems with little interest past their own situation. An effective advocate has to be able to open dialogue enough to learn about various situations in order to increase their knowledge/contact base without getting bogged down in the thankless and non-productive position of being providing free therapy. That may sound hard-hearted and be offensive to some, but it’s reality. This past weekend I had an interesting conversation with someone who has does p.r. work in the public policy sector including having spent several years working for one of the country’s most high profile issue advocacy organizations – a group that I don’t always agree with, but absolutely respect what they have done with regard to defining, educating, advocating and maintaining their issue. My friend confirmed many of my observations/thoughts and provided other good points for consideration.

As Latifa also said, burn-out does happen. From my perspective and experience, it’s why pacing oneself in any activist role is critical – easier said than done, but nonetheless critical. I understand someone electing to move out of an issue even after years of respectable efforts. I don’t know everyone else’s background, but I’ve been involved with different issues over the years and have friends/associates who work various causes. It’s both common and, I think, perfectly okay to sometimes say it’s now another person’s turn to pick up the torch. I hope Irene’s comments will be used as food for thought.

Janet Phelan said...

The difference between the government not caring and tacitly supporting and endorsing abuse needs to be examined and clarified. As we have government (ie, police, APS, etc) refusing to investigate reported crimes against elders and disabled we must come to see that what we have is systemic abuse,which is sanctioned and through inaction, supported and endorsed.

These are two very different things. To say the "government doesn´t care" and to take the step to realize that the government does care,and cares to ensure that the abuse is ongoing, is to make the leap between a reformer and a revolutionary.

And I am not talking about any kind of violence or overthrow. I am talking about a revolution in our way of thinking,where we come to an honest assessment of our predicament. Without such a thorough and fearless understanding, no real change can occur.

Janet Phelan