Saturday, November 13, 2010

Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009 Needs to Pass

Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009 Needs Senate Vote & Obama’s Signature to Pass

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) was recently defeated in Pennsylvania’s senatorial race. His Elder Abuse Victim’s Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Here’s the information:

“House of Representatives HR 448: Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009: To protect seniors in the United States from elder abuse by establishing specialized elder abuse prosecution and research programs and activities to aid victims of elder abuse, to provide training to prosecutors and other law enforcement related to elder abuse prevention and protection, to establish programs that provide for emergency crisis response teams to combat elder abuse, and for other purposes.

"Feb 11, 2009: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority. This usually occurs for non-controversial legislation. The totals were 397 Ayes, 25 Nays, 10 Present/Not Voting”

[see link:]

The above is one of many already passed Congressional bills awaiting passage by the U.S. Senate. Once HR 448 is passed it can be signed into law; its Democratic legislation introduced by Democrat Sestak and passed by a Democratic House of Representatives and it's now awaiting a Democratic Senate majority to vote on it. Then it goes to the Democratic president to sign it into law.

IMPORTANT: We STILL have the same Democratic leadership and the majority until January 1, 2011 that we had prior to the recent election.

They are said to be the lame duck Senate but, to we elder advocates, they are an important group of politicians. They are our duly elected and functioning government and they work for we tax payers & elder advocates....for now. If they want our votes in 2012, they can start to work on obtaining our votes right now by passing HR448.

Most of you will agree with the following: we want our elderly protected.

We have to start somewhere, folks, so let’s be realistic. There is no panacea, no magic bullet to protect senior citizens or any other disenfranchised group. Social change happens slowly. Laws will be built out of horrible and imperfect situations like those we have encountered; it will be trial and error, unfortunately, and this evolvement may span decades.

In fact, in 2002, the American Medical Association said it would be 30-40 more years before awareness about elder abuse reached what it was then for child abuse. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it? If everyone in America knew what we know about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, they would take this more seriously. However, we were the unwillingly “chosen”…we KNOW and because WE KNOW the responsibility falls on us to act.

We need social change and yet "we" don’t want health care or Wall Street, etc. reform with many saying government will be "too big." Let those of us who have had our family members slaughtered by greed keep this in mind when Republicans say they want less government. Could they mean they want less oversight?

Those of us who have seen what leaving the foxes guarding the chicken coup can bring about ought to have some big issues with less oversight. And, perhaps, it may be fairly easy to surmise a possible reason why the Republican Party poured money into the Pennsylvania election to make sure Joe Sestak was defeated.

Let’s get real about this political stuff for just a moment. It took eight years to run the country into a sewer. We elected a man from Chicago, not Oz or the Emerald City, as president. But, we really did expect him to be a magician not a politician, didn't we?

We are a nation that seeks immediate gratification and not the daunting task of commitment to social change and self-examination. Because social changes were addressed the “dogs of war” have been set upon Obama and he has been called a “socialist.”

The truth is our government has two huge socialist programs that have been and remain successful for over 60 years. They are Medicare and Social Security. Do you want to change them or remove them because they are socialist? Do you know that every country in the world has socialistic programs that were brought about for a more humane society?

Are social workers socialists? They're certainly highly respected professionals and they’re in the trenches with us...thank God for the ones that were with me in Walterboro, South Carolina when my father met with an untimely end. Paradise Costs would have never been written if it weren't for them. I remember one named Linda who said to me: "Irene, don't you see why this is happening to your family? You're a writer; the pen is mightier than the sword. Write about this." She encouraged me to reframe what was happening to my family under some ugly and dire circumstances.

Most social workers urge us to change, too. They want us to understand that if we keep doing the same thing, the same thing is going to happen. We can sit here at this blog and discuss our personal tragedies, try to re-invent "the wheel," we can think magically about the future, we can bicker, we can attempt to infuse our fractured and dysfunctional society with fantasy about our imperfect union or pie-in-the-sky thoughts about capitalism with morals or we can do something and comfort ourselves by knowing we tried everything we could to make a difference.

Think please? We have 3 Democratic legislative bodies (House, Senate and President) and some already written legislation, let’s pour the pressure on the lame ducks to “grow a pair” and do the job we elected them to do.

Yes, elder advocates will argue that this is wrong and that is wrong with the above legislation just as they did with the Elder Justice Act…but, listen, it’s a start and we have to start somewhere and why not now?

It’s really, really simple and it's in this moment.

You’re part of the problem or you're part of the solution.

Pick a side right now.

People who want to be part of a possible solution click on this link
and look up your senators’ phone numbers (you have 2 U.S. Senators)
and call his or her office every day until December 31, 2010 if need be
and tell him/her to vote “yes” on HR 448. Please ask your friends to do

Here’s the White House’s number: 202-456-1111;
call the President's staff everyday...see above.

I will be calling my senators (both Democrats), tomorrow and everyday from now until December 31, 2010 to say, “Please pass HR 448 or I'll never vote Democrat again and I can promise you I will tell everyone of the 78 million baby-boomers I can possibly reach that you and your colleagues turned your backs on us.”

And while I have your attention can I please tell each of you something else that's critically important?

Please don’t view yourselves as victims. Empower yourself and see yourself as a pioneer, a champion of the elderly and an advocate taking a proactive stance.

Every one of you is an awesome spirit having the human experience that's been tainted for some reason by this horrendous social ill called elder abuse. Reframe it?

You are more powerful than you know. God, in His wisdom, has chosen each of us to make a difference and lead the way by sharing our expanding consciousness about elder care issues. Do it!

And as the famous poem says, "...whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy."

For those who still need a little more inspiration, please see this link & have your speakers on:


Irene A. Masiello
Author: Paradise Costs-A Victim’s Daughter
Fights Back against Elder Abuse
Afterword: Rabbi Bennett Blum, M.D.

©Copyright November 2010-Irene A. Masiello-All rights reserved

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very confusing subjects but will do my best to explain a very important fact. The District Attorney's office and the Probate Court (at least here in California) have a signed agreement, which I saw a few years ago, agreeing to stay out of each others jurisdictions. Crime will not be involved with Probate and Probate will not be involved in Crime. If the elder abuse is occurring within the conservator, guardian or probate, the district attorney will not investigate. If Elder Abuse is first investigated by the district attorney, the elder abuse turns the case over to the public guardians office or the court appointed conservator. It's a win win for the predators. I cannot find that agreement again. I have looked and looked. I had it sent to me by another victim but since have thrown it away. Wish I would have kept it. Hindsight is always 20/20. If any of you have any idea how to access or research the laws and agreements put in place by our courts, please let us all know. When I mentioned this to an investigator for our local television station, he told me I am correct in this statement but I would love to have the supporting evidence when I tell people this fact.
The laws that are being passed, will not lead to any protection until these agreements are done away with!