Thursday, November 8, 2007

Someone to Watch Over Me!

Ruth Eglash writes in the Jerusalem Post about Care Givers and
Elder Abuse in this feature:Someone to watch over me.

JERUSALEM, Israel , November 5, 2007:With her regular caregiver on vacation, the family of 96-year-old Sara believed that the agency-appointed replacement would have little problem picking up the reins.

However, less than a week after the new caregiver started, Sara's grandson, David, got an urgent call from a neighbor telling him that something was not right at his grandmother's place.

"The neighbor called me at 11 p.m. She said that all the lights were still on in my gran's apartment and that the front door had been left open," begins David, 31, who lives a 20-minute drive from Sara's Bat Yam apartment. "I raced over there and found my gran in a terrible state.

She had been drugged with sleeping pills and was totally incoherent. I tried to help her into bed, but she kept falling over. Her apartment was a filthy mess, with trash and diapers everywhere."

David, whose parents do not live in the country, helped his grandmother back to bed and then waited for the caregiver, a foreign worker from Russia, to return. "I had already decided that I was not going to let this woman into the house again after what she'd done," he recalls. "She came back at 1 a.m., with a strange man and the two started banging on the door and shouting to be let in.

I refused to open the door and then I called the police." While the man ran away, the police eventually allowed the caregiver into the apartment to gather her things before David told her to get out and never come back. "She was either stoned or drunk," he says.

"Either way, she was totally out of it. I still can't believe that someone could have done this to my gran. She is 96 years old and totally helpless." The next day, Sara's family contacted the manpower agency that had provided the replacement caregiver. "They had little sympathy," remembers David. "They just said that they'd never had complaints about the woman before and that they would send us another replacement.

This time, however, my aunt who lives here met with the new woman before letting her start work. We learned our lesson." Sara, thanks to her family and vigilant neighbors, had a lucky escape, but Shoshana Birenbach was not so fortunate. On October 27, the 76-year-old was found strangled in her Holon apartment with her Moldovan caretaker being labeled by police as the prime suspect.

Investigators believed that the caregiver had choked Birenbach to death, set her apartment on fire and then tried either to commit suicide or to flee the arriving emergency squads. WHILE experts working with the elderly note that Birenbach's case was extreme and that Sara's negligent treatment at the hands of a foreign caregiver is not a regular occurrence, they do admit that incidents of abuse against the elderly by their primary caregivers are on the rise.

Post by Andrew.- Source: Seniors World Chronicle

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