Monday, December 17, 2007

Today a United Effort is Born Please Send Your Story of Elder Abuse, Exploitation or Neglect.

From this point forward, there will be news about Paradise Costs--A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse as there has been before, but as of today, a group called STOP GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE requested that I put up some of their stories.

This blog is about ELDER ABUSE.

For every case of guardianship abuse, an elder (or some other vulnerable person) has suffered and so has a family. Most people don't want to hear about Elder Abuse, maybe because they don't want to know the truth.

However, we are going to tell the truth.

Here's an excerpt from my book and the reason why "a small group of committed citizens" will change the world....Margaret Mead said many years ago that, a small group is the "only thing that has EVER changed the world."

Everyday, there will be a story of elder abuse posted here and the location of the story could be Anywhere, USA.

from PARADISE COSTS--A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse...

"Before, during and after my father’s death, lawyers and social workers repeatedly made requests—they urged me to take his story public. In what has been a staggering evolution of consciousness for me, I have done so. I could not allow grief to cripple me— the stakes are too high.

Seventy-eight million baby boomers are the next generation of potential victims. In telling this painful and harrowing story it is my hope that we, an empowered and educated generation, will act and advocate in many ways including using the letters and petitions contained in this book to put a stop the pandemic of elder abuse existing in this country.

We must act now for the statistics are staggering:

 The American Psychological Association estimates that each and every year over 2.1 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of neglect and abuse.

 The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates there may be as many as 5 million victims of financial exploitation a year in the U.S. It’s also estimated that actual numbers of victims may be 5 times as many. The Center acknowledges that because there is no comprehensive data collection nationwide many seniors remain uncounted and suffer in silence. Millions may hide their embarrassment or remain in denial while countless others don’t have the competency to comprehend that they are being abused, neglect or exploited.

 The National Committee to Prevent Elder Abuse (NCPEA) estimates that $20 million per day is pilfered from the elderly…in California alone.

 National Institute of Health estimates that 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease now.

 The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 1 in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 already have Alzheimer’s. It’s estimated that within the next 25 years the number of sufferers will triple.

 The Alzheimer’s Association states the number of Americans with Alzheimer's has more than doubled since 1980; it will continue to grow, and by 2050 the number of victims with Alzheimer's could range from 11.3 million to 16 million. Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's.

 Every 72 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s; the related costs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias exceed more than $148 billion annually.
The Alzheimer’s Association reiterates that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. It is a devastating disorder of the brain’s nerve cells that impairs memory, thinking and behavior. Obviously, victims of this ailment will be the most vulnerable among us.

An attorney who worked in an elder legal clinic told me, “An abused dog has more rights and will get more protection under the law than the elderly.”
If that is the case and, for my father’s it indeed was, immense changes are urgently needed to protect the elderly. Therefore, Paradise Costs is a wake-up call for action. We must change the laws now or millions will face victimization and too many with be casualties.

The emotional, physical and financial exploitation my parent suffered is all too common. Tragically, my father lacked the competency, as millions do, to recognize how he was being exploited.

It’s essential that the jury of public opinion—those reading this frightful story—be aware of what defines elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Our understanding needs to expand beyond the image of an elderly person tied to a bed or being beaten. As this story demonstrates more subtle forms of exploitation and abuse too often go undetected and are never identified or reported for what they are: crimes.

In the pages that follow, it will become dreadfully clear how vulnerable senior citizens are and perhaps in ways one could never imagine. My father’s story is not included in the ugly statistics; he fell through the cracks. Too many do.

Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel said societies are judged by how they treat the defenseless. He spoke to the unique needs of the elderly stating that our society “is too busy worshiping the culture of youth” to value them. Instead of ignoring the needs of the elderly, Wiesel said, people should consider it an opportunity and a privilege to extend a helping hand to them. “Why does our society try to do so much for children but so little for the old?” he asked.

Elder abuse, neglect and exploitation are not indigenous to any one area of this country. It is a multidimensional and pervasive collective ill that permeates throughout every layer of our society. It’s an issue that’s everyone’s business.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (appendix 2) has estimated that it will take 30-40 years before the awareness of elder abuse achieves the level of recognition that child abuse has now.

Can we wait that long?

Readers as participants in “reality writing” can change the future. It’s within the scope of the most enlightened and powerful generation of all time, the baby boomers, to use its huge political and economic clout on this crucial issue.

After you read this story, please make a decision about whether this cautionary, tragic tale has enough merit to motivate you to action remembering that as many as one-in-three baby boomers may be victims of some form of elder abuse.

If it does serve as a wake-up call, please “vote” your consentience by signing and mailing the prefabricated reality writing letters included in Chapter 10. Please pass around the petitions also included and mail or fax them to your U.S. Senators. Feel free to make copies of any part of the reality writing section of this book and pass it along to others.

The Elder Justice Act (EJA) came before both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate just as the finishing touches were put on this book in late March 2007. It is critical that the EJA, U.S. House of Representative Bill number HR-1783 and the U.S. Senate Bill number S-1070, be supported into law as soon as possible. And readers can help by imploring action now and in the future by becoming proactive immediately via reality writing.

After the EJA passes our task is not complete and, therefore, we must remain vigilant. It’s vital that the EJA be amended, as needed, and enforced to serve the welfare of the largest number of elderly.

We must, therefore, remain proactive demonstrating our ongoing interest and support for social reform on behalf of the elderly of this nation.

It’s obligatory for concerned citizens to continue to pressure Congress with reality writing letters enclosed in this book to drive home our imperative message.
We, as committed and watchful citizens, must demonstrate our steadfast interest by pledging to remain involved by continuing to telegraph our federal legislators that we want to stop elder abuse now.

It is to that end this book was written. This is a pro-active rally against the painful lessons taught by my own personal history, one many of us can relate to, and by other tragic world events that are remembered as blights upon humanity.
Apathy always costs in this “paradise” known as democracy or anywhere else on our planet.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

Thank you,
Irene A. Masiello
April 2007 (and now on December 14, 2007)


Rules as of now (this will be checked with my attorneys on Monday)
1000 words (spell checked and properly punctuated, please)
no names (refer to yourself as a first name and a location only)
county and state only.

No comments: