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Community Comment

Elder Abuse

I have spent several years caring for elderly relatives. My significant other’s grandmother had a stroke and was placed in a nursing home. She was paralyzed, couldn’t speak, and couldn’t feed herself. I sat vigil by her side every evening for 2 ½ years, slowly and diligently spooning food to her bit by bit through the evening. In that length of time I cautiously watched the comings and goings of nurses and aids.

Our family opted to have one of us there every evening and sporadically throughout the day. We observed that residents who had family members present were better treated than residents who did not. Grandmom could express herself by shaking her head, nodding, or, as we found out, stick her tongue out at people who mistreated her. One aid in particular got the tongue frequently. He turned out to have a criminal background and could only find a job as an aid.

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