Actually, there are probably thousands of reasons, or maybe even tens of thousands, but there are at least five hundred that I know of — each representing someone who once was, and perhaps still is, a living, breathing human being who was denied or is being denied his or her rights.
The number one reason for me is my mom. She was neglected in various ways, and abused by being administered antipsychotic drugs she didn’t need or want during the four years she spent in a Quebec nursing home. The neglect and abuse culminated in her death in August 2016.
I advocated tirelessly for better care for her during her four years, and, as a result was vilified, ridiculed, disbelieved, slandered, and punished – just as many other dementia and care advocates are. Now, hopefully, the tides are changing. Family members and people in so-called “care” are joining together and saying enough is enough.
Lori Dekervor’s dad Arthur Ross; he died in excruciating pain because workers at the long-term care facility where he resided failed to provide the care he needed after a fall. Like many cases of elder abuse, this one may have gone unnoticed had daughter Lori not found (almost by accident) a stinking, gaping, infected hole at the base of her father’s spine.
The literally hundreds of other reasons comprise the cases of abuse and neglect that have caused suffering and death in long-term care in the past several years alone.
Here are a handful from the scores of examples worldwide:
Francis Yorke found cockroaches in her mother Margaret’s room – even in her bed. Just as I did, she frequently found her mom in wet or soiled incontinence briefs when she arrived for a visit. Margaret eventually died of a UTI. See more in the W5 video below.
Joy Dey’s mom Winnifred was neglected in three separate facilities before Dey found a good one.
Betty McTay’s mom, Edna, who was living in a long-term care facility, died of starvation.“ I think it’s criminal that these places are getting away with this,” McTay tells Sandie Rinaldo in the W5 video below.
Judy Berry’s mom Evelyn Holly was kicked out of twelve “care” facilities in seven years. Berry was so angered that, after her mom died, she opened her own care home, which she ran for sixteen years before becoming a dementia care consultant.
Salim Younes noticed bruises and cuts to his father’s head and legs, as well as significant weight loss; his complaints fell on deaf ears. So he installed a video camera in his father’s room. See what he discovered here.
Family member advocates in Quebec and Ontario have joined together in two separate legal actions to hold long-term care facilities accountable. I am part of one in Quebec, which currently has more than 300 complainants; and Lori is the driving force behind another in Ontario, which currently has more than 200 complainants. The latter is being covered by CTV’s W5 in shocking investigative reports such as the one below, which includes confirmation from a care worker (others have also spoken out in Ontario) of the deplorable practices that may be found in many facilities:
The surprising part about Dekervor, and the more than two hundred families who have joined her to mount a case against LTC giants Revera, Extendicare and Sienna, is that she and they have come forward. I believe elder abuse is pervasive in Canadian long-term care. The problem is, it’s also hidden, and thus hard to fight. Whistleblowers are few and far between and family members often either don’t recognize abuse if they see it or fear reprisals or even worse care if they rock the boat. Those who do complain have a hard time being heard and making their stories stick because facilities and their “experts” hold all the cards. Think David and Goliath without the happy ending.
Fingers crossed things are changing… #FightTheGoodFight