Another Form of Terrorism – Elder Abuse!  This is the True Crisis of the Day.
 What Are You Going to Do About It?
I Am Declaring War on Elder Abuse!


Please Print out the Elder Abuse Form and sent it to your Senator

* * * *   Elder Abuse Form * * * *

Click to right to find your Senator's information: http://www.senate.gov


February 17, 2002
 

Terrorism is defined as the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments.  It is also defined as the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing.  In my opinion, neglect is also a form of terrorism. 
 

Last year in the US Senate Select Committee on Aging there were hearings on elder abuse.  Everyone admits there is a problem.  A Congressional probe found that 5,283 of the nation’s 17,000 nursing homes were cited with 9,000 abuse violations over a two-year period. (2,500 of the violations were serious enough to be considered life threatening. And 84 percent of crimes against seniors are never reported!  Experts tell us that 35,000 elderly nursing home residents die prematurely every year from abuse and neglect.  One witness before the Senate Committee stated, “Abuse, neglect, and poor medical care run rampant in nursing homes.”  The spokesperson for the Nursing Home Abuse Action Group testified that, “fully one-third of the nation’s nursing home residents are known to have suffered abuse.”  1 out of three of our moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters who are residents in nursing homes have been abused!  How can you and I stand for this.  I know I can’t.  That is why nursing home, hospice, and VA volunteers or so important.  We have to be there for our seniors.  We have to watch out for them, care for them, and fight this War on Elder Abuse on their behalf. 
 

We have a national shortage of nurses, so there are not enough in nursing homes.  Instead, we have various forms nursing aide positions that have been created to fill in the staffing needs, but these positions are typically minimum wage – not enough for someone with a family to live on - thus, you  oftentimes don’t or can’t get and keep good people in these jobs.    
 

          No one can deny that the War on Elder Abuse is equally as important as the war on terror.  And yet, while we are spending Billions on the War on Terrorism and the news is replete with all the discussion on the potential attack – we are spending very little to fight this war on elder abuse.  And the terrorism is not theoretical but real – happening every day within our borders.  While 1 in 3 nursing home residents are being terrorized right here within our borders, the Federal Government is spending only $153.5 million on programs addressing issues of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, with these funds spread thinly across the many agencies and programs responsible for protecting Older Americans.  It seems that a Senate investigation has determined that guardianships, which are designed to insure the physical and financial safety of an incapacitated elder, may be a vehicle for abuse as well.  This week in the Senate there was a call for a GAO investigation into the abuse of guardianships in the elderly.
 

Last year there was a report in a respected medical journal about neglect in a VA hospital.  Due to budget cuts, certain areas of a facility had not been cleaned for months.  This created an infestation of flies, which lead to 2 comatose patients being exposed to fly larva and maggots growing in their noses.  Two of our nation’s heroes lay in comas and were so neglected that maggots grew in their noses!  How long can you and I allow this to go on? 
 

There are many caring, loving supportive people in the VA facilities.  I know many of them personally.  Because the facilities are under-funded and their staff overworked, a sure mix for neglect of patients has been created.  This is also the conclusion of many of my volunteers.  The Administration’s response to this - the VA health budget was cut $350 million this year.  How can we expect the next generation of men and women in uniform to serve when they find out that the Government’s promise to provide health care for life is not being kept.   The words from the lips of those who ask them to put their lives on the line do not match the actions they take to care for our veterans and armed services health care needs.  We can’t stand by and let this happen to our elderly and to those who take a solemn oath to defend us. To do so means we are aiding the most heinous type of terrorism there is.  We have an obligation to protect the homeland – and its women, children and seniors. 
 

Please join me in fighting this war on elder abuse.  First, we need to demand our Government respond to this issue.  Take the time to educate your elected officials about the importance of protecting our nation’s elders.  One way these legislators can response is by passing legislation such as the “Elder Justice Bill” introduced by Senators Hatch and Breaux.  This bill seeks to addresses the problem of terrorizing our elders through law enforcement, social services, and public health avenues. It establishes Offices of Elder Justice both at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.  While the bill may not be perfect, it is certainly a good beginning. 
 

We are a nation of free people.  We only remain free by participating in our democracy.  I urge you to join my fight against elder abuse.  You have a right to be heard in Washington.  We all have a responsibility to help those who are no longer able to have their voice heard in Washington.
 

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Please Print out the Elder Abuse Form and sent it to your Senator

* * * *   Elder Abuse Form * * * *

Click to right to find your Senator's information: http://www.senate.gov

 

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