Neglect of Bethel Elders again

October 2005

We’ve just had the third instance (at least) of an elder denied senior services (transportation) because of neglect. Adult Protective Services has been contacted each time. Cold weather is here and the elder is unable to walk home. The only two cabbies who would have conveyed him can no longer accept him (they are usually not near the senior center when the call comes in and the elder must remain outdoors waiting.) The situation is known to the senior director, who has in the past refused to speak to the cabbies reporting the neglect. The local paper Tundra Drums refused to assist in this latest instance when the cabbie went to them for information.

Aside from APS, where do people go to change the situation? Individuals on the Senior Advisory Board have been attacked by senior services personnel when bringing the issues to public attention (even at a City Council meeting.)

This is why older people must be active in their own lives. These are your services. When the senior services program itself denies services to elders, it is up to the rest of us to protest. We just need ideas to overcome the local news media reluctance to act; the City of Bethel’s refusal to act; and the ONC tribal government’s inaction.

[It should also be noted that the neglect was also reported to the regional health corp. with trust responsibility, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. (YKHC), which runs the personal care program. YKHC was supposed to have an assisted living home opened last month, too, but which doesn’t even have a footprint staked out.]


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