Archive for the 'abuse neglect' Category

Sarah Palin, the elderly, the disabled, older Americans and rural Alaska

[revised]

naomidagenbloom 2008 September 2

Vuee, Vuee, We need to hear MORE from you now about the way Alaska has come into our consciousness via your governor–the believer in “stakeholders.”

Readers can’t get off that easy, Little Red Hen— what questions do folks have?

The reason I have been rather quiet, blogwise, is because the news from rural Alaska about living there isn’t good. There has been next to nothing improved since earlier posts, this includes the past 18 months of the personable Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ll give examples below, but they sound depressing. So readers, what do enquiring minds want to know? If nothing else, I can at least point you to some good sources of facts or commentary from Alaska perspective.

An older friend of mine (from Tucson) sends this musing upon the early photo of Sarah Palin and her caribou ( http://newsminer.com/photos/galleries/2008/sep/01/sarah-palin-growing-alaskan/1156/. It is the photo of the red-nosed caribou NOT a reindeer.)

>My deep reflections, caribou inspired::
1. Macho women don’t need to wear pantsuits to assert themselves.
2. Most currently popular female names go from my daughter Michelle to my mother Sarah.
3. Sarah definitely shoots better than Dick. How about Joe’s expertise with firearms?
4. Candidates should not be judged only on basis of age, gender, and looks.
5. Candidate’s children are given on-stage prominence. It should be unfair to have the youngest ones debate politics, but what about having a food fight?

————————————-

  • there’s the older gentleman who is resigning himself to move 400 miles away from home to be near his grandkids because his grown children had to move to Anchorage to find work to meet the utilities payments
  • there’s all the older people who need an assisted living arrangement or nursing home (a 400 mile trip, if one can afford to get into Bethel from the village to get on the jet)
  • there’s fuel oil at $6-15 a gallon
  • there’s the Bush-Cheney stimulus payments which only went to those who have taxable income. They don’t go to those who cashed in IRAs early to pay electricity or who struggle to make sense of their returns.
  • there’s electricity at 40 cents or more per kilowatt hour (with a subsidy for residences) in rural Alaska (Wasilla pays considerably less, without subsidy)
  • there’s gasoline, needed to go out and “grocery shop” on the tundra or out in the river, at $6 to $18 gallon.
  • there’s gaining grandmother status at 34
  • there’s raising grandchildren at 70
  • there’s having your one-time $1200 “energy check” from the state stolen by your children for smokes and booze

2008-09-04 Look guys, what someone else found
gov-sarah-palin-call-in-kyuk/

2008-09-04 Fact Check of Governor Palin’s Speech http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2008/09/saradise-lost-chapter-twenty-five-obama.html

PALIN: “Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest – and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.”
REALITY: PALIN OPPOSED CRUCIAL EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND SENIORS FUNDING […]

Andrew Halcro does a fine job at http://www.andrewhalcro.com/grading_palins_speech_a

Also: tech support has a listing of reasonable sources at Sarah Palin content

2008-10-27 Palin’s gaffe about her policy on “special needs” while her record shows she has none
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BlueOasis/~3/431498178/showDiary.do


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Liz Taylor takes comments

One of the best reads ever on aging deliberately is Liz Taylor–
Her series has been mentioned previously –

I just discovered that the columns published at Kitsap Sun Stories: Liz Taylor: Aging Deliberately allow comments (registration required) and have an RSS feed . This is so much more convenient and useful than the Seattle Times venue. I’m not sure which is the primary home for Liz’s work, however, and Kitsap may not carry all her columns. At the Seattle Times I have to subscribe by E-mail to their health series (once a week e-mail, all health stories which are interesting) to get notice of her columns. Otherwise I have a Google News Alert for Liz Taylor+ aging, which sometimes brings in notice of National Velvet. [the colors behind some items below mean nothing except straightening out the code remains to be done.]

Liz Taylor began her career as a federal consumer-fraud investigator and was appointed by Elizabeth Dole in 1976 to direct a nationwide investigation of the nursing-home industry. She’s worked in the aging field ever since.

In the 1980s, Liz became one of the first geriatric care managers in the Pacific Northwest, working with thousands of families and older adults to find high-quality services. In 2000, she founded Aging Deliberately, a business that teaches people how to prepare for their aging so they’ll have more control over what happens to them. In 2005, she served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. She’s won the American Geriatrics Society’s 2007 Aging Awareness Media Award and the Washington Association of Homes and Services for the Aging’s Excellence in Media Award. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/growingolder/

It’s relatively easy to age successfully if you’re wealthy. Money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly allows you to buy the things that make life more comfortable at any age. 1/26/2008 11:00 PM
In my last column, I wrote about a growing problem: what to do when an older person who has dementia hasn’t named anyone she trusts to make decisions for her. This week I’ll tackle a tougher issue: what to do when the person she names does a poor job. 11/17/2007 11:00 PM
My e-mail has had a repeated theme recently: An older person with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, isn’t paying bills, preparing meals, bathing, and other important tasks — but refuses to allow anyone to help.
11/3/2007 09:00 PM |
There’s a certain uniformity to finding a physician under Medicare these days. Rich or poor, if you’re 65 or older, you’re likely to have similar slim pickings (more so if you’re poor and on Medicare and Medicaid). 10/20/2007 11:00 PM |
Most of us want to live a long time, but nobody wants to grow old. The irony is, most of us will — live a long time and grow old. It’s easy to do — all it takes is letting the days roll by. As long as you’re healthy, getting old is a piece of cake.
10/6/2007 11:00 PM |
It’s easy as pie to age well when you’re healthy. The friction comes when you become frail. Sometimes it’s self-inflicted, the product of isolation, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity and falls — all common problems for people who age in their homes but don’t plan it correctly. 9/22/2007 11:00 PM |
A woman in her late 70s, a good friend, is pondering her options. Her home is two stories (or three, including the basement), with many stairs to her bedroom, bathroom and the washing machine. 9/8/2007 11:00 PM
Dad is 87, fun and funny, with moderate dementia. He lived “on the edge” in his own home for years while we kids worried sick. 7/28/2007 11:00 PM
When I was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, cars were sort of round and later sort of square. My dad wore a hat to work and took the bus.
7/14/2007 11:00 PM
I’m 75 and have lived in an assisted-living facility for a year.
7/8/2007 02:00 AM
Older people are not simply younger people with wrinkles our bodies change dramatically as we age, both inside and out; some parts wear out before others, sometimes several at once.
6/17/2007 02:00 AM
Whether you live at home, in a retirement community, or in a yurt on top of a mountain, as you age, you want to do it consciously.
6/3/2007 02:00 AM

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Elder Abuse hot lines are very cold (USA)

THE ELDER Justice Act http://www.projo.com/news/content/ELDER_ABUSE_HOTLINE_12-16-07_AP81P46_v87.1bd52f8.html

Response to Elder Abuse Varies Widely Across U.S.
Dec 17, 2007 — Providence Journal, (RI), article tells how the nation’s safety net for seniors is not nearly as good as it is for children, and even though most states have mandatory reporting laws for elder abuse, fewer than half of them have statewide, 24-hour-a-day hot lines to record complaints and offer immediate response.

from RAC
This e-mail and the RAC Health listserv are a service of the Rural Assistance Center. The RAC is not responsible for the availability or content of these web sites. For additional services and information, see the RAC web site at http://www.raconline.org

Nonagenarian painter still fights for Minamata patients

Painter, 91, still fights for Minamata patients
07/20/2007, BY AYAKO TSUKIDATE, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Kikue Wakatsuki, moved by the plight of the mercury-poisoning victims, decided to bill her customers specifically for “fund-raising,” saying their “donations” would be sent to help the patients in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture. No one complained.

Wakatsuki retired from the bar called Noa Noa long ago. She is now 91 years old and uses a wheelchair. But she continues to help Minamata disease victims.

Last month, Wakatsuki, who is also a painter, held her first private art exhibition in her hometown of Niigata, bringing her together with mercury-poisoning victims in the city for the first time….

Kikue Wakatsuki, 91, at her art exhibition in Niigata, greets former patrons of her bar in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. (AYAKO TSUKIDATE/ THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)

Sanji Watanabe, 91, a Japanese folk singer who is also a victim of industrial mercury poisoning, sang in front of Wakatsuki.

Many of Wakatsuki’s fans, including former patrons of her bar in Shinjuku, showed up and danced to the music….

Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome first discovered in 1956. It is caused by consumption of marine products tainted with methyl mercury discharged from a Chisso Corp. plant into Minamata Bay. Although certified Minamata disease patients are entitled to payments for medical treatment, the standards for certification are rigid, and many sufferers have been left out.

Hideto Hatano… is also a key figure in managing the Niigata Eya art gallery, and he said he remembered hearing about Noa Noa’s manager who continued to support Minamata disease victims. When Hatano learned that Watatsuki had never held a private showing in her hometown, he invited her–and her paintings–to Niigata. […]

See also
A Case Study of a Documentary Portrait (the article discusses the impact of the Eugene Smith photo on the family under a discussion of ethics in photography)

Editor’s Note: If you wish to view the photograph discussed in this article, it is still viewable online at www.masters-of-photography.com. Click on Smith, then click through the slides to the last one, which is “Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath.”

Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2004 THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF MINAMATA DISEASE Exploring a cautionary tale By STEPHEN HESSE

Add this to Bookmarks:

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A say in one’s or other’s life?

Liz Taylor continues her series mentioned previously Dad deserves a say about his life, even if he’s wrong

See also, Elder neighbor in crisis? and Prisons Not Geared to the Needs of the Elderly, Study Finds

The gray area between competency and incompetence is one of the most difficult dilemmas any family can face. We went through it when my mom was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and it was hell. I urged the daughter to take her dad to a physician for a diagnosis to know for sure what’s going on. But until he’s clearly mentally impaired, he’s in charge of his life.

And here is another example of the difficulties that can arise. How do we even discuss this?

The oldest jail inmate in state custody had a massive stroke Friday and the state immediately dropped the charges against him so he wouldn’t spend what could be his final days under a cloud of criminal allegations, prosecutors said.

Charlie Parks, a 90-year-old whose family says he suffers from dementia, had been in jail for three months. He was facing a felony assault charge that claimed he tried to stab his caregiver in an assisted living home in December….

But defense attorney John Bernitz said the incarceration of his client shows a fault with the state’s system.

“I don’t know who is personally responsible, but we as a community could have treated him better,” he said.

In November, Parks, a school teacher for 40 years, packed his frying pan, clothes, crystals and meditation books into a tattered plaid suitcase and sneaked out of his assisted living home in Kalispell, Mont., ahead of spirits he thought were chasing him. He cashed his Social Security check and bought a plane ticket to Alaska.

Once in Anchorage, he took up residence at the Days Inn on East Fifth Avenue… His hotel bill mounted and the Veterans of Foreign Wars chipped in before hotel staff found Parks’ daughter, his only child, in New Mexico. She contacted Alaska Adult Protective Services and Parks was moved to a five-bed assisted living home in Russian Jack. He had been there for little more than a month when, in December, he took a 4-inch serrated steak knife to his caregiver, prosecutors said. The caregiver was grazed by the knife.


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meth and elder abuse

Elder abuse pre-dates methamphetamine but this seems even uglier than alcohol abuse in some ways. Elder abuse and neglect exists because bullying is tolerated. The elderlies need to stick together and insist on their rights and protections. Senior centers and church pastors are required to report abuse and neglect (of course, senior centers should not contribute to neglect, either).

Even the smallest Village or Pueblo can take an extra minute to check on folks. In New Mexico, some of the tribal solid waste management planning included an option for the trash haulers to

  • teach recycling and sanitation
  • to stop by each older person’s or shut-in’s residence for a wellness check and pick up trash,
  • and to be trained to know the signs of abuse or neglect.

Friday, February 9 – Elder Abuse:
As the methamphetamine epidemic spreads across Indian Country, reports of elder abuse are on the rise. In some cases, elders are having their retirement checks and supplementary tribal checks stolen by relatives addicted to meth and other drugs. Tribal officials across the nation are putting together infrastructures designed to protect the welfare of our grandmothers and grandfathers. Whatever happened to respecting our elders? Guests include Wilson Wewa (Northern Paiute) Team Leader with the Warm Springs Reservation Senior Program.

Tune in and take part in this intense and stimulating one-hour call-in radio talk show inspiring people from all walks of life to reflect on Native American issues and how they influence our lives. Call toll free at 1-800-996-2848 (1-800-99-NATIV) You can listen to Native America Calling LIVE on-line. Or visit the web site at

Nursing Home Quality Monitor

The Consumer Reports Nursing Home Quality Monitor, formerly known as the Consumer Reports Watch List, identifies nursing homes that are likely to provide better-quality care and those likely to provide poorer-quality care.

The guide itself is available at

Alaska has just one nursing home on the list, and it is listed as a no-no.


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O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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