Thursday, April 11, 2019

HOTLINE: Missouri Elderabuse -- Where Are They?


Judging from my attempts this afternoon to reach and report my friend's treatment in a Missouri Long Term Care Center either they have a very small staff to answer the phone OR their system can only hold so many calls.

I'm sitting on HOLD while music plays but it's taken me 7 attempts to dial, listen to the recording (a shortened form follows) and to be hung up on because apparently the "waiting line" was too long to hold any more calls.

Seven minutes into hold.  Music plays. I wait to be connected. Is this a matter of Life and Death? Of course it is. Is it one that warrants as the message directed to "Call 911" -- no.

Abuse can be severe and constant or it can be slow and steady and almost non noticeable because it's done so "professionally"

WHAT IS GOING ON?  This department is associated with the DHSS. We've heard about other "miscommunications" in this Department.

BACK ON HOLD....MORE BACKGROUND INFO...  so here I sit....10 more minutes go by ...not like I have nothing to could be taken care of...trying to get away to visit Carol as I'm worried about her...

Are there so many calls the lines are all in use?  Are they short staffed?  Twenty minutes have gone by and I'm on a HOTLINE??????

Then the next message with the last statement that really upsets me

All staff are currently busy assisting other callers. We apologize for the inconvenience. Your call is very important to us.  Please call back at a later time so that we may assist you.

Isn't this an EMERGENCY LINE?  Who ever heard of calling back to an Emergency Line?

Maybe they should rename it and change the title from Elderabuse Hotline to Elderabuse Reporting Line.

I finally get through. List my concerns and hope someone will connect with me and follow through.

Time Will Tell.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

DHSS: NOT Family Friendly

The day we told Mom we were taking her to her usual Day Care, which I'd spent a long time finding, a place she loved going to and enjoyed, and that someone from the Department of Health and Senior Services would be taking her somewhere to spend a couple of weeks or maybe more so she and we could have “respite”, she became verbally and even physically violent.

She screamed and pounded her fists on her chair. She said she "would not go"....:"you can't make me"....and she called me names I'd never heard my mother say...and we'd lived together for decades with only a few years apart.

I told her her Medicaid "Advisor" had suggested it. (This woman, however, had not given me her "other" card which gave her position as ":Adult Protective Worker". It was several weeks before I discovered she was far more than just a regular DHHS social worker and what she had in mind for Mom was not what I or Mom would have agreed to if we were told the truth.

She screamed accusing me of not taking care of her as I should; of spending her money; of taking her money; of not giving her several choices for breakfast; not giving her a shower every day as she wanted and so much more that didn’t make sense and all this was so different from the relationship we had and the way we lived.

Mom even accused my husband of being “jealous” of the time I spent with her. He who lay sick on a hospital bed in our once “family” room now unable to climb the steps as she still could. 

I Won’t Go. You Can’t Make Me. This Is My Home.

I  was so uninformed. I was so trusting. I believed the lies Julia told and the lies the DHSS "Medicaid" rep told me-- who was also an Adult Protective Worker  but she didn't disclose this fact until many months later.

Looking back I didn't see the Undue Influence of Julia that had been going on when every few weeks or so she'd come to our house and take Mom out -- Julia said "to help me out".

I thought she was a Saint -- taking communion to the elderly in Nursing Homes -- I'd even worked beside her for a few months, organizing the delivery of food every day for a month after my husband returned home from 100 consecutive days in the hospital (almost all of it in Critical Intensive Care) and 30 days in rehab with three bags taped to his abdomen constantly draining and holes where you could see inside his body.

I didn't realize Julia did nothing but take Mom out to sit somewhere with her and "talk".

It was also interesting how Julia took Mom out the first time with her cane which she used to walk short distances ,then it became a "walker" because they were going to "walk a little farther" and then she requested to use the wheelchair so she could "get Mom to more places during their time together".

Fabrications. Lies. Psychologically she was training Mom to believe she was "less capable" than she was. And we came to that conclusion when, after many months of trying to repair Julia's damage, we found out all they did was go to a park or to a Steak 'N Shake and sit and talk the entire time.

Mom was being "groomed". Julia as an RN was trained in Psychology; she went to a prestigious Nursing School and spent four years getting her degree; she also was a highly competitive tennis player with many trophies and even a place in the college/university's "Hall of Fame" for her prowess.

It took the rest of Mom's lifetime for bridges to be built to begin to discover how destructive Julia was; how focused she was on separating Mom from me especially and how she was working to advance Mom's Dementia for her benefit. 

It took constant vigilance and moving Mom to other LTC's because we were told it was "Mom's choice" to live in a facility. All of this with a husband who would die within fourteen months yet being told all he had to do was "gain some weight" and he'd heal better....another medical person not telling the truth.

I'd been pushed, pulled and torn apart and not known the source of this project was a government agency I'd turned to for help in my darkest moments of trying to caregive for two people 24/7 l'd lived with for decades -- my husband and my mother.

The DHSS is a Wolf in sheep's clothing. We saw how this "arm" of the government moved in and removed very young children from parents who entered the country "illegally" placing them in facilities and homes and how they couldn't seem to find many of them.


SIMPLE. REALLY. It's a government agency that for years has been disorganized, bureaucratic, without being held accountable and reacting instead of investigating and ensuring the "reporter"  was honest and didn't have a "hidden agenda" like Julia did. 


What did the DHSS do when advised this had happened?  NOTHING. You see, Mom had "rights" and could make choices -- even if they were a part of "grooming" and "influence" by an Elder Abuser.

INSERT:  Recently I've discovered the DHSS will not really examine any medical professional and instead automatically take their word, allow their actions. They apparently do not believe a medical professional could make an error, have an agenda or cause harm to anyone. 



She's still participating in the Catholic Mass, from last we heard, as a Lector. And most probably continues working with the St Vincent de Paul Society and taking Communion to Residential Facilities for the Older Population. She's probably also "caring for" older men and women in their homes, as she did back in 2010 when we first met her --looking for ways to profit from her "caregiving".

Time moves forward. Systems don't change. 

Ignorant as we were at the time, we had no idea Julia had worked the Elder Care System so well.

THE DHSS BELIEVES An elderly adult has to be abused if reported by a "medical" person.

I've dug through many documents; thank goodness for the ability to find information on line; Julia let her Nursing Certification expire for more than a year and renewed it shortly before she "reported" Mom's abuse?

She'd reported me to the Elder Abuse Hotline for financial and emotional abuse of my mother and had “taken over” as Mom’s “protector” with the blessing of a very inept and incompetently trained DHSS representative, Mom’s Medicaid representative who was also an Adult Protective Care Worker.

The Undue Influence of Julia’s apparently highly planned and orchestrated “take over” of Mom for her own personal financial gain wasn’t apparent and not even a consideration. It would take months and even years for the story to unfold and for the truth to rise to the surface. 

Even today, there are missing pieces, evidence not provided and coverups that continue.

Uprooting suddenly can be traumatic. Yet this was the "plan" of the DHS.

Telling Seniors it’s in their best interest.  Not really given a choice. 
It's for their good and ours -- we won't have to worry any longer. 
We won't have to spend the amount of time checking on them, taking care of their daily needs or even just getting food in the house and making sure the bills are paid.

These were the "excuses" used by the DHSS. They even had Julia take Mom to the facility instead of one of their "own" and Julia made sure Mom signed herself in -- oh what a web they weave when they do deceive.

And, even though my husband was a "Senior', they did nothing to help me get assistance with changing four bags taped to his chest a dozen  times daily to empty the contents or replace the bags.. Oh, they sent someone out to "show me how to do it" but the 24/7 caregiving was walked away from and no assistance offered.

Mom lost so much due to the negligence and practices of the DHSS:

PRIVACY.  Mom had her own room in our home with our family where she resided since 1971 and this was 2010. We moved to two other locations before this final one and Mom was always with us.

When we moved into this final house, Mom was once again asked which of three bedrooms she would like. Mom paid no rent or any other expenses including food and utilities. She spent her money as she pleased and went on many amazing trips often with extra money we contributed so she could travel to far away places and have her own room or cabin on a cruise ship. Mom travelled "solo" or with us until she was 95.

Her room with a double bed, two nightstands, a dressing table and bench, four individually controlled lamps, a long rack for her lovely two sided bed cover, a TV stand with storage and her own TV and VHS tape deck, a double dresser with large mirror, a walk in closet, an automatic reclining lift chair and a door she could open or close as she wanted for privacy. I'd had lovely drapes (she choose the material) and a bedcover made for her and we put shades on her windows so she could adjust the light. The bathroom was down the hall and since the children went off to college and two moved out of the house starting their own families, and our daughter was living in a dorm at her college, the bathroom was completely Mom's to use when she wanted and for how long she wanted.

Bait & Switch.  When Mom arrived at the Long Term Care Facility, they put her in a room all by herself We went to see her and she was very happy. We had no idea she was going to be a "permanent resident".

That lasted a couple of days. Then she was moved to a room half the size and had a roommate -- something Mom was definitely not used to. We didn't know Mom was "checked in" to stay "permanently" -- that realization would come in another couple of days when the facility asked to speak with us because they needed "additional information". 

It was a journey we did not ask to take, did not know anything about where we were going or what would happen and it was finding bits and pieces of a large puzzle we had no idea how many pieces there would be or how many would be so similar in shape.

I can't decide if time moves slowly or quickly but it always moved too fast when we were counting not only the days but the pennies we were accumulating from irregular jobs that were almost always part time and often only one of the two of us, daughter and I, were "employed" and too slowly when we watched both of our beloved family members pain and suffering and had no means to help change the inevitable direction we were all headed.

Now, I still feel like I'm wrapped in slippery, slimmy "goo" enveloping my body and trying to suppress my mind, trying to keep me from seeing, from listening and from telling the truth, the reality found behind closed doors when everyone leaves and residents are alone, sometimes completely alone, to endure the nights and the days of neglect and abuse.

If I were reading this blog and saw the commercials on TV and the internet from many living facilities showing the beauty, the accommodations, the variety and always the smiling, helpful staff seemingly always beside the resident, always there to help and to "care" I’d read these entries with skepticism.

Would that were the true face of Senior Long Term Care. Unfortunately, high costs and lack of numbers of care givers for rising numbers of residents with many more medical concerns at a very later age provide a very different reality.

I've been told it's time for me to "get on" with my life; that my years are quickly passing and my age increasing.

Then I consider others are still being subjected, still being exposed and how we, you and I and others are moving toward our own living "hell" if we don't speak out, don't bring to light and let actions and people continue to cause harm.

Mom lived in three facilities. 
None were respectful or considerate of her as a person, a human being. 
All  neglected and endangered her. 
We were given no choice; we were given no voice. 
Julia ensured Mom, through her constant visiting and undue influence, was kept in these less than humane accommodations. 
Julia needed Mom isolated; we didn't. 
Julia needed Mom to be separated from those who cared for her, who kept her safe and enabled her.

Until we all, as a Nation, raise our voices in Unison for the rights of our Aging Population through fully disclosing how they are managed and yes, abuse and take advantage of those most vulnerable in our population, we will not be a civilization worth remembering.

For it is in how we treat the "least" of our members we are measured.