Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meetings the story of my life

Thank goodness for weekends. By the end of last week, I felt like I had been running nonstop all five days. I usually do pretty well at pacing my work load however there are those times when others re-prioritize the agenda. Meeting seem to have taken over everything we do. I counted four impromptu committee meetings last week, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 21/2 hours and that translated into additional work and altered schedule. I guess I need to quite bellyaching and be glad I have a job that I enjoy, find challenging and rates high on the satisfaction scale.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Abuse can be so subtle. Intimidation is another form of abuse of the elderly. If a resident is told that if they do something they could be discharged, that could be intimidation. The Washington State regulations are very specific in regards to circumstances for which a resident may be discharged. So if you have a loved one who has been told they could be discharged for some behavior, request to see the Washington Administrative Code that states the specific reason a facility may discharge a resident. Also speaking with the state ombudsman, they may be of assistance in such matters.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today was a good day!

Today was interesting. I was able to visit the lady I had mentioned in an earlier post who doesn't remember talking to me. However today was a good day because she did remember talking to me on the phone and was very delighted I had time to visit with her in person. She talked for an hour and fifty minutes. The power went out for about ten minutes in the facility, just after I arrived to my friend's apartment and staff quickly came around to check on each resident. My friend did not seem surprised that the young girl came to check on her so apparently this is a routine; when the power goes out at anytime residents are checked on. During my visit, three different staff stopped by and my friend knew them all by name. Yes, today was a good day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lock it or lose it!

In keeping with the theme of prevention of abuse something that families can do to curb financial exploitation of a resident being moved to an assisted living center is to purchase and install a lockable cabinet for valuables and money before they move in. Most assisted living centers do not have lockable storage in the apartments. The container needs to be bolted to a drawer in a dresser or to a cabinet. There should be two keys, one for the resident and one for a family member. Keep a record of items and dates when things are put in and taken out of the locked valuables box. I have numerous examples where money, jewelry, and valuables have been taken from residents. Seldom are the valuables recovered. Most facilities reveal in their resident handbook or facility rules book that they are not responsible for valuables that disappear. The best plan is to prevent theft before it happens. The turnover as a whole is high in assisted living centers and boarding homes. Although facilities are required to complete background checks on all persons having unsupervised access to residents, this does not prevent theft. If theft does occur report it immediately to the administrator of the building, not anyone else. The administrator is responsible to conduct an investigation and put policies in place to see that theft does not occur. Also, for the state of Washington the Complaint Resolution Unit (CRU) is supposed to receive a report about the allegation of theft from the facility.

Monday, June 23, 2008

On the front page of our town newspaper was an article about a gentleman being evicted from his home at an assisted living center. It is beyond my ability to understand how a corporation can take money from an individual for 3 years or more, tell them "not to worry they will be taken care of," get the business up and running, pay for the building and then after they take all the resident's money then up and say we don't take anymore state assisted clients you have to move. The lobbyists for the Assisted Living are so strong in the capital that whatever laws get passed they have worked them around so the Assisted Living contingent can get what they want and the residents are the ones that suffer. We've seen this happen all over Washington State. Moving is so traumatic often times the move literally kills the resident.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

July Adult Abuse Prevention

July is Washington State Adult Abuse Prevention Month and I would like to share some bits of information with you. Did you know that

* a person turns 60 every 7.5 seconds,

* Statistics show that only 1 in 5 cases of abuse of a vulnerable adult are reported to authorities;

* Studies show that 90% of individuals with a developmental disability experience abuse at some point in their lives;

* Abusers are usually those closest to the vulnerable adult such as a caregiver a spouse or an adult child or grandchild;You can go to the Washington State website at for more information.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Examples of abuse

The last entry defined the vulnerable adult and listed types of abuse. Some types of abuse can be overlooked if one is not a tuned to a situation. For example an elderly mother living with her son and daughter-in-law in the same townhouse was infested with mice. The son and daughter-in-law failed to make getting rid of the mice a priority, even though they were living in the same townhouse. The son and daughter-in-law were negligent in providing an adequate environment for the mother, who was paying rent to live with them, because she was no longer able to live alone due to dementia. Another example is a situation in which a niece says to her aunt "If you don't give me money for gas I can't come and see you". This same niece was coercing her aunt into giving her money for a professional license when the niece had not worked in that profession for the last 5 years. The niece was financially exploiting the aunt. It is difficult to say to family members of individuals who are being taken advantage of that what they are doing is abuse. However if someone does not speak up the situations can escalate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Fathers Day!

Many times when I have interviewed a geriatric client they have reminded me of my father or grandfather. I know my father and grandfather would be pleased to know they are remembered everyday. If you have parents still alive cherish the time you have with them because they will not always be with you. My father and grandfather were taken from me within six weeks of one another in 1984. That was one of the darkest years I ever experienced. I try to remember things they shared with me. My grandfather said more than once "You can't put a young head on old shoulders" and my Dad always said "Live within your means". Enjoy this Father's day and celebrate the special people in your life.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Always a Nurse

An interesting occurrence happened this evening about 5 pm a car stopped in front of our driveway and the passenger door opened. An elderly lady leaned her head over and proceeded to be sick. When I realized what was happening I picked up a towel damped it and took the towel out to her. I asked if she was having any chest pain and she replied no, she was just sick to her stomach. She said she had eaten some ice cream and thought that is what had made her sick. The driver appeared to be middle aged, maybe her daughter. After the lady seemed to be back in control she took the towel, wiped her face and thanked me for my kindness. I felt concerned for her. The contents on the drive appeared to have more than just ice cream and I was concerned she had gotten a hold of some contaminated tomatoes. However I didn't think to ask her if she had eaten any tomatoes. I hope she will be ok.