Archive for March 2012
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I’m sixty-four? Lennon/McCartney
Rumor has it that Paul McCartney wrote this song at only 15 or 16 years of age. He was on to something. Not that the song is about abuse. It’s a reflection of ongoing love. Yet it’s relevant.
We don’t Talk About it Enough: Elder Abuse
Following an employee training I conducted at a client’s location, a gentleman approached me to talk as I powered down my computer and gathered my materials. It’s not unusual for me to be approached after such trainings and the discussions are key. This is how you know you’ve had an effect on your attendees.
This man was in his early 70’s, timid and soft-spoken. It was clear he needed to talk. He veiled his choice of words as “I have this friend…” and “What can you tell me about older people?” It was heart-breaking. When you know it’s them, it always is. We had a really nice conversation. I’m glad we had some time together to talk.
I’ll share with you the gist of what I shared with him:
Elder abuse is the maltreatment of an elderly or disabled person by a family member or caretaker. As with intimate partner violence and abuse, elder abuse can include physical, sexual, or psychological abuse; financial exploitation, and/or neglect, including the denial of basic needs such as food and medical care.
Remember that no one – not your caretaker, not a family member – is allowed to:
- Deny you meals or medication
- Hide or break your eyeglasses, hearing aid, or false teeth
- Threaten to hurt you or your children, your pets, or friends
- Humiliate, be cruel, or speak harshly to you
- Keep you away from friends and family
- Take your Social Security checks
- Spend your rent or food money
- Steal your belongings
- Hit, beat, push or restrain you
- Force you to have sexual contact
- Keep you locked up
- Deny you access to your loved ones or supportive contacts
This is only an example of things that could be happening. If they are, to you, or a loved one, please contact:
It can be agonizing to watch anyone stuck in the demeaning rut of domestic violence or abuse. Not a day goes by that I don’t encounter someone with a story to tell, a training has never ended without several people coming up to me to tell me their story, and not a webinar concludes without online or telephone contact with an attendee.
And sometimes the person I’m talking to is a friend. That was the case recently with a friend I’ve known since we were kids. She’s got her back against the wall. The freeloader she’s married to criticizes her, insults her, manipulates her, ridicules her, and cheats on her. He’s conned the kids and in-laws into believing she’s selfish and uncommitted to the relationship because she wants out.
“What’s his motive?” You ask. The guy’s sick. Cancer in every conceivable part of his body. But not so bad that ongoing rounds of chemotherapy and radiation aren’t doing an effective job of keeping the disease in check and the jerk alive. And she’s the one with the insurance policy. See the dilemma?
It’s not at all uncommon for there to be one, or many, obstacles to leaving, and this one is her’s. She feels guilty. She probably feels like she’s supposed to stick to her vows. Yet he’s masterfully reneged on all of his. She also knows quite well, that if the situation was reversed he would never stay with her to keep him on his insurance, if he had it, and see her through such a destructive illness.
I hope, for my friend, that one day she’ll be ready to see the financial and emotional abuse for what it is and get past the guilt. That medical problems aside, there is no marriage. In the best of health there was no marriage, and the hope that things will change is misguided and fruitless.
In the meantime, I’m on the outside looking in. All I can do is listen and love and support my friend. Would you be able to do the same for yours?