As the baby-boomer generation reaches retirement age, a difficult topic is gaining more attention: elder abuse.
An article in today’s New York Times discusses several notable cases, and efforts being taken by states to address this looming problem:
“A pretty nightie, a new lipstick, a fresh toothbrush: Doris Racher noticed that small things she had bought for her 96-year-old mother, Eryetha Mayberry, a dementia patient at a nursing home in Oklahoma City, had been disappearing. Ms. Racher assumed the culprit was another resident who sometimes wandered into her mother’s room and fell asleep in her bed. So in 2012, Ms. Racher placed a motion-activated camera in her mother’s room. It looked like an alarm clock, and Ms. Racher nearly forgot about it.
“About two months later, the family decided to pore through the recordings. The camera had not caught the petty thief. But it captured something else: An aide stuffed latex gloves into Mrs. Mayberry’s mouth, while another taunted her, tapping her on the head, laughing. Hoisting her from her wheelchair, they flung her on a bed. One performed a few heavy-handed chest compressions.
“Hidden cameras are finding their way into long-term care facilities, often placed by families to watch the staff; lizards, turtles and snakes are proving more intelligent than once thought; why it might be evolutionarily beneficial for women to be rude to one another.
“My niece started bawling and couldn’t watch anymore,” said Ms. Racher, 78. “I was furious.” Mrs. Mayberry died soon after.
“On Nov. 1, propelled by the outcry over the Mayberry case, Oklahoma became the third state — along with New Mexico and Texas — to explicitly permit residents in long-term care facilities to maintain surveillance cameras in their rooms. In the last two years, at least five states have considered similar legislation. Although some states have administrative guidelines for electronic monitoring, most legislative efforts have stalled because of questions about liability and, in particular, privacy rights, raised by facility owners, unions, elder care lawyers and families. Continue reading “Tracking elder abuse”
Last week, Carie Charlesworth, a teacher in California and a victim of domestic violence, was fired from her job because her abusive husband invaded the school parking lot and put the school on lockdown, writes a story in ThinkProgress today.“While her abuser was sent to prison, she was also punished for his crime by losing her employment.
“The school’s action -– firing her because she is a victim of domestic abuse –- is sadly legal in most states. Just six, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island,have laws on the books that bar employment discrimination against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault, according to an up-to-date document tracking these laws from Legal Momentum. State Senators in California introduced a non-discrimination bill in February, which has been referred to committee.
“Illinois and Hawaii, as well as New York City and Westchester County, go further to mandate that employers offer victims reasonable accommodations so that they can stay at work: “things like allowing you to change your work telephone number or changing a shift so someone can’t stalk you and find you,” Michelle Caiola, a senior staff attorney at Legal Momentum, told ThinkProgress. Fourteen states protect victims who need to take time off of work to go to counseling, court, or seek medical attention due to their abuse.
“For their part, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that only about 15 percent of employershave a workplace policy that specifically addresses domestic violence.”
Full story at: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/06/20/2190691/domestic-violence-employment-discrimination/
The number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high in 2012, fanned by President Barack Obama’s reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center amd reported upon by Huffington Post: Continue reading “Hate groups on the rise”
New research reveal that attitudes in California about domestic violence have evolved significantly in recent years. Now the vast majority of respondents believe that the abuse can happen to anyone, and 66 percent said that they have a friend or family member who has been a victim, according to a story in today’s Huffington Post titled “Domestic Violence Survey Shows Shift in Attitudes, Awareness.” The story draws from research done by the San Francisco polling firm Tulchin Research and was funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation.
As reported in Huffington Post, “Victim advocates said that the results of the survey illustrate a marked shift in public opinion and awareness of the topic in recent decades.
“Thirty years ago, domestic violence ‘was not an issue that people would talk about or that people felt was a serious problem,’ said Esta Soler, president of Futures Without Violence, a national anti-violence organization that receives funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. “For most people, they thought that if it happened at all, it happened someplace else.”
“Futures Without Violence, formerly known as the Family Violence Prevention Fund, has previously conducted surveys on attitudes related to domestic violence. According to its 1994 survey of Californians, 32 percent reported knowing women who were physically abused. The organization’s 2000 poll of American men found that 51 percent of the respondents said that they believed a friend or family member was in a physically abusive relationship; that number ticked up to 56 percent in a 2007 poll.
‘The new survey of California adults also explored opinions on prevention programs for adolescents and teens, and respondents largely supported teaching high school and middle school students about dating abuse as a way of preventing domestic abuse. Eighty-nine percent of the survey respondents said that they think it is appropriate to teach high school students about the topic, and 82 percent said it was also appropriate to discuss the issue with middle school students.”