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Friday, October 19

October is Senior and Elders Month in Ontario


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October is Senior and Elders Month in Ontario. Due to the case of Norma Stinson, who was abused by her nurses at the retirement home in which she lived, Ontario is looking more closely at how seniors are cared for. The story of Norma Stinson was a terrible tragedy. Norma was 87 years old and was kicked, slapped and stolen from. Her private care nurses discovered the abuse and moved Norma to another facility.

Without the staff of the new facility being aware of it, her nurses set up a video camera in her room. It caught the nurses there abusing Norma as well. When caught, they said that she kicked them and abused them and they were only retaliating. Norma's private nurses knew this was not so, as Norma couldn't lift her legs more than 6 inches. Norma's story was aired on W5 in the summer of 2005. Unfortunately, Norma has passed away since then.

How would we feel if our mothers or grandmothers were treated this way in a facility where they were paying thousands of dollars to be cared for? Where is the justice when the perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist for abusing a defenceless senior?

There's been a huge public cry in Ontario since Norma's story aired - and so there should be. Staff of retirement and nursing homes should be fired immediately if they so much as raise their voice to a senior. I know it can be frustrating when caring for elderly patients who kick, slap and punch the nurses who are responsible for their care, but often this is because the senior is retaliating in self defence.

I worked as a geriatric nurse in a nursing home and in private duty nursing. When I was a private duty nurse, I looked after a woman who was 101 years old. She kicked, slapped and, if you weren't watching, she would also bite. She had very few teeth, but knew exactly how to use the ones she did have. I could never figure out why she did this until one morning I arrived for work early.

As I walked toward the woman's private room, I heard shouting. The lady was crying out. I stood at the door and watched the night nurse pull the sheets off of the woman, grab her by the legs and turn her out of the bed. The woman hit the nurse and the nurse hit her back. I went ballistic and told the nurse to get out of the room. She did and I began to talk gently to the elderly woman. I laid her down and talked to her. I spoke in a gentle voice. I rubbed her legs that were always swollen.

Finally, she calmed down. I got her dressed, up in a chair and went to get her breakfast. I fed her, washed her face and combed her hair. I applied some lipstick. I told her how beautiful she was. She smiled, enjoying the praise. This lady had once been a social butterfly. I realized that she hated being trapped in a body that wouldn't work while her mind was as sharp as a tack.

I can't say that this lady never slapped, punched or bit another nurse. She did. What I did find out was that if you treated her kindly and with love, she responded positively. She wanted to be treated with dignity and respect.

If you know a senior citizen who is being abused by a family member or a health care professional, please report it. After all, someday you will be a senior and when that day comes, it will be you at the mercy of the perpetrators.

33 comments:

  1. Mary, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and the most beautiful award!

    Your post made me cry. I worked as a CNA years ago in a nursing home. Oh yes, we had a couple of patients who were as awnry as awnry could get; but to think of hurting any of them would have never crossed anyone's mind.
    Our elderly deserve only loving care and respect and you are wonderful for putting a voice out there for them!

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  2. My mom back in New York just went into a nursing home - probably her final home, she's 95.

    It seems like a good place but I'm sure my brother will be paying close attention.

    Thanks for this post.

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  3. I'm thrilled you like the award and you are most deserving.

    Most nurses wouldn't hurt anyone under their care. Seems we have a few bad apples in Ontario. Thank you for your comments.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  4. Granny,

    Congratulations on your mom being 95. My mom is 80. I'm glad she is still living at home and able to take care of herself. That is definitely a blessing.

    Wishes for a great weekend.
    Mary

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  5. How sad we don't value our seniors as the treasures they are...

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. God Bless you for what you do. I was a volunteer in a nursing home as a teenager and what stuck in my mind was how lonely so many of the people were. Many had no families that even visited, and even the crankiets of residents responded to a kind smile, a hug or a ear to listen.

    I live in Indiana but have extended family in the Arnprior and Port Hope areas.

    Congratulations on the award.

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  8. I took care of my dear momma until she passed away last april, I have a great heart for seniors. Thanks for sharing this my friend.

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  9. It's unfortunate that there are so many stories similar to Norma's. It's for just that reason that my sister and I decided not to place my mom in a nursing home when she could no longer live by herself. We feel so blessed that mom's current health allows her to live with my sister and her family.

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  10. How sad!! We have these issues in the US as well.

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  11. Hi Mary ~ ~ A good post about a bad subject and unfortunately I guess similar things happen in lots of places. It is so sad to abuse a helpless elderly person. They will be old one day, and sure would not like the treatment they are handing out now. Thank you for your comments and thank you for wishing Olive a happy birthday. It is hard to believe 108 and she is so aware and so bright.
    I have always liked that I had no shoes saying. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

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  12. Terri,

    Thanks for dropping by. It certainly is sad that these seniors worked hard all their lives and are now being abused in these facilities. There a watch dogs in place, but where were they when poor Norma was being beaten?

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Mary

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  13. skywriter,

    Thanks for visiting and leaving the comment. Yes, many seniors are lonely. Once they are put into these institutions, their families seem to forget them. Very said.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  14. Denise,

    I'm glad to hear that you took care of your mama until she passed away. I'm sure you miss her.

    I've promised my mother that unless I am incapacitated, that she will never have to go in a nursing home. She turned 80 in September and is very independent. She still drives and attends church and other events several times a week.

    Have a Super Saturday.
    Mary

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  15. Joan,

    Congratulations to you and your sister for taking care of your mom. I'm sure she's delighted with being able to continue to live outside of these facilities.

    Mary

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  16. Marsha,

    Elder abuse takes place in almost every country of the world. Yes, it is sad. We must protect our seniors from abuse and neglect. Thanks for posting.

    Mary

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  17. Merle,

    I am so glad that Olive is being taken such good care of. She certainly doesn't look 108. Wow! That's a long life. The stories she would have to tell.

    Thanks for dropping by, my friend. Have a Super Saturday.

    Mary

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  18. Mary,

    What a sad story, but you are right, elderly/senior abuse happens everyday, all over the world. Not only in nursing homes, but often by their own family members. Anyone who abuses a senior should not only loose their job and reputation, but should sit in jail for awhile.

    Back in the late 60's, my paternal grandmother's mother (Minnie) was abused in a nursing home, my family said never again.
    We kept Pop at home as long as we could, when he finally had to have professional care 24 hrs a day, we chose his nursing home carefully and a family member was with him everyday.

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  19. "October is Senior and Elders Month in Ontario. Due to the case of Norma Stinson..."

    Such a sad story. But such a wonderful awareness has come, from it.

    Mari-Nanci

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  20. Deborah,

    I'm glad that Pop was able to remain at home until he needed constant care. When elders go to nursing homes they need someone with them to make sure they not neglected or abused.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Blessings,
    Mary

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  21. Marci-Nancy,

    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to meet you.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  22. This makes me so sad. I know it happens far too often, and I don't understand how anyone could be so heartless.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday!

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  23. I've worked in a rest home and got the patients to do more with just kindness than some of the bullying that I saw going on. The others said I "spoiled" them but I was told by a head nurse that hired me when I was 17 to work in a hospital one summer that I should treat every patient like they were my mother, and that is just what I did.

    That is not to say that I was not hit and cursed at...one old fella retaliated on me because the electric razor I was shaving him with was dull and pulled his face, he sucker punched me in the stomach...I found out later I was preggers with my son, it is by the Grace of God I did not lose him! I did not hold it against the old man but tried to stay out of fist range after that...lol!

    I think it is wonderful that a day has been set aside but like you think every day they should be treated with respect!

    Have a wonderful day!

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  24. Yes, kindness and respect is the ticket. However, elderly people can be unpredicatable and you have to keep a sharp eye on them

    Thanks for visiting.

    Blessing,
    Mary

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  25. Mary,

    We are having a similar problem in the US, too. It is an outrage. It is so sad that a few bad nurses and caretakers can cause so much harm. If only they were all as kind and compassionate as you are. This is an excellent, informative article. Thank you!

    hugs,
    Tina

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  26. There was a time when family always took care of the elders. Bringing them into their home and treating them with loving respect and honor. I believe this pleases my Lord. There are a few homes that still do this but the majority seem to just want the old people out of their hair and stick them anyplace that will have them. Also more women are working these days and there is no one i the home to care for their elderly loved ones.
    Abuse of anyone is wrong and should never be tolerated. Yes it should be reported but there should also be some sort of discipline. Being fired is not discipline.
    I think jail time is proper for these people and they should NEVER be allowed to be in a position to care for anyone again young or old.
    It's a shame there aren't more nurses like you Mary. Our elderly could feel the love of Christ through the caregivers making their last years much more pleasant.
    God bless you.

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  27. Tina,

    I'm sorry that elder abuse is also an issue in the US. Seniors should be loved and protected. We have laws against cruelty to animals, but very few on elder abuse.

    Thanks for posting. I wish you a wonderful weekend.

    Hugs,
    mary

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  28. mountain mama,

    I agree with you completely. Elder abuse should be punished with an automatic jail time of more than 2 years - which means prison time here in Canada.

    Thanks for posting. I always enjoy your visits. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Mary

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  29. Mary, thank you for this wonderful post. I feel so strongly about this subject and you have reminded me to always speak out on elder abuse. I took a gerontology class in college taught by a professor who was in his 80's and had written two books from which he taught. I still remember him and what he taught me about the care of the elderly. My mother was in assited living for a few years and thank God she was treated very well, but also my sister and I were very proactive which we have to be with our loved ones. But what about the poor souls who have no one to advocate for them? On another note, thank you for visiting my blog and your very nice comment and link. Your name is in the hat!

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  30. violetlady,

    The elderly have worked hard all their lives. Many times they have children who don't appreciate what their parents have done for them. This irks me a LOT! I believe it is the child's responsibility to care for their parents in their old age. I do know that we have to work, but we also have to advocate for the elderly.

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your visit.

    Mary

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  31. My father was in a care home for four years. My bro and I visited every week, each of us, sometimes twice a week and we sometimes visited at unusual hours just to see what what really going on. We called him every day. And my son would jump on the bus and run down to the home between college classes to say hi to him. My good friend was a visiting hospice nurse there and would pop in to see him. He was well treated in the home and when he passed away we had a memorial service for him there so the other residents and workers could 'say goodbye' to him. I know it was better for him than most because we were always around and because he was ambulatory and 'had all his marbles' and for that I will always be grateful.

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  32. willow,

    That is the key - drop in often and at unusual hours. It was good that he was ambulatory and had a keen mind. It is those who don't that suffer more.

    Thanks for being a regular visitor to my blog. I always enjoy your visits.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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