The Shame Hiding in Some Maine Families
It’s hard to believe that some families in Maine are taking advantage of and, let’s say the correct word… abusing… a mother, father or grandparent. But it is true Two-thirds of elder abuse is done by adult children and spouses.
How could we? How could we let a grandmother come to live with us, but then blame her for the stress, the lack of money, the family fights? How could we move ourselves into our mother’s house, take over control of her finances and spend her money for our needs? How could we take her prescriptions and use, sell or give them to our friends? How could we decide to take mom home from the hospital instead of letting her go to a nursing home for better care…because we’re afraid we’ll lose her Social Security check?
Have we no shame? As a person becomes frail, why do we allow a caregiver to control, torment and abuse him or her? A son moves in with mother to help her. Because he has big debts, he becomes a co-signer on her checking account and drains it. A controlling husband ups the abuse as his wife becomes frail. He won’t take her out to do errands or go to church, or see the grandchildren. A family ridicules grandma if she makes a mistake or forgets something. It becomes the family entertainment to laugh at grandma.
Oh, not in my family, you say. Well, maybe not, but have you seen or suspected someone being treated abusively and stood by in silence, because you didn’t want to become involved or didn’t know what to do?
Mainers should not stand by and let this happen. We Mainers are better people. There is no excuse for elder abuse.
Here’s what you can do:
If you are being abused, call Adult Protective Services (1-800-624-8404) as soon as possible. They will talk with you confidentially, and protect your safety.
If you worry that someone you know is being abused, call and report it to authorities. Call 9-1-1, Adult Protective Services (1-800-624-8404) or your local police department. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Your call will be treated confidentially, and your name will not be used as a whistle-blower.
Support bills in state and federal legislation that strengthen laws against elder abuse (currently proposed LD 527 in Maine legislature). Respect your elders.
For more information about the Oxford County Domestic Violence Task Force, please contact Diane at 364-9908 or email@example.com.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, call: Safe Voices: 24 hr. free and confidential helpline 800-559-2927, www.safevoices,org; REACH: Sexual Assault Support Center: 800-871-7741 www.reachmaine.org; or contact your local police department: 9-1-1 for emergency only.