Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards are administered by the Society of Professional Journalists and date back to 1932. More than 1,000 entries were submitted this year in 48 categories. The staff of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison won the public service award for newspapers with circulation of less than 100,000 for "Elder Abuse: Silent Shame." Source: JS Online

The Series:

Day 1: How can this happen?
An elderly recluse starves to death. A con man bleeds nearly $250,000 from two women in their 90s. A nursing home aide sexually assaults a 73-year-old Alzheimer's patient. An eccentric 88-year-old woman with $50,000 in her handbag is shot to death and left in a farm field. The stories, all from Wisconsin, outrage us and capture our attention — for a while. But thousands of senior citizens here, and millions nationally, are suffering silently at the hands of family, caregivers and even themselves.

Day 2: In others' hands
Every year, more elderly move into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities -- dependent on the skill and dedication of nurses, aides and others. Now the aging baby boom generation is poised to further stretch a system that becomes dangerous when homes don't have enough staff, don't train workers well and suffer from high turnover, experts said.

Day 3: Hurting themselves
She had drifted into a hellish life. By the age of 62, the Dane County woman was firmly in the grip of alcohol abuse and her condition was deteriorating. She was picked up by police many times, sometimes landing in the hospital. One time, her hair was so filthy and matted that hospital staff had to cut it off. Her problems had grown worse with age as she refused help from a brother and from county social workers.

Day 4: Easy targets
They have cash and property. Some are alone and frail. Others are sharp and socially connected. And they're being robbed, sometimes losing small sums, sometimes life savings, to family, friends, caregivers and scam artists.

Day 5: Afraid to cry out
In old age, they absorb bruises, rage — even sexual violence. Although society has awakened to the problem of domestic violence between younger people, an entire category of victims remains, for the most part, an afterthought.

Day 6: Caregiver crisis
To countless elders, paid and unpaid caregivers provide companionship and invaluable help with eating, taking medicine, bathing, toileting and safety. But sometimes, those caregivers abuse, neglect and steal in the ultimate betrayal of the most vulnerable among us.

Day 7: Breaking silence
Most people wouldn't let someone hurt a child and get away with it. The growing problem of elder abuse hasn't inspired that kind of resolve. A change, some experts say, may be provoked by the very group about to further strain the public safety net: aging baby boomers.

Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame

Kathleen Simane, a court-appointed guardian, used her position to steal more than $75,000 from her dying great-aunt, Helen Fabis, and is mentioned in the series - Day 4: Easy targets


Unknown said...

Thank you for pointing out that abuse takes all forms and that the outrage of abuse of seniors is not there as it is for children. as an ombudsman I spend hundreds of hours in nursing homes and I learn so much from our elders. They deserve much better. Thanks, Anthony Cirillo

Anonymous said...

Too many times, the elder abuse perpetrator goes on abusing and plundering without attracting societies' attention.

Thanks to the reporter and the media for allowing him to DO his job. Many times the media is restrictive on subject matter.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Applause and standing ovation to Dean Mosiman and the Wisconsin State Journal for your efforts and hard work in your award winning series Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame on the many forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation of our senior citizens and vulnerable adults.

Anonymous said...

Congtratulations again and again.

Your exceptional series "Elder Abuse: Silent Shame" has been recognized and honored by winning many well-deserved awards.

Concerned Citizen said...


Is Kathy Simane using the name Kathy Larson to train gun dogs in Minnesota?

How can a convicted felon be legally using guns to train dogs just because she uses a different name?

This doesn't seem right or legal to me. Kathleen Simane aka Kathy Simane aka Kathy Larson should be thrown back in Wisconsin prison for this.

From: Concerned Citizen