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A Daughter’s Worst Fears Linda Kincaid, MPH Our conference theme is “Health in all policies.” But our theme presumes that individuals have the right to self-determination and have access to the care they need. That ideal is not always a reality.

On Friday, I attended the NIH workshop on elder abuse. There was discussion of abuse in longterm care facilities. There is growing awareness of rampant abuse within guardianship. Also on Friday, the Wall Street Journal released a long awaited article on abuse by court appointed guardians.

As we discuss the public health aspects of elder mistreatment, please bear in mind that statistics represent individuals. Charts and numbers represent the suffering of families and their loved ones.

My mom had Alzheimer’s and spent her last years in long-term care. It was a beautiful facility nestled in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. An enclosed courtyard kept residents safe from outside harm.

But all was not as it appeared… Caregiver records tell a story of pain and fear. My mom was terrified of a male caregiver who worked alone at night in the dementia unit. Records show that my mom fought, screamed, and begged for help. She often complained of “pain in stomach.” Records show that my mom received extra meds when the male caregiver present. The facility silenced her cries with Ativan, Seroquel, and Haldol.

2015 American Public Health Association Conference Opening comments for: Elder Mistreatment & the Public’s Health


A Daughter's Worst Fears  

Opening comments for: 2015 American Public Health Association Elder Mistreatment and the Public's Health