Calle Johansson commented on Share Your Story 2020-05-23 23:16:37 -0700Some years ago, my mother Ida suffered a stroke. She was 89 years old and a very active woman. She took walks every day, for at least half an hour, no matter the weather. She read books and recommended the ones she liked to her friends in the village. She went to the library and always borrowed two books at a time – one that she had by her bed and one that she kept in her purse, where she also had a crossword puzzle. If she went somewhere, she always brought her purse saying, “If I have to wait for someone it is not a big deal. I am in no hurry, and I have my book to read and a crossword puzzle to wrap my brain around. I have all I need”. Her greatest passion was music, which she had dedicated her life to – as much as she could. It would never go a day without her singing and playing piano. But her dream as a child was to become a teacher. She loved kids and she also fulfilled her dream becoming a primary school teacher. That was not only a job to her. That was who she was. If someone needed extra help, she was there. She never said, “My workday is over, so I won’t help you”. And when someone in the village needed help, she was there for them too. The door in our home was open for those in need, and there were some. She often visited those who were alone and the elderly in the nursing home. Until she was 80, she had a children’s choir that she used to bring to the nursing home to enlighten the day for those who lived there. She was also engaged in the church in different ways. She was an honest and devoted Christian with a strong faith, always caring for others. As part of this she was unhappy about the nursing home. The elder abuse was well known in the village, and among the few who questioned this was my mother. She raised her voice against this, and she also tried to make it more bearable for those who lived there by visiting them and bringing the kids and the music to them. But she asked us to promise her that she would never end up there, no matter what.
Then came the day of her stroke. It was a serious stroke, but it was not life-threatening. It hit the left side of the brain, making her paralyzed on her right side and loosing most of her speech. She was placed under observation in an intensive care unit for two weeks. During this time, she received initial rehabilitation for half an hour at least once a day, sometimes twice. This was the best time of the day for her. She was looking forward to these sessions and she worked as hard as she could, like she always had done in her life. She was dedicated to get better. She also made progress during her time in the ICU. After her two weeks of observation she was told that she would go to a stroke rehab center, where she had a spot waiting. She was very much looking forward to this. But when the day came, and she was released from the ICU her biggest nightmare begun. She was transported to the nursing home she feared the most instead of to the stroke rehab center.
When I found her in the nursing home, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was impossible to comprehend. Talking to the staff didn’t lead anywhere. They had every argument in the world to justify why they didn’t need to treat an old person as a human. All their focus was on themselves. Nothing on the people living there, the people they were supposed to care for. Their arguments could range from everything between “we can’t afford to give old people care, or we don’t have enough staff or resources” to arguments like “we don’t have to do this, or it is not my responsibility” and everything in between, which could include praise of themselves for taking care of elderly, a job no one else would want to do. It never occurred to them that elderly are humans, wonderful people, with feelings and needs like everyone else and a source of experience with many exciting stories to tell. Instead they continued to claim that they did an excellent job, and that they didn’t need to do more because “He wanted to die, he was only waiting for this” or “She had nothing to live for anymore” or “Should we take resources from someone who is younger to care for an older person, really?” or “He didn’t have much longer to live anyway” or “I don’t get enough paid for doing this”, etc etc. The list goes on with their arguments. And they used the argument which suited themselves the best at each time, with no empathy for the elderly and the suffering, traumas, or injuries this would cause them. My mother’s case was horrifying. I could not believe that a normal human being would be capable of treating someone like this. My mother was also a person who they knew well. A person who had been there for many of them when they were in need. But nothing affected them even a bit.
So, I asked them to switch place with my mother. They scoffed and ridiculed this. I asked them to do one experiment and see if they were capable of doing this and if they honestly believed in their treatment of someone else. The experiment was putting one in the staff in my mother’s situation and then treat her the same way they were treating my mother.
The experiment is described below.
THE ULTIMATE EXPERIMENT
Let one in the staff switch position with my Mother for a day.
My Mother suffered a stroke. She became paralyzed on her right side and she lost her speech. She was still able to communicate and show her feelings, needs, and wishes. But she was refused the rehabilitation she was promised. The rehabilitation she was planned for and entitled to. Rehabilitation that she desperately needed and wanted. Rehabilitation that would help her a lot. Instead she was placed at Levinsgården against her will, an elderly home that she feared and that she had asked us to never end up in. A place where they call their abuse “stroke rehabilitation”. But if they call this rehabilitation, why not try these methods on one in the staff. Maybe it is a bit drastic to give someone in the staff a real stroke, but at least we can make the situation similar in other ways and then try their own treatment to see what happens. Of course, it will not be as horrifying as a real stroke. But I am sure it will be horrifying enough. So, let’s get to the ultimate experiment. Select one person in the staff and get started:
First make sure that she can’t move like Mom’s situation. This could be done by putting her into a straitjacket for the whole body so she can’t move even if she is trying to. She can’t even scratch herself if it is itching or change her position if something is hurting or cramping, like a person can’t when paralyzed after a real stroke. Now give her the treatment that my Mother receives. Lock her in alone into a room behind a soundproof door. Force her to be in bed. Keep it dark in the room with the blinds closed, even on a sunny day. Refuse to take her to the bathroom so she must do in her pants. Then when the day is over, do not let her out of the straitjacket. Don’t keep the promise and the agreement of helping her getting out of the straitjacket. Can you see the panic in her eyes now? She can’t get out of the straitjacket by herself. She is dependent on the people around her to help her out of this. Now talk above her head – not to her. Do not listen to what she says. If needed, put something in her mouth so she can’t talk. This may even make her choke easier, making it more like Mom’s situation, where she often chokes because of problems with swallowing after her stroke. Say above her head that they won’t help her out of her straitjacket even though they could. Some people may object to this treatment – even if it is done to a staff that treats Mom in this exact way and even if it does have a purpose. Even though it has a good purpose some people may still think that it is very cruel. So then make sure that the people that object to this treatment are locked out, harassed and refused to see her or help her. Also, threaten that they will treat her even worse if anyone objects to this treatment or tries to let anyone else know about it, just as they normally do at Levinsgården to quiet people who object or try to report abuse. Now see how many weeks it will take before the staff in the straitjacket becomes crazy. See if she is not suffering her heart out. See if this is not completely devastating for her body and mind. Should you not stop this experiment? Well, not yet. There are more things that need to be done. See if she survives if you give her Laktulos that produces gases. Gases that she can’t get rid of since she can’t move. Can anyone describe that extreme pain from gases she can’t release since she can’t move while being locked in alone in a soundproof room where no one comes when she screams and cries? Would she survive a night like this? If she did, wouldn’t she be both exhausted and horrified to death after that night? Wouldn’t she do anything to get out of that straitjacket? Wouldn’t she go crazy by treatment like this? If she is still not dead and she is still not apathetic, what else could they do to her? Well, like the treatment to my Mother they could drug her by giving her Imovane, Stesolid and Sobril to make her “manageable” and see if that wouldn’t take the life out of her. Then they could also refuse to take care of her teeth. That would hurt immensely after a very short time. How long before she goes crazy with tooth ache beyond anything she could ever imagine, while she still can’t move to get out of that pain or go to a dentist. Should the experiment go on? Yes, she is still alive. Is it strange that she is objecting and screaming? Is it strange that she is crying and screaming in greatest horror and panic? Is it strange that she hallucinates with fear in her eyes that cannot be described? However, she is still alive. What else can they do? They can keep her in bed on her back in a position so she almost can’t breathe trying to cough mucus out of her lungs. Then they can leave her alone locked into her room lying on her back when she is sick and throwing up all over her face – still unable to move, knowing that next time she throws up she will most likely suffocate in her own vomit. Now would she survive this? Would this make her fear unbearable?
But they could also have done things differently. They could have comforted her when they put the straitjacket on, since it must have been a very horrifying experience to not be able to move – even for only one day. And if by some reason they couldn’t get the straitjacket off after one day, they could at least try as hard as they possibly could to help her out of this. They could call for experts that would help getting the straitjacket off. They could comfort her all the time, keeping her safe, listening to her needs, her fears and make her feel well – even due to the situation, how frightening it must be. They could be there for her. But that wouldn’t make sense. We are switching position with Mom, so she has to be treated like Mom.
Levinsgården and the doctor in charge of this treatment, Dr. Mats Ullén, call this treatment “the best stroke rehabilitation in this country that Ida can get”. How did the staff that switched position with Mom do? Would she call this a great rehabilitation? Wouldn’t she be harmed seriously both physically and mentally? If there is any doubt, then we should try this experiment. It is the ultimate experiment. And to make it scientifically proven we need to take ten people from the staff to switch position with Mom.
However, I don’t think we have to. This would be called torture and attempted murder even if the person didn’t have a stroke – maybe even murder if she dies by this treatment. And as everyone understand, this treatment is torture for anyone exposed to it – stroke victim or not – and it is a way to deliberately take someone’s life in the most horrifying, vicious and appalling way…
So, I don’t think that we have to do the ultimate experiment to understand this.
But to be sure that Levinsgården and Mats Ullén is not right, let’s do the experiment. The people to test this on are of course the people that believe in this treatment, Dr Mats Ullén and the staff at Levinsgården. Let’s get started. Who is willing to switch with Mom?
The experiment was never carried out as you can imagine, and that was never my intention. I wanted the staff to stop for a moment and think for just a second about how surreal and insane their behavior was. An old person is still a person. They knew that they would end up in prison if they did the same to a healthy young person. They knew that it would be plain torture and murder. They knew it would be unbearable trauma and suffering for their coworker if they put her in this situation. They would never do that. But they had no problem treating an old person, with a stroke injury unable to defend herself, in this way. The abuse continued in the same way and even worse. Words cannot describe how my mother suffered. It is a horror story beyond words. No one of us can comprehend this. Even if we read this whole thing a second time and really try to put ourselves into her situation, we will never even get close to understand her suffering. A look in her eyes was enough to realize this. My mother lost the rest of her speech soon after she arrived in the nursing home. Nothing of this bothered the staff. My mother ended up in the place she feared the most and she was unable to escape her abusers by herself.
Most everyone in the village had a relationship to my mother, when she had been there for them in one way or another. She always found reasons to help others in need. But when she needed help herself, no one was there for her.
The staff never found a reason to treat my mother humanely, except for when there was an inspection. I and my mother had to put our hopes to the authorities and the laws that should protect her. So, I reported everything, and I documented everything in detail. Despite the ferocious situation my mother was in, she was still grateful for every report I filed and for every person I talked to. She was grateful to everyone who engaged in helping her. She never gave up. Until the last day she was hopeful she would get out of there. But that day never came.
My mother lost her life due to the abuse she was facing. Her life ended in the most atrocious way on a Thursday afternoon. When she called for help, they instead closed the soundproofed door to her room and left her there. This time she didn’t make it…
The rest of this story is found on her website: http://freeida.com
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Calle Johansson signed Take The Pledge 2020-05-23 15:38:39 -0700Thank You Kerri for speaking up about elder abuse and taking actions. It is more needed than anything in our society of today. Elder abuse is very common, also across the borders. But most people keep quiet about it, if not justifying it – or even encouraging it. I have spent my past 8 years fighting elder abuse, starting with my mother’s case, then finding that it is more common than uncommon that elderly are being abused, discriminated, refused their rights, dishonored and discredited, and even physically or mentally mistreated. Often very intentionally. Although it is right in front of our eyes, it is accepted by most people in our society. Being quiet about elder abuse is pathetic and nothing to be proud of. I have documented all this in detail over the past 8 years, along with filing reports and taking other actions for the purpose of making a difference for others to not end up in the same situation. The solution is simple if we want to make a change for a more humane society, where elderly and others who can’t defend themselves are included. But it requires a change of heart. And it starts with speaking up about it. THANK YOU for doing this. I believe that your cause is the same as mine. I am grateful for your commitment to fighting elder abuse and I hope that more people will join the same cause. You are a role model and a hero. If it benefits your mission, you are welcome to contact me anytime.
Over these years I have seen a common pattern in all cases. I am sure that you have seen the same. I am sharing the information about my mother’s case here: http://freeida.com/.
Although my mother was not famous in any way, this case engaged thousands of people around the world to stand up against elder abuse, contributing in the way they could to protect her rights to care and humane treatment. One of these initiatives is the International Dance Festival created for this purpose – for my mother’s rights and for Elderly’s Rights:
Thank You again for your extraordinary work. It makes a difference. I add my pledge to this. We can all contribute to a world without elder abuse.
Because, abuse only happens if we allow it to happen.
Much love to you and to all in your organization,
Stop the Silence. Promote Awareness. Raise your Voice.
- 1 to 2 million Americans age 65+ report having been abused by a loved one or someone they depend on for care.
- Only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities.
- Only 1 in 25 cases of financial exploitation are ever reported, meaning there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year.
You can do your part to end the silent epidemic of elder abuse by taking the pledge to stand up against elder abuse. There are 10,000 people who are turning 65 each and every day (Pew Research Center), and we are rapidly approaching a time where nearly 50% of the population will be 65 or older. Together, we can end the silence of elder abuse by standing united and raising our voices against this growing problem.
Show your support in this movement, by pledging to end the silence, raising awareness in your community, and speaking up against elder abuse.
"Kerri Kasem is working to honor our elderly. . by God it is very important and obligation to dignify our eldery...Freedom from isolation. Go Kerri Kasem. Thank you." V. Amaral
"Without stimulation and love, people die." THANKS for pointing out that isolation is elder abuse." S. White
"I can't thank you enough for starting this conversation. Your dad would be so proud. He is smiling watching you change such an important part of wishes that I am sure were already planned. It breaks my heart for all the pain you endure to get something that should not even be a fight. You are inspirational and have helped me keep my head on straight knowing how hard you are working. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." R. Bove
"You are amazing! Keep up the fight for all those that can't." S. Benton