"Dear Kathy" - By Kathleen Wright-Brawn
Isolation and abuse of a parent also constitutes abuse of that parent's family. Most of us here at Kasem Cares have experienced the trauma and loss experienced when a third party takes a loved one away their from family and friends. We have all united through Kasem Cares to make sure no one ever has to go through that pain alone again.
To further this goal, we would like to hear from you, people like us, who are family members and loved ones who have been left to piece things together and to struggle to figure out how this tragedy happened to their families.
Please feel free to share your own stories, contribute, ask questions, and write to me at [email protected]. I'm starting this column to include important information about elder abuse and isolation as well as related topical insights and personal stories of isolation and abuse.
Love and blessings,
Kathy was blessed to have the title of domestic goddess for most of her adult life. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of Wyatt, Wynnie and Dylan. She worked for the United States Postal service as a mail carrier and union representative for eight years negotiating with management for the rights of her co workers. In
1990 Kathy got involved with the self help movement attending many talks and conferences on sexual abuse, domestic violence and chemical dependency with speakers such as Depok Chopra, and John Bradshaw. As a member of the Red Cross she helped hurricane Katrina victims by listening to their stories and obtaining clothes, medical attention and funds for lodgings. Christmas of 2012 Kathy's father was taken by a caregiver friend who left no information on where they were going or when they'd be back. That was the start of her fathers 14 month isolation, abuse and eventual death at the hands of others. This led to her involvement in Kasem Cares and her position on the executive board of Kasem Cares. Kathy's passion now is to advocate against isolation and elder abuse.
Here's a list of things abusers do when taking control, isolating and abusing an elder. The same actions are also taken by guardians, strangers, caretakers, a family member, banks, lawyers, business employees etc.
You are not alone. I've come to the realization that there are common threads in how the abuse is accomplished.
It happened to me too. Even though I was a mental health professional and care manager working with older adults. Even though my husband and I had previously been caring for my grandmother in our home and received rave reviews about the care we were providing. Isolation abuse happened to us.
In the spirit of the season I'd like to remind us of the greatest gift we all possess and that is the blessing of HOPE!
I have gotten stories from every state of our country, but recently I've been flooded with a large amount of stories from residents of the state of Washington who are experiencing isolation and abuse of the vulnerable. Because of their great need to be heard, I'm spotlighting one story a week from Washington State for a month's time. I will continue to do this each month for each state.
As many of you may know, Kerri Kasem, as well as myself, lost our father's, who both suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, in Washington State, after months of isolation and elder abuse. Hopefully the truth of abuse mentioned in these letters, by the citizens of the state experiencing this treatment, will encourage those in power to serve and protect their constituents as they agreed to do when they were voted into office.
I have ties to group homes who house people from the ages of 65 to 105. How can an elderly person be abused
? I mean, I've heard of domestic violence and forms of abuse and child abuse, but what constitutes elder abuse? Are laws clearly defined in this regard. How come it is not given enough precedence in the public like child abuse? What rights do the elderly have? I'm a fan of your organization and appreciate any insights you can share to bring attention to this issue.