I’m mad as hell about the way our elderly population—our parents, relatives, all our senior relatives and friends—are shoved aside, tormented, victimized and abused. Why, you may ask, are we so angry about how our seniors are treated?
Here’s a recent example: The State of California provides home care for its elders, yet allows convicted felons to participate in the program. I’m serious: you can’t make this stuff up.
In home health care provides services that promote, maintain or restore the health of older adults in their own homes. The assistance may
range from cleaning and home maintenance to personal care, including dressing, grooming, meal preparation, bathing, and the like. In-home care enables seniors to maintain their independence, remain in their homes, receive the care they require, and avoid the trauma of nursing home living. This sounds pretty good; but what if felons are allowed to be “caregivers?” That’s the unfortunate situation in California.
The Los Angeles “Times” recently reported that
“Scores of people convicted of crimes such as rape, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon are permitted to care for some of California’s most vulnerable residents as part of the government’s home health aide program,” including at least 210 of these “caregivers” who were determined to be “unsuitable” to work in the program, yet permitted to begin or continue employment.
Imagine, if you can, the outrage of a child of an elder participating in this program, living in say, Chile or Vietnam, when she read this article.
Compounding the problem is the fact that privacy laws prevent notification of the “elderly, infirm and disabled clients” that their in-home health aides may be a dangerous felon, such as:
· A woman convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, forging drug prescriptions, and selling drugs;
· A person convicted of welfare fraud, willfully threatening bodily harm, drug possession and two counts of burglary;
· A man convicted of raping a three-year-old child.
Laura West, a Sacramento prosecutor, reports that she is prosecuting three caregivers for fraud against the system, one of whom has been convicted of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon; another has committed identify theft; and the third is a drug dealer. West deadpans: “Can you do this job if you burned down someone’s house? Yes. Murdered someone? Yes. Raped a three-year-old child? Yes.”
While Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature struggle to find a solution for this problem, help is available. Elderkind.com offers a free background check for potential in-home healthcare aides.
The service is available online at the firm’s website.
We at Great Places are appalled by how our seniors are victimized--and we won't be quiet when government itself allows infirm seniors to be harmed by its own programs. The SENIOR WATCHDOG is on the case.