Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ending Elder Abuse by Diane S. Sandell & Lois Hudson

From the Publisher
Nearly 1.6 million Americans now live in nursing homes. That number will double in the next twenty years, as medical science lengthens our life expectancies and the senior population grows. Inevitably, most of us will have to supervise the care of aging parents or grandparents, and every one of us faces the prospect of growing old and possibly frail. Thirty percent of elderly Americans say they would rather die than move into a nursing home. Their fears are well founded: Inspection documents show that more than a quarter of the nursing homes in the United States have been repeatedly cited for violations that caused serious harm or death to residents. In California, fully one third caused serious injury or death, and less than 2 percent of nursing homes had no violations!

My Take 
Bessie Lane Jarvis had lived a full and fulfilling life. She had survived the Great Depression, bore three children, watched her son go off to war, lost a son too soon and a husband after more than 60 years of marriage. She was a survivor. That is until she was moved to a nursing home. Here she was abused and beaten by a facility employee. Her family had thought she was supposed to be safe here. Bessie’s family quickly moved her to another facility after the beating but she died only six weeks later.
Ending Elder Abuse tells the story of Bessie Lane Jarvis—the mother of author Diane Sandell. In the first half of the book, Sandell discusses her own personal experience with her mom’s situation and tells us about her mom. The second half is more for the doctors, families and administrators.  There are also chapters called “Attention” directed to various groups asking them to put themselves in the elder person’s place and how the group is treating the elder. The most informative chapter, in my opinion, were the last couple chapters on evaluating and coping care concerns.
I am a caregiver for my mother and there will be a assisted living or nursing home in our future. When I had the opportunity to review this book, I was very excited thinking I was going to get some concrete assistance. Then I read the disclaimer in the book indicating “the information herein is derived from the authors’ personal experience” and that it “is not the purpose of this book to reprint all the material that is……on the subject of elder abuse prevention”. With a title of Ending Elder Abuse, a family guide I think I was expecting more than just personal experience. I wanted some guidance on how to end elder abuse or at least how to avoid it.
Overall, this was a sad, although interesting, book about Mrs Jarvis’ situation. There were a couple of short chapters that gave me information regarding our foray into elder facilities but not enough to call it a “family guide”.
I would give this book a 3 out of 5 for being a guide for families.

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