I am very honored to present to you our first “Guest” Blogger introducing Vashti Quiroz-Vega, you may know her for the installment of her latest book “The Basement” but when I first requested a guest appearance on B.P, knowing as an Author, and with her busy schedule, I was overwhelmed with joy when she accepted, so without further adue…..
My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega and I am a writer of fantasy and horror. I occasionally write articles about subjects that are important to me such as bullying and abuse. I’ve written on the subject of abuse on many occasions on my blog but I don’t think I’ve ever specifically addressed the abuse of the elderly. This is obviously an important subject that’s too often overlooked.
Words cannot describe how much I love my maternal grandmother. She passed away years ago but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I can’t imagine someone abusing my sweet, kindhearted ‘granny’ in any way. Sadly, there are plenty of grandmas and grandpas being abused on a daily basis.
Elder abuse happens to men and women, in all ethnic, social and economic groups.
And while a lot of media attention has been given to stories of elder abuse by caregivers in private homes, the truth is that anyone can be guilty of committing elder abuse, including family members.
Elder abuse is generally divided into the following categories:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Domestic violence
Psychological Abuse – The willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct. This includes threatening to put them in a home if they don’t act the way you’d like them to.
Financial Abuse – The illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or resources.
Neglect – The failure of the caregiver, and that could be the spouse, son, daughter or grandson/daughter, to fulfill his or her care giving responsibility.
We shouldn’t forget that every day we grow older. No one gets any younger and one day we will be the elderly. We will no longer have the speed, agility or strength we have now. Our bodies will grow weaker, our minds will become foggy, our vision cloudy . . . Would you like someone to take advantage of that? How would you feel if you were discarded because you were no longer young?
Elder abuse is a substantial subgroup of Family Violence. It may be more widespread than thought. Awareness of its occurrence is a first step in halting its progression.
When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
A nurse had to go through his meagre possessions. She found this heartfelt poem.
What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, not very wise
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food, and makes no reply.
When you say in loud voice, ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice, the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or a shoe?
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten, with father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another
A young boy of sixteen, with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now, a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows, that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now, I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide, and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other, with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons, have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me, to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more, babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my wife is now dead.
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing, young of their own.
And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man, and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age, look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone, where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young man still dwells.
And now and again, my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living, life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact, that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer, see ME!
(I recently discovered that the poem was actually written by a Montrose nurse, Phyllis McCormack, in 1966.)