Elder Abuse – a hidden evil

Frank
as a young man

Today, on the Feast of St Joseph – March 19, 2021, I cannot help thinking about my own father, Francesco Iannarino, about his life and about the tragic way his life ended. For most of dad’s 85 years, up to that last year of 2005, my dad’s life was blessed in a way that few lives are blessed. Dad, who was known to others outside his family as Frank, was born into a warm and loving family in January of 1920. Dad was the youngest son of Sicilian immigrants. He was physically strong and was gifted with a remarkable mind.

Throughout dad’s life whenever he encountered obstacles, dad found the strength and ability to overcome those obstacles. During the height of World War II dad met and married Bert, a woman of great faith and love. Mom and dad cherished one another for more than sixty years and were blessed with four daughters. Frank and Bert worked diligently to raise their little family. They supported their Church and the communities in which they lived. 

God blessed Bert and Frank in their relationships, both in their families and their wider communities. They had close friends and were able to assist their extended families when a need arose. Though dad never made a large salary, he and mom saved for their retirement, ever conscious of the necessity to prepare for the time when dad could no longer work.

Frank and Bert’s wedding

So what happened to this perfect life and this perfect couple that made dad’s end so tragic? There is an old saying: “into every life some rain must fall”, and the” rain” in Bert and Frank’s life came through a caregiver, who had been hired to help dad recover from brain surgery in 2004.

Frank had developed a meningioma, a brain tumor that had grown so large that it was interfering with his ability to manage his finances and take care of mom, who was suffering from a slow moving, progressive dementia. By the time of the second brain surgery in 2004, the tumor had become cancerous. How many years dad would have lived following his second brain surgery in 2004, no one can know, although his physicians believed that dad would fully recover. Even at 84 years of age, dad was physically strong. A woman, who called herself a caregiver, took those years away from my dad.

Over the course of nine months the caregiver slowly ended the life of Frank, weakening him until he could no longer recover, and she attempted to end Bert’s life as well. Though my sisters and I struggled valiantly to care for mom and dad, we were unable to see and understand what the caregiver was doing until it was too late to save dad’s life. On May 11, 2005 dad passed into the arms of our Loving Father in heaven. Never does a day go by that I do not grieve the manner of dad’s passing and question my or my sisters’ inability to uncover the predator in time to save dad’s life.

Mistakes were made by my sisters and me, mistakes that I hope can be avoided by the reader, if you have been given the privilege of caring for an elderly or disabled relative. These suggestions can help you even if your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home. Danger can lie there as well.

On this page you will find posts concerning do’s and don’ts when hiring a caregiver or monitoring the care in a nursing facility to assist you in caring for your loved one. These suggestions are necessary if you are to manage the task appropriately. Some of the suggestions my sisters and I did not consider until after our beloved father had passed away. Perhaps these suggestions will keep you from making the same mistakes we made and will keep your loved one safe. May God bless you in the important work that has been given to you.

All people will die – that is the truth of human life. God gives each one of us a number of days or years. We are meant to safeguard that time and live it to the fullest as we are able, loving and caring for one another. Does a person die through the evil actions of another, or does a person die a natural death, one that has been ordained by God in His time and His way? The answer may be up to you.

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