For those of you who followed the trial of Norma and Mike Childers on elder abuse charges, do you understand what went on?
As a society, we can't deal with death. We think that death should only come in a very pleasant way with no awful smells, no horrifying sights, no suffering, nothing ugly about it. When it doesn't happen this way, "someone" is responsible. "Someone" must pay for this.
Plus whoever is left always feels guilt; "I could have done more, said more, made them more comfortable," no matter how much that person has or hasn't done. And that guilt makes it necessary for us to find a "guilty party," never ourselves since it just isn't pleasant to take any personal responsibility.
Anybody who is selfless enough to help individuals and their families at this point in their lives has to deal with these realities and surprisingly enough, there are lots of people out there who do. But for how much longer will they be willing?
The Childerses were found innocent but the damage to their reputation, their emotions, not to mention their financial situation is irreparable. When all of us baby boomers get to the end years of our lives, where do we want to go? To the federally subsidized convalescent homes or to a warm, caring, nonmedical setting? Places like Nevada Cares will not be there. We will have put them out of business.
As it stands, the state Division of Aging writes them up citations because they serve too much fresh fruit and vegetables and even more heinous, they allow a resident to go to bed at 6:30 p.m. if he wants to. I know that in those federally protected convalescent centers, people lack basic necessities of care. But they are not criminally charged. The Childerses were.
I say all this from personal experience with Nevada Cares and the convalescent center. It is an emotional issue, but our need to assign blame and sue could be devastating to this industry just when we need to encourage caring people to go into it. Keep all this in mind when Sen. Reid wants to "help" the elderly by subsidizing people to do this. Remember that the Department of Aging now spends thousands of dollars issuing citations to assisted living centers for serving fruit salad instead of rice pudding and for having a hand-lettered "Oxygen In Use" sign, and this is when no federal dollars are involved, just state regulations.
I would like to see Gov. Guinn look into savings in the Department of Aging where these what I would call "frivolous citations" are originating. The good adult caregivers shouldn't have to deal with this from the state on top of the difficult job they do.
ANN T. NUNNEMAKER