Adult Protective Services ©

I don’t want to ruin your New Year but there is something we need to discuss. This is a repeat column from 2016 but unfortunately it bears repeating in these days where senior abuse is as prevalent as it is.

I can never write about this topic without recalling what happened to my own mother right here in middle Georgia several years ago. Two teenage boys came to her door. When she answered, they pushed in the door, ripped the phone lines from the walls, demanded her purse, threw her in the bathtub and stole her car. When mom finally came to her senses she was able to walk next door to Granny Ellis’s house where they called the police. Fortunately, through effective police work, the perpetrators were arrested in just a few weeks, tried, convicted and sent to jail within a few months. We are blessed with a relatively peaceful community here in middle Georgia, but we’re not immune to violence and abuse toward seniors.

Who commits these heinous crimes?

Strangely enough, adult children are some of the most common perpetrators of family violence against seniors, followed by current or previous spouses. Some time ago at Visiting Angels®, we took on a new client who was homeless because her grown son scammed her out of her metro Atlanta home using a refinance tactic and then her daughter left her without transportation when she made off with her mom’s car. Imagine being left destitute like that by your own children! Unfortunately, “relationship crimes” are more common than you would think

The Tip of the Iceberg

All the reports of elder abuse recorded by authorities every year are only the tip of the iceberg; according to data from different states, for every case of elder abuse reported, another 12 or 13 are not. Why? Several reasons, including:

fear of being sent to a nursing home

fear of reprisal

lack of awareness about what help is available and where to go for help

shame of having raised an abusive child

fear of not being believed

nowhere to go

fear of being denied access to grandchildren

fear of being rejected by family

intense family loyalty

What to do if you suspect….

Senior abuse in your circle of friends? First of all, be alert to ANY suspicious activity, behavior, or comments that involve the seniors in your life. Don’t be naïve. Remember, what the Bible says in Jeremiah 17: 9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

States differ on who is required to report suspected elder abuse. According to Adult Protective Services in Georgia, mandated reporters in Georgia include: medical personnel including physicians, interns, residents and others; osteopaths; dentists; psychologists; chiropractors; podiatrists; pharmacists; physical therapists; occupational therapists; licensed professionals and counselors; nursing personnel; social work personnel; day care personnel; coroner; medical examiner; employees of a public or private agency engaged in professional health-related services to elder persons or disabled adults; employees of a financial institution, and law enforcement personnel.

How to report suspected elder abuse? Of course, if it’s an emergency, dial 911. Otherwise, if you suspect something you can report anonymously at http://aging.dhs.georgia.gov/adult-protective-services. I’m sure you won’t remember that website but a little Googling will get you there where you can report online or by phone.

Let’s vow to keep our vulnerable seniors as safe as we can in 2019.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Coffee and Waffles ©

I’d like to take this space today to tell you a heartwarming true story taking place in our Visiting Angels’ business.

A few years ago, my second oldest son and business partner, William, agreed to temporarily dog sit a Golden Retriever for a friend of his who was being transferred overseas. After a year or so, the friend’s circumstances changed and the temporary became permanent, and the retriever, named “Waffles”, became a permanent member of William’s family.

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Backup a few years even before Waffles was dropped off and we hired Eva, a care giver to seniors who herself was a senior. After eight years of faithfully serving seniors all over middle Georgia as a Visiting Angel care giver herself, Eva decided it was time for her to work on her retirement plan. So she went to her boss, my son, William and told him what she’d like to do: “I want to train a dog that I can take to my seniors and bring them comfort”; that was her retirement plan! William said “I think I have just the right dog for you: Waffles”.

That was the beginning of Waffles’ formal training as a therapy dog. Even tempered and gentle by nature, Waffles really only needed to be certified to take her sweetness out to the public. And that’s exactly what Eva did. On her own time, after work, Eva would go to William’s house, pick up Waffles in her car and take her to her training classes. I don’t know who enjoyed this more, Eva or Waffles; whoever it was, it worked and Waffles was pronounced ready for duty a couple months ago.

So what exactly is Waffles’ duty? She, along with Amber, our Community Relations Manager and Eva go to visit seniors in assisted living facilities and Nursing homes where senior residents aren’t able to care for pets for obvious reasons.

But when she visits her seniors, Waffles never goes “Empty Pawed”; she almost always dresses in her petite party hat and takes coffee and cupcakes or some other sweet treat to make her seniors feel loved while they enjoy petting her.

So how are these canine capers being received? Waffles already has bookings a couple months into the fall. Here’s how it works:

  • Amber makes prior arrangements with the senior facility

  • She takes Waffles to be groomed and dressed for the occasion

  • They go by the bakery for cupcakes and Starbucks for coffee

  • They visit the Senior facility for sweet treats and dog petting while all the seniors tell their dog and pet stories

  • Waffles gets an afternoon out

  • Eva gets to see her retirement plan blessing lots of seniors, and,

  • Maybe, just maybe, when a senior needs some extra help, they’ll call Visiting Angels®

It’s a win, win, win retirement plan. Thank you Eva for eight wonderful, unselfish years of service to our seniors!!!!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com 

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#pettherapy #goldenretriever #visitingangels #pawtytime #assitedliving #retirementplan #doglovers #coffeelovers #puppiesandcupcakes

“A Shore Cure” is the name of an ocean front vacation home in Kure Beach, NC about 20 miles south of Wilmington where my mother-in-law grew up and where her family inevitably returned for family vacations whenever the opportunity presented itself. That tradition continued on after my wife and I were married and had our own family.

In fact, during one of our visits back in the summer of 1991 we made an offer on the house that sat on the same ocean front lot that “A Shore Cure” sits on. We owned it and used it whenever opportunity allowed (which was infrequent because we lived in Canada at the time). Then over Labor Day weekend of 1996 hurricane Fran decided to take our treasured home, which we called “Ocean Spray”, out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Even though we only owned it for four years, the family missed that home more than I realized because during one of our family dinners a few years ago one of my sons suggested we rent a home there for a family vacation. Before we finished desert we had booked “A Shore Cure ” for a week of family frolicking at the beach in 2015; that was “Part I”. Part II will be next week.

As I was thinking about it this morning and making my plans to get all my farm chores covered next week, I mentioned to my wife what an incredible blessing it is to be able to take such a vacation with our family. Think of it, two of my sons are not only neighbors and business partners but they want to go on vacation together too! I never had that kind of relationship with my brother.

It’s been interesting to see the excitement building over the last few weeks as my daughters-in-law and wife have gotten together to plan activities and meals for the week. Speaking of meals, how do you shop, cook and cleanup for a crew of fifteen hungry vacationers three times a day and keep your sanity? Easy. Each couple gets assigned one day of the week to plan, shop, cook and cleanup . For the most part everyone pitches in on the cleanup but one couple is responsible. That way the burden gets shared in a way that everyone perceives as fair; and there’s even a little competition to see who can come up with the best meal of the week.

The reality is that it takes a lot of planning and work to pull off a successful family vacation but that’s a part of what makes it so special. Building family traditions one memory at a time is a wonderful thing. Years ago Mom’s dad got them started in Wilmington fishing from Johnny Mercer’s Pier and crabbing in the sound. Her husband-to-be started his entrepreneurial career at Carolina Beach renting bicycles by the hour.

I’m sure I’ve heard the story a dozen times or more of how he made more in one summer than his father made all year selling motorcycles. We’re now into the fourth generation of this beach tradition. I wonder what kinds of stories my kids and grandkids will be telling about us? I hope they’re good and I hope they’re funny! And I hope you get to take a family vacation this summer too.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors……see you next week!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

#homecare #family #vacation #visitingangels #centralga #macon #warnerrobins #perry

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