By Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
Caregivers of the elderly have a legal as well as a moral obligation to provide proper care for their charge. Allowing your 84-year-old mother to rot to death is considered illegal.
Attorney, Marie-Therese Connolly, received the MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called “genius” grant, and was awarded $50,000 in recognition of a career that focused on many forms of elder abuse, including physical and psychological abuse, as well as the financial exploitation and wrongful deprivation of rights of the elderly.
One example of a case handled by Ms. Connolly involved Chris Wise, a caregiver for his mother who was sentenced to three years in prison. Why? Even though his mother said she did not want to go to a nursing home and wanted to die at home with dignity, there is nothing dignified about dying in a filthy bed, emaciated and covered in sores so deep that bone was visible. In her last days he ignored her calls for help, and just turned up the sound of his music so he could more easily ignore her.
Of course this is unpleasant to imagine, but thankfully it is called to our attention so that we can be more vigilant in protecting our seniors. Perhaps this will help move some state Legislatures, including Idaho, to strengthen their laws to protect the elderly.
Congratulations and thank you, Ms. Connolly, for your work to protect seniors.