Chestnut was started in 1989, almost 24 years ago. In that time, we have met with thousands of people and have had the good fortune of becoming a part of countless families, which I count among the best part of what we do. We try our best to get to know the children and often the grandchildren of our clients, or meet the parents if our initial contact is with a younger component of the family unit.
I was recently at a conference of my peers, and the issue of elder abuse came up. While we don't see this with our clients for the most part because of our relationships with multi-generations in the same family, I was shocked and saddened to hear my peers telling stories of abuse caused by healthcare assistants, home care workers, trades people and yes, even their children. Theft of jewelry, money and family keepsakes were among the terrible things these folks were subjected to, in addition to outright mental and physical abuse. Intimidation and manipulation were also a factor in taking advantage of our elders. While I know this is an unfortunate fact of life, to hear these stories from my fellow professionals was quite upsetting, to say the least. To hear firsthand how these folks were duped, sometimes by those closest to them made me both sad and angry at the same time. It is wrong on too many levels to list.
Needless to say, we are vehemently against any type of action that may fall into this issue or category. If you think you've been taken advantage of in any way and don't know where to turn, you can contact your local authorities, police or even call your Chestnut planner with full confidentiality for help. If you know of someone you think may be or has been a victim of abuse, please intercede. If it would not be for these wonderful people, we would not be here having this conversation. Thank you.