anonymous

 

I am an educated woman, and I thought I was smart enough to not fall prey.

I became disabled in 2012 and entered the assisted living system in the state where I live that same year. In early 2014, I met another resident who invited me to come over and play cards with him and other residents. I immediately noticed that he drank a lot and offered drinks throughout the day and night to other residents. I didn't know what the rules were in the facility where I lived, so I didn't say anything, just respected his right to drink in his own room.

He was charming at first, and claimed to have been to the same country I had traveled to. I was so vulnerable and so isolated at the time, dealing with these new disabilities that I believed him. He bought me gifts, told me he loved me very fast, claimed to serve "virgin drinks" to those of us who did not drink alcohol when we would go over to his room for his "card game parties." He said odd things like, "What happens in Room 282 stays in Room 282", "I get away with a lot here, the CNAs would come give their medicine and I would give them theirs", "I can be manipulative", "No is not the right answer" (this was in response to turning down a Crystal Light), and "You could wear a push up bra." He would not take no for an answer, even from the staff workers.

I reported to the facility after an employee suggested I report but the administrator simply told me that residents were allowed to drink in their rooms. I had been told by the nurse that Adult Protective Services would be contacted, but that never happened. After contacting the rape recovery center and the domestic violence hotline, both of which suggested I report, I called the police on November 9, 2015. My appointment for an interview at the police department was "forgotten" about twice by the detective. My case was denied for prosecution because of lack of evidence.

Nobody at the facility ever encouraged me to go to the hospital to get examined, not the nurse, not the administrator, not the physician I saw at the facility, no one. I became curious about the rules for alcohol consumption in an assisted living facility and discovered that city and state statutes stated it was illegal to mix alcohol with prescription medications (this resident would continue to serve alcohol after the nursing staff administered medications to residents in his room), among other things. After finding a state administrative code that states residents have a right to voice grievance to local and state representatives, I voiced concerns at a resident council meeting, only to be told by the facility administrator that I was "targeting" the resident council president. I reported to the ombudsman's office of the aging agency and was told I could not be advocated for because I was under the age of 60. Also, my suspected abuse notification checklist filled out by the facility administrator stated, "No abuse, under age." I was furious when I received the copy of this document. I requested documentation of the date of reporting to APS and the aging agency only to be denied access to records because they are "protected."

My anger turned to fuel to make my voice heard especially for vulnerable and aging populations. Some have heard my voice but others have attempted to silence it again and again. To all survivors, thank you for your stories. It helps me. I am alive, but so confused about everything and so angry about the reality of lack of proper judicial process. I don't know how to get closure when the judicial system fails you, but I am hoping that telling my story once again will help.