DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, I was hospitalized after being airlifted for emergency treatment. My condition was so dire that I received last sacraments. My daughter and daughter-in-law were with me for admittance, and again two months later when I was released. Other than that, I received nary a call, card or visit.
Medications for high blood pressure and other ailments were prescribed but not filled. My doctor and I were helpless, as my daughter-in-law had my power of attorney.
Then the girls called a psychiatrist to declare me incompetent. Luckily, he befriended me instead and notified the local adult protective services agency. This took five months, during which the girls continued to harass me. It took its toll; I became almost suicidal. It hurt to know that with four grown children living locally, there was no one to step forward and help me.
At that point, I realized I had been abandoned at the corner of Nowhere and Forever. There were repeated hurtful incidents, and to top it off, I fell and fractured my hip. I made four calls to family members -- not one responded.
I finally severed all ties with my family. For a long time I refused to share my story, fearful it would reflect badly on me. But doctors and therapists I have met through adult protective services have repeatedly assured me, "It happens! THEY are the ones who should feel guilty."
Yes, it hurts. The wounds are deep. However, although I am no longer young, I am embarking on a new life, and have gained new friends and loving, caring relationships. I have never known such happiness and peace of mind.
Abby, please print this so anyone who is feeling hurt and abandoned will know there is always hope. Hang in there -- I am, and life is good again. -- HEALING IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR HEALING: Although your experience was devastating, I'm pleased the outcome has been so positive.
Readers, if you know a senior citizen who is being physically, psychologically or financially abused, adult protective services are as near as your phone book -– and as this letter proves, they can literally be a lifesaver. If there is no listing for your community, contact the police.