Without the voice of elders, any discussion about their care, safety, and lives will remain limited in its ability to generate the insights necessary to protect their human rights.
Without the voice of elders, attempts to develop an in-depth understanding of their lived experience of mistreatment (e.g. neglect, abuse, financial exploitation, drug diversion) as well as the profound trauma caused by it will remain incomplete.
Without the voice of elders, long-term care homes cannot be fully transparent and accountable for their policies, procedures, operations, and care practices.
Without the voice of elders, the chronic and persistent asymmetry of power that exists between these vulnerable and frail residents and long-term care homes will remain grossly unbalanced.
Without the voice of elders, the ability to realize their basic human right for dignity will remain meaningless.
Without data-driven advocacy, systemic problems in the long-term care industry will remain hidden and the collective voice of elders muted.
Without full recognition that the voice of elders must always be equally represented in all decision-making tables about their care and lives, policies, legislation, and their enforcement will remain weak.
Without genuine and full commitment of all key stakeholders to listening to the voice of elders, they will remain voiceless.
Without elders’ voice, there cannot be authentic partnership with them and their family members.
Without affirmation and emotional support of elders and their families in sharing their deeply personal stories of mistreatment — in a safe way and without fear of retaliation, these violations of human rights will remain invisible and opportunities to prevent similar traumas and tragedies from occurring to other elders in the future will be lost.
On all these and other fronts, Elder Voice Family Advocates represents nothing less than a paradigm shift in the long-term care landscape in Minnesota.
A small group of visionary, courageous, and very smart women whose loved ones where horrifically mistreated in long-term care homes inspired us all when they formed Elder Voice Family Advocates.
Together, they turned their traumas and grief into empowerment, healing, and advocacy.
With tremendous personal sacrifice, hard work, skill, and dedication, they created the path that enables us all to realize the human right of vulnerable and frail elders for justice, dignity, and safety.