DIGNITY FOR FORGOTTEN SENIORS
My name is Deb Kraemer and I am raising money to help abandoned and orphaned seniors who are warehoused in a facility called Las Manos de Dios, Casa de Asistencia, Maria Auxiliadora.
I first became aware of this facility in 2015 when I visited with a group from an English speaking church in Zihuatanejo, MX, led by Pastor John Sullivan. I had been warned of the cruel living conditions, neglect and filth prior to my visit, but still, it had not prepared me for the horror of what I saw. The building itself was ramshackle and crumbling in many places with gaping holes in the roof. The residents, clearly, were receiving no better care than the facility. They were emaciated and filthy, sitting in urine soaked clothing on filthy, urine soaked furniture. That visit and many thereafter showed no evidence that the 2 person staff hired by DIF (the local social service agency), provided any care whatsoever for the 18 residents.
When I returned to the states, the vision and memories of those poor people began to fuel a rage which led me to commit to improve the treatment, care, and dignity all humans deserve. There were a variety of health issues--- diabetes, blindness, cerebral palsy, mild to severe dementia, and atrophied limbs, none of which were being treated. There was no attention given to proper and adequate nutrition. Area restaurants alternated providing one main meal a day. Fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs and vegetables were only available when provided by visitors and volunteers.
The men slept in one very crowded, stifling dorm with beds pushed against one another, except for the occasional placement of buckets to use during the night. The only access to the kitchen was through the women’s dormitory with no privacy barrier. The kitchen was a small cockroach infested room with only a propane 2 burner stove, no oven and refrigerator that was at least 25 years old. There didn’t seem to be any food safety practices in place; food was left out and uncovered.
The residents were locked in and alone from 6PM until staff returned at 8AM the next morning.
Several months ago, DIF did hire a night watchman, but to date, they employ only 2 full time day aids to provide all the care for the 18 residents. Their responsibilities include food prep and serving, laundry, housekeeping and the personal health and welfare of each senior. Even with the most highly motivated staff, it is impossible to meet the most basic care necessities and, unfortunately the current DIF hired staff is clearly substandard.
I raised enough money in my own community and church to completely renovate both bathrooms, correct some of the most serious violations, replace mattresses and hire one additional staff person. This past winter (2018) several foreign visitors donated time and money generously to help improve the living conditions and nutrition of the residents. Their quality of life has greatly improved, however, there is still much to be done in order to bring their quality of care and living conditions to a level most of us would consider humane.
I call the group who has come along side me to raise funds and donate part of their vacation time, “Friends of Casa Maria Asilo”. We have a Facebook page by the same name where you can learn more about our efforts.
All funds raised will be used in order of priority:
· Hire qualified staff; registered nurse, aid, kitchen and housekeeping
· Repair roof
· Provide privacy partitions between beds in the ladies dorm.
· Improve ventilation
· Misc. medical supplies
Please help us provide a clean, dignified, loving and caring environment for these forgotten ones.
- Annmarie Pedersen
- Helene Last
- steve bee
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