The daughter of radio personality Casey Kasem experienced first-hand the effects of elder abuse…as her aging father was dealing with dementia. Kerri Kasem shared her struggles at the today’s Elder Abuse conference.
“What I was seeing was three years ago was his wife, my stepmother, was saying you’re never going to see your dad again. It was the hardest thing that my family had to go through was being blocked from my father, a man was saw every weekend, talked to everyday on the phone.”
This was just one manifestation of abuse Kasem encountered with her stepmother. In her long legal journey, she is pursuing a wrongful death suit against Jean Kasem, her father’s wife. Kasem says pre-end of life planning can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s an important one.
“"Make a video if you’re listening to this and you’re a son, you’re a daughter, you have parents that are still alive. Go talk to your parents about this because it’s not just family members that can block and isolate, its professional guardians, guardians that come in and use your loved one as a human atm machine.”
Kasem founded the organization Kasem Cares as a means to help provide resources, legal help and a hotline.
Vera House hosted the Elder Abuse conference. Project Coordinator Jennifer Hicks says noticing isolation and changes in behavior with your elders can be the first signs of abuse.
“Is the person now all of a sudden pulling away from social activities or jumpy when you’re talking with them. If you’re talking physical abuse is there bruising? Financial exploitation- Are bills piling up? Are they saying money’s a concern? Are they being neglected?”
Vera House has on staff and elder abuse advocate. Hicks says people often want information about actions they might take if the suspect abuse or neglect. That could range from intervening to making and actual complaint to the County’s Adult Protective Services.