"No training, no lessons, no resources to learn more," says Elice. "It was, 'Here's the 15 medications she needs to take and the times she needs to take them.'" And her situation isn't exactly unusual. "I have a friend [who] gave birth to a child with a very severe genetic anomaly. This genetic disorder is so rare that most babies who develop it miscarry ... the hospital sent them home with equipment, two days of training, and a list of medications. Imagine the terror. You do it because you don't trust anyone else to do it."
Which brings us to the crux of the situation: Roughly one-third of all nursing homes were cited for violations in 2001. Surveys show an astounding 44 percent of the residents say they have been abused, while a terrifying 95 percent say they have been subjected to or have witnessed neglect. This is why Elice put her entire life on hold to make sure her mother wouldn't be put in the same position. Keep in mind that compromising by bringing somebody into the home to take care of them isn't without risk, either -- you still wind up with plenty of tales of neglect, medication theft, and plain old fraud, via billing for work they didn't do.
Still, Elice doesn't judge anyone who may decide not to take this all on themselves. "[Y]ou choose the lesser of the evils. If you can't take a bloody nose from your parent or [having to] restrain your mother, [or] if you are not willing to look wiping your father's ass in the face, don't do it -- [even if] society says you have to. If you can't, it's OK. It doesn't say anything terrible about you ... there will be a day when they are lying in the hospital bed, and you will hate them. You will remember every slight, every broken promise, [and] you will stand there with someone's life in your hands and remember everything they've ever done to you and make the decision to take care for them or decide that you can't do this. And that's OK."