Our vulnerable elders deserve better than this

A recent audit by the State of Michigan identified 3,786 (or 6 percent) of the state’s 60,000 independent-living aides have felony convictions.
Jul 24, 2014


These include convictions for violent crimes such as homicide, assault and sex offenses, as well as financial crimes such as fraud or theft.

How can anyone in their right mind justify the hiring of someone with this kind of criminal past to work with senior citizens? Many of these seniors are doing everything they can to live independently and avoid the cost of assisted living homes.

Would we allow someone with such a history to open a day care facility? No, we wouldn’t. 

Would we hire them to work at a bank? No, we wouldn’t. 

We wouldn’t even hire them to carry our mail, but we allow some of our most vulnerable people to be subject to their care.

This is wrong in so many ways, and the state must step up and eliminate this from continuing to happen.

Do people deserve second chances? Sure they do, but it must be within reason, and the current situation is far from reasonable.

The state will begin doing background checks by Oct. 1 and will notify individuals whose caretakers have a criminal history of any sort. 

That’s great, but we must remember the nature of some of the individuals being notified. Will they understand about what they are being notified? Are they of a sound mind to be able to make such a decision?

What happens to those people who say OK, and then are left in the care of an individual with a sex-related criminal past? This same person might be helping our parents bathe, and that is just not acceptable. Likewise, someone convicted of a financial crime could conceivably lure money — or control of a checkbook — from the elderly after trust was built.

The state has a great deal of work to do with this matter. Falling short of providing seniors with the protection they deserve should also be considered a crime.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty, Fred VandenBrand and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.




They need legislation to gives them a choice to stay in their homes and legislate the teeth out of the wolves at the door. I know some will say the do! oooh they do!. Yea right but this is problem. My uncle John got elderly and so out of it he stopped paying his property taxes, he lost it upstairs and did not get it. He had no advocate working for him and lo and behold the county seized his two properties and residence due to a tax delinquency. How can an elderly person expect to know when to fill out forms, deadlines, notary, price of stamps, cost of paper and envelopes. Get real! They just Sheriff's deeded it and threw him out his property that had paid off in full 20 years ago now gone to someone else. In our progressive people oriented society that has computers and robots in industry allows this to continue and just continue with a complete attitude of indifference? Because just wait! If you live long enough ----- Your Next. Unless you legislate and change it now.


That,s why dad put his money in the freezer and not the bank !!!


We need to get these individuals out of our senior citizens lifes. If I could get my hands on these sick employees, God knows they would all get a Jazzing they would never forget.


JimmyJazz have you ever had anyone give you too much change back and kept it, or have you ever noticed yourself moving faster than the posted speed limit, or found yourself drinking at a bar and decided to drive home???? some of these people have a past that they are not proud of, however they have to live with their mistakes. so they have served their time, paid the cost, and are trying to move forward with their lives.. with a quick to judge individual such as yourself, i hope you never find yourself on the other side of the law.. you may not be able to live with yourself. I however believe these people do deserve the rite to adapt and overcome their pasts... Maybe we should weigh each case independently, separately, and with caution. remember actions speak louder than words!

deuce liti

More often than not felons do not change, they bide their time and wait for opportunities.


Well said jjabrahms..so many hear "felon" and are quick to judge. There are ALOT of non violent felons that just got caught up in the wrong crowd or what not when they where younger. Many people have but they just got caught is all. To get a felony when your 18-19 and have to live with that till the day you die is tough, especially when you have people such as JimmyJazz who thinks the way he does. Sorry we are all not as perfect as yourself.

Barry Soetoro

"These include convictions for violent crimes such as homicide, assault and sex offenses, as well as financial crimes such as fraud or theft." Maybe you missed this part of the editorial? Hardly the same as keeping too much change and speeding wouldn't you say?


"These include" indicates to me they are just listing a few felony convictions people have. Where did keeping to much change and speeding come from..when did those become felonys?

deuce liti

You get what you pay for. You pay low wages you don't always get the better employees. Unfortunately, your family isn't worth it.


Is it only the felons taking advantage of the elderly?I think not.


Without weighing in on the debate, I would ask, "Who in the Sam Ham writes these views, and does anyone at the Tribune read and/or edit them before they are released?
"We wouldn’t even hire them to carry our mail..."
That seems very demeaning to our mail carriers, who "deliver in rain, sleet, or snow."
I'm not an overly politically correct guy Tribune staff, but I will call you on that one.


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