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Protecting Our Vulnerable Elders, "That Horrible Lady"

Ruth has lived quite the life, one full of its ups and downs. She is quick to point out that she has learned to see the good in ... That is until the subject of ‘that horrible lady’ comes up.R

Ruth has lived quite the life, one full of its ups and downs. She is quick to point out that she has learned to see the good in everything. That is until the subject of ‘that horrible lady’ comes up.

Ruth is the matriarch of a dear and loving family, though she doesn’t see them as often as she would like.

“Since the children moved from Parma to start their own lives, it’s hard. They are so busy …”

Ruth was the primary care provider for her husband Henry until he passed away in 1997. Ruth has spent most of her life as a care provider, always giving. She was the eldest of five children,
‘… in those days, it was expected that the daughters help with the younger ones and with the household chores…’ she reminisced with me as we leafed through the family photo album.

Ruth is 87 years old this year and has been living alone since 1997. She is in good health, however the daily chores around the home were becoming increasingly difficult. She decided to hire help. Ruth turned to her church bulletin and found a ‘Home Care Company’ advertised.

“The ad was in the church bulletin, I assumed this was a good company,” her voice cracking from the pain and embarrassment this service eventually caused her.

Ruth is not alone in the fact that she is widowed and lives alone. According to the ‘2002 A Profile of Older Americans’ published by the Administration on Aging ( 41% of women age 65 and over, are widowed and live alone.

Unfortunately, Ruth is also not alone in the fact that she became victim to fraud. According to U.S. Senator Larry Craig, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, ‘Vulnerable elders are being abused, neglected and exploited within their own homes and communities at an a alarming rate.’

But, not in Parma, right? Wrong.

In fact, in Cuyahoga County, 1,336 new files were opened with the Adult Protection Service in the year 2000 – that’s over 100 new cases each month. The report, released in 2001 by Cuyahoga County Commission Department of Aging, was a shock to me, but Ruth was not surprised.

“Barbara, the lady they sent to me was well groomed, she was polite, I had no reason to distrust her. You could tell she was from a good family …” Ruth went on to justify how quickly she was robbed of $4,200 and how she only hoped that ‘ horrible lady’ is judged by the law, by God and finally by her own karma.

Quality Care Options actively assists in the protecting of our seniors. QCO recommends services that have successfully completed our exclusive customer-driven survey process.

We survey the seniors and family caregivers that are or have used these services and only recommend those with a 90% or higher customer satisfaction rating.

We are not a referral company, as we remain a vital link between the senior and the service provider with our exclusive follow-up service, the cornerstone of QCO.

Businesses serving the elderly are invited to learn how to qualify for the QCO Certification. Once surveyed, we help seniors by pointing them towards your verified excellent service. Quite simply, we help by eliminating the guesswork involved in choosing an excellent senior service.

More importantlyHealth Fitness Articles, our service aides in eliminating more stories like that of Ruth.

Our direct line is 216-883-3163 and toll free at 877-620-6448 or you may go to

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Barbara is founder and president of Quality Care Options (

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