Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and  Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners  Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys,  and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer  at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.

Dear Jennifer,

My father was an abusive alcoholic during my childhood. He was angry and screamed at us. He would make me feel like I was worthless trash. Sometimes he shoved us up against the wall. My mother didn’t try to stop him.  He’s almost 80 now. He’s been off the drink and he’s mellowed down. His health is failing and she refuses to take care of him. She says she can’t. My mother is healthy enough; she just won’t. It’s not like he needs that much care either. He just needs her to bring him his walker when he gets out of his lift chair and bring him his meals because he can’t get around anymore. I live in Connecticut now and there’s no other family in Rochester. She stood by him all through the horrible years and now that he’s worn down, not drinking and not yelling, she won’t do anything. I feel like it’s all left to me. I’m angry at both of them. I can’t take care of him and I don’t want to, but he is my father and I feel like I should do something. I just don’t know what that is. I’m hoping you can give me some guidance. 



Dear Tabitha, 

Oh honey. When faced with these challenges your heart and mind zig zag between being a young girl living with the torment and a full grown woman who still has those wounds that never fully healed. I don’t have enough information about your father’s situation. I don’t know if he is at home with her or not. I recommend 2 things:

1. Call Lifespan. They have a Geriatric Addictions Program as well as an Elder Abuse program.  NOTE: Abuse may seem to harsh a word in this case; it refers to any unsafe situation for an elder from neglect or mistreatment. They will be able to advise you and make a determination of what programs will best help your father get the care he needs. 

2. Then call your mother and have a heart to heart with her and let her know about Eldersource. 

Keep this in mind: we all live our lives to the very best that we can with the life tools that we have. It is an all too common story for the wife to tolerate the abuse out of her own insecurities and fears and then in later life the woman has grown enough to question why she should cater to an abuser. And of course, the children of an abuser are left feeling like they are in a corner all by themselves. Open discussion will help. 

3. Then, if you haven’t already, talk to your own doctor about seeing a therapist. You need support and understanding and feedback. 

Good luck to you Tabitha. 




1. Elder Abuse - Lifespan's Elder Abuse Prevention program provides intervention services in Monroe and nine other counties including Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Schuyler, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. The program's director, Art Mason, CSW, is a nationally recognized expert in prevention and intervention strategies.  Call us at 585-244-8400 when you suspect financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect or when you would like a speaker on the issue of elder abuse.

2. Adult Protective  - Monroe County Adult Protective Services is a state-mandated service for persons 18 or older who, because of a mental or physical impairment, are at risk of harm or are unable to meet their own needs and have no one to assist them responsibly.  Call us at 585-753-6532


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By John Sproul


In the short story "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, what is the first name of the character Scrooge?

A. Humbug

B. Oliver

C. Jacob

D. Ebenezer

The correct answer is D. Even though Dickens is known for novels such as "Oliver Twist", "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities", his short story "A Christmas Carol" is probably the most popular piece of fiction that he ever wrote. In it Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his deceased partner Jacob Marley, who tells him to expect visits from three more spirits. Scrooge is transformed from a miserly, dour skinflint to joyous man who celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. There have been several TV movies based on this story (George C. Scott as Scrooge is my personal favorite).