Today, September 9th, 2019 is my Mother’s birthday.
My Mother lost her life two years ago due to the abuse she was facing. But I want you all to know how grateful I am to all friends around the world who have shown love, compassion and humanity during the years when she was still alive. I am very grateful to all of you who were part of the Mission to help my Mother and to all of you who had integrity enough to not change your standpoint when some people tried to put doubt in your mind and making it uncomfortable for you to stand up against elder abuse. I am also very grateful to all of you who had civil courage enough to report the abuse, speak up about it and help creating a world where abuse is not accepted. Nothing can be more honorable and there is nothing that is more valuable for the world today. I am proud of having friends like you.
I know that it was uncomfortable for many of you to stand up against the abusers. It has been uncomfortable for me too. But it is not hard for anyone with an honest heart to see who they are. Those who in some way are involved in the abuse will of course deny that abuse occur instead of reporting it. They will discredit people reporting abuse to save themselves. And they will try to discredit posts like this one. As in this case at Levinsgården in Gäddede they proved all this by discrediting people who stood up against elder abuse instead of honoring them, by setting up visiting restrictions to prohibit insight instead of inviting people, by diminishing all the work that was being done instead of being involved against abuse themselves. However, to deny that the abuse of my Mother didn’t happen is nothing to be proud of. And to discredit any part of this Mission says a lot about those people.
When me and my Mother were being discredited and facing made-up accusations spread out in the village (a method often used in order to redirect attention and make someone look untrustworthy as part of denying abuse) a friend who visited my Mother brought it back to the facts with five simple words: “I have seen this too”. These five words made a huge difference for me and my Mother. Instead of looking the other way and by that supporting abuse you can also make a huge difference for someone with these very powerful five words: “I have seen this too”.
I am thankful to everyone who visited my Mother and who treated her like a human. I am thankful to everyone who had a heart big enough to care for her, show her love and defend her when she couldn’t defend herself. And I am thankful to everyone around the world who supported this Mission in words and in actions. You did more than I can mention here. You have all made a huge difference.
Today is my Mother’s birthday. My Mother was a person who was always there for others in need. But when she was in need herself, then no one that she had helped was there for her. Instead many of you were there for her. Friends like you make a difference in the world, just like my Mother did. I would like to ask you to make this day a special day. A day of love, compassion, integrity and civil courage, which summarizes this whole Mission. A day where we stand up against abuse and where we defend those who can’t defend themselves and let them feel that they are human. And if it feels difficult, just remember that the discomfort that you may feel standing up for someone is nothing compared to the suffering of that person being abused, not being able to escape her abusers. Sometimes just five simple and powerful words can make a huge difference, “I have seen this too”.
So, let’s make this a day when we celebrate my Mother and what she stood for. She was a person who found a reason to help others in need instead of putting herself first. If we want to make a difference in the world, then we can all learn from my Mother, because there is a big difference between those who find reasons to help others and those who search for reasons not to help.
Happy Birthday Mom!!!!
You are the best!
October 12th, 2017
We have the sad news to tell you that Ida Johansson passed away today.
Unfortunately, she died before her son, Calle Johansson, succeeded with his mission.
R.I.P dear Ida
Click here for the Swedish press release.
Though Sweden enjoys a global reputation for having excellent health care, the basis for that reputation comes from outdated statistics from the 1970s. As we can see from this example, where healthcare is decentralised to the municipal council, standards can plummet without retribution.
In the remote northern Swedish village of Gäddede, 93-year-old Ida Johansson is a stroke victim being denied rehabilitation. Since 2012, Ida has been committed to a retirement home called Levinsgården, where she and others suffer physical, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of doctors and staff, despite continuous reports to authorities.
Ida’s son, Calle Johansson, is fighting for Ida to be moved from the home to appropriate post-stroke rehabilitation, where her needs are met and her wishes heard; he is also calling for wholesale changes in Levinsgården so no other elderly people have to endure what his mother is going through.
Ida suffered a stroke in 2012. Against her wishes, she was moved to Levinsgården after her emergency care in ICU. Levinsgården is a facility which not only cannot provide for her post-stroke needs, but has a reputation for mistreatment.
- Ida is forced to lie in bed most of the time, against her will. Other residents are frequently confined to their rooms, encouraged to rest all day, and provided with no alternative activities or physical/intellectual stimulation, so effectively they have no choice. The rooms are soundproofed and frequently locked. Bed rest is contra to recommended stroke rehabilitation, never mind basic maintenance of health. Additionally, isolation in darkness brings on depression and feelings of loneliness.
- We have evidence that at least two of the residents, including Ida, are frequently left to soil themselves in bed, their requests for bathroom access denied. They are then left lying in their own waste for hours at time; this is psychologically destructive, as well as potentially life-threatening (through septicemia).
- Ida and the other residents are excessively sedated, to the point of confusion and loss of coordination.
- Ida’s general health is not being maintained; she has untreated lung, skin and toenail infections.
- Ida’s oral health is not being maintained. Tooth-brushing is often neglected, so over the past two years, she has lost many teeth, and suffers extreme pain when eating. The risk of infection is also potentially lethal at her age.
- Staff show no respect for any of the residents, talking over their heads, handling or moving them without warning or explaining what they are doing, and almost never conversing with them normally.
- A crucial social time for the residents at Levinsgården is meal time, but meals are eaten in silence, presided over by one member of staff, and visitors are forced to leave.
- Ida is treated as though she has no mental capacity by other members of her family and staff, despite being clearly communicative of decisions and opinions. Her expressions of like or dislike, assent or objection, fear or happiness (limited minimally by her lack of speech, post-stroke, which could be regained with rehabilitation) are disregarded.
- Ida, a devout practising Christian, is excluded from the church service on Sundays because staff define her enthusiastic singing as ‘disruptive’.
Mandi Gould, a friend of Ida’s, who is coordinating efforts to support her from Canada, says: “What is going on there has shocked and angered us. Ida is drugged, seemingly for the staff’s convenience; she is kept isolated, in the dark and in bed for most of the day. Generally, residents’ health care is negligible and staff just don’t seem to care. Our attempts to report the abuse have been ineffective. Anyone who could see firsthand what we have would be appalled and upset by the human rights violations. When you entrust someone who is vulnerable to a nursing home, the very least you would expect would be care and compassion. We simply haven’t seen Ida receive either.”
The efforts of Ida’s son, Calle Johansson, to raise his concerns about Ida’s treatment to the local and municipal authorities have been unsuccessful, to the extent that he has been actively threatened and harassed.
Friends of Ida and Calle Johansson, some of whom are currently in Gäddede or have been to visit Ida there over the last couple of years, are now taking their findings to Swedish politicians, police, international media and international human rights organisations.
Meurman JH, Hämäläinen P. Gerodontology. 2006 Mar;23(1):316. Review. Oral health and morbidity implications of oral infections on the elderly. PMID: 6433636 [PubMed indexed for MEDLINE] Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16433636
Contact Calle Johansson for further details:
Sweden +46 76 11 46 188