‘I’m not alone’: North Spokane senior calls for help

James Guice

SPOKANE, Wash. — Elder abuse is on the rise, and it’s not just physical abuse. When we hear the word abuse, we might think of physical abuse. But, that’s not all there is. Vulnerable adults can be physically abused, but there’s also abandonment, neglect, financial exploitation and self neglect. A vulnerable adult includes people who are 60 years old or older and are unable to take care of themselves.

“Oh, god. The stories of the crazy stuff we did,” James Guice said of some of photos on the wall. Pictures in his apartment are just a glimpse of his life. In his 75 years, he’s seen a lot.

He said he’s helped people in need as a retired behavioral health therapist. Now, he needs some help of his own.

“Give me some dignity, give me some life. I’ve worked hard all my life,” he said. “I dedicated myself to working with the underprivileged, and now I’ve turned into my own patient.”

Guice reached out to 4 News Now. He suffers from dementia and told us he hadn’t eat in days.

“I went this morning searching downstairs for food. I found some little pieces of bread,” he said.

Meals on Wheels came by when our crew was there and dropped off some food.

Volunteer Justice Edmond said she was surprised to hear he hadn’t eaten.

“It’s kind of wild to me, I know, it’s kind of like a para-transit Meals on Wheels. I know it’s a great service, but there are a lot of people that fall through the cracks,” she said.

Guice’s fridge isn’t empty now, but that’s only for the time being.

“I can’t depend on anybody,” he said.

He’s not alone either.

According to the Department of Social and Health Services, just last year, more than 60,000 reports were made of adult abuse. It’s a big increase from the year before that, at 48,000 reports.

“I’m doing what I can do, to take care of myself,” he said.

Guice gets help from Adult Protective Services, but there’s only so much they can do. They try and help keep patients healthy and help them find other resources.

But, Guice says he feels forgotten.

“I want to be treated like a human being rather than a second class citizen. That’s all I am right now,” he said. “I’m not alone. I know there’s a whole community out there that is suffering.”

If you do know someone who needs help or someone who might have a hard time managing no their own, call Adult Protective Services at 877-734-6277. All calls are confidential and will be screened. Then, someone with the agency will investigate the report.

To learn more about adult abuse, visit the Department of Social and Health Services here.