Within 30m of watching a required training video about elder abuse and neglect as part of my volunteer training at a senior center, I witnessed elder abuse and neglect. The "face flicker," as I'm now calling this employee, has been around for awhile (#queenbee). I noticed right away that the residents, mostly wheelchair bound, avoid eye contact with her.
Just before it happened, I was chatting up Tina (we'll call her), a highly entertaining conversationalist resident who repeats herself a lot (early dementia) and likes to talk inappropriately about the sex she had in high school. She's not obscene, and rather funny. She tells jokes about the nuns and the stories her older sisters used to tell her to avoid predicaments. "They told me to tell the boys that if they take it out, they will catch a cold!" She has a great laugh. Tina had repeated that particular one-liner several times (I laughed every time) when the face flicker stood over her wheelchair and flicked her face with her index finder. Off the thumb, like we did in second grade.
"Don't use that voice," was the admonishment accompanying the corporal punishment.
Formerly feisty, animated Tina, crestfallen, looked down and away. Blinked in slow motion.
And indeed stopped using her voice for the remaining rounds of Bingo that day.
Silenced. Shamed. Abused.
In a wheelchair.
(They scheduled the wrong volunteer that day. I made a plan.)