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Giving the Elderly a Voice against Abuse and Neglect


(David Phemister is developing software that will report abuse and neglect of the elderly, so that all institutions will be monitored.)


David, I don’t know you very well, tell me something about yourself.

When I was 16 I was a rebellious high school dropout. My mother sent me to Dallas to do the EST training and it changed my life. I went back to high school and graduated with a full scholarship to college. I joined the Marines and became a member of a KC-130 aircrew. We flew all over the world, providing in-flight refueling and delivering cargo. After I was honorably discharged from the Marines I succeeded in several different career fields. I had the opportunity to work on large construction projects, and today I’m a Master Plumber and own a plumbing company. I believe my success is due to my exposure to EST 34 years ago. When I found Landmark I immediately did the Forum. Then I went on to do several other courses and am currently in TMLP.

What is the possibility of your Game in The World?

The possibility I am creating is a system that provides accountability by allowing more people to monitor and report on the government agencies and organizations providing care for the elderly, disabled and children, which will make a big difference for those who can’t protect themselves.

What is your Game in The World? (GITW)

My mother, who had made everything possible for me, was diagnosed with dementia in her 50’s, and she came to live with me. As the years passed, I couldn’t take care of her at home, and so I found a Long Term Care Facility for her. I became aware that there was a lot of abuse and neglect of the elderly and disabled in those facilities. I wanted to do something about it so I joined a national program, set up in the 70’s, in which I became a volunteer Ombudsman for the Texas State Attorney General’s office in support of the elderly and disabled. For example, in Dallas there are 180 Long Term Care Facilities and only two paid Ombudsmen who are responsible for the wellbeing of thousands of residents at those 180 locations. Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services are other groups that can be included in this program. It’s an impossible job for so few people to provide adequate monitoring to ensure that those unable to provide for themselves are properly taken care of. The volunteer Ombudsmen help, but are hampered by an antiquated and non-funded system. There needs to be an easily accessible system to alert them to facilities where there are ongoing or multiple problems. There are powerful and wealthy interests that don’t want any bad publicity and they may be keeping the monitoring system ineffective through lobbying efforts. My idea was to create an internet and cellphone application where anyone could report abuse, neglect or poor living conditions and everyone interested could be aware of a problem and become part of the solution. This will provide some much needed accountability to those providing substandard care and increase the effectiveness of the monitoring groups.

What is not being said that you want brought forward?

For this project to be born into the world, I need TMLP team members from everywhere to contribute. We need people who will volunteer to inspect and report on those providing care and communicate with the people receiving the care. We need people who can develop the reporting programs for internet and phone applications that are easy to use and collect the information in a useable form. We need business and legal people who can advise the program on any issues involved in creating and running this monitoring and reporting group. We need advertising and marketing people who can make this program known to the world so it becomes a powerful tool against neglect and abuse. I don’t have all the skills or knowledge needed to create and lead a non-profit organization! I need a tremendous Team to make this dream come true!

What breakdown did you have and how did you overcome them?

I am having lots of breakdowns. My biggest breakdown is in my integrity. My first break through was when I found out it’s a very political situation and the people in power who own the facilities have no interest in any system that might be disruptive to their profits or activities. As a result, I decided that the program would be better in the public domain as an application that anyone could use.

What do you want to be acknowledged for?

I would like to be acknowledged for taking action on how children, the disabled, and elderly people are being treated, and my dedication to improving their quality of life.

What is the Outcome you are creating for your Game in the World?

The Outcome is a nationally available application for the cellphone and internet to report on abuse and neglect occurring in long term care facilities for the disabled and the elderly or foster care for children. People will receive coaching on to be involved with the organizations that go into a facility to conduct conversations with the people receiving care, listen to what they say, and give them a voice to the outside world. Did you know that 40% of the residents in long term care facilities have NO family, and NO contact with the outside world beside the employees at the facility? There needs to be an outside monitoring group watching and reporting on what Child Protective Services is doing and what kind of care the children are receiving. The Outcome I am creating is giving them their Voice and to have their Voice be heard!

What is the new way of seeing yourself while playing your GITW?

I see myself as building teams and becoming able to make Powerful Requests for support! That’s why I wanted to do this interview.  What has been your experience in being of service to others?  It is very gratifying to experience being of service and making a difference for people who’ve been forgotten. They have tears in their eyes when they see someone cares, someone they can talk to. People who have no hope, who have no one to stand up for them are so grateful for anyone who will not just say something, but will take action to find solutions for them. By creating this, anyone can be part of the solution and be of service to those who need it.

How do you use the distinctions from the Communications Program in your Game?

It was a huge leap forward to begin to listen generously. I get stuck in the morass every time I turn around. Putting the Morass aside, recognizing the Old Model, and replacing it with the New Model in my communication is an ongoing challenge. I have learned that nothing worthwhile is easy. Yes, I took on a big game and until it is completed I will not let go because I know how desperate the situation is. I am committed to continuing on until this game is complete. I welcome everyone who has the desire to contribute to this game. Join me by contacting David Phemister at 214-766-8282 or


Author and Interviewer: John Godbey

John is a T1Q1 participant in Landmark’s Team, Management, and Leadership Program and lives in Dallas, Texas, where he is a Realtor helping school teachers by homes. He has been a writer for many decades and prefers writing sonnets as snapshots of an idea in motion. For the 29th year, John will entertain 400 kindergarten kids for an hour a day during the month of June. John dresses as the “Pied Piper” and teaches the songs he wrote to build the children’s English skills. His own 5 children are either musicians or equestrians. He can help with music. Thank god Texas has horses!




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