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Elder Abuse?


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There's a situation that has been weighing heavily on my mind recently- I live in an apartment above the 97 year old mother of my landlord. Three years ago, she was very independent, alert, and would drive around, going to church or visiting relatives. She lived alone. Since then, she's deteriorated rapidly. She no longer drives, she sometimes doesn't know who I am, and is generally just declining in health. 

 

Maybe 16 months ago, her family got a live-in caretaker to look after her, drive her around, monitor her medications, help her with hygiene, etc. It all seemed to be going smoothly until about 4 months ago, when I noticed the caretaker (50 year old woman) would raise her voice to the point of yelling when talking to the old woman. I didn't think too much of it, because you have to speak loudly for her to hear you, and if you are always doing that, I'm sure it can be frustrating.

 

But it seems like her raised voice and occasional frustration has devolved into an almost daily mini-drama, where she will not only yell, but berate her and accuse her of minor things that a 97 year old should be given a pass on. The caretaker will slam doors, stomp around, and you'd think that would be maybe frightening for a woman whose mental faculties are slipping away.

 

Tonight was a perfect example- she repeatedly yelled "Put the batteries in your hearing aid!"...now you'd think that this would be something the caretaker would take care of....help the old woman out. Then it was, "You know my name, I'm not 'Hello'.

 

I put my ear to the floor and could hear the old lady whimpering, "Please come back, I can't help it that I'm this way", and that just about broke my heart.

 

I don't think there's been any physical abuse, because she has regular visitors, both family and friends, as well as a healthcare professional.

 

But when it's just the two of them, it seems like there is a seriously flawed situation that has developed. And when I'm not home, it might be worse. I'm not sure if I should call my landlord (her son).

 

Does anyone have any experience with a similar situation?

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I would tell him, that sounds horrible man. I could never live with myself if something happened and I didn't say anything beforehand.

 

Also, maybe it's just me but I would never let my 97 year old mother live in an apartment by herself and being attended to by a complete stranger who has the potential to abuse her.

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Get some evidence (record it), tell the son and the healthcare professional and show them the evidence. It will get physical in the end. It really doesn't matter how loud she shouts "Put the batteries in your hearing aid". Gross lack of insight brought on by anger maybe.

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Yep definitely have a word, with her son, shame you couldn't find out which company she works for then you could maybe have a word with them anonymously if you are worried about putting anyone's nose out of joint or being told to mind your own

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The caretaker doesn't sound very professional. Take some notes, and a quiet word with the son, seems the right idea.

 

 

And yeah, I'd hate to be that old & dependent. I'd see myself off if things started going downhill quickly. The thought of being 80, mindless and spoon-fed in a nursing home unsettles me quite a bit. Probably for a different thread, mind.

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The caretaker doesn't sound very professional. Take some notes, and a quiet word with the son, seems the right idea.

 

 

And yeah, I'd hate to be that old & dependent. I'd see myself off if things started going downhill quickly. The thought of being 80, mindless and spoon-fed in a nursing home unsettles me quite a bit. Probably for a different thread, mind.

 

I get the feeling that I will be screaming out for death from the age of 65 but knowing my luck I will live to be 103

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Tonight was a perfect example- she repeatedly yelled "Put the batteries in your hearing aid!".

I think that would be a fair time to have to raise your voice to someone

 

 

That's not the point he's making though. Couldn't the care person do it for her?

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Get in touch with the relatives immediately. The poor lady sounds really distressed, terrified even. Someone like her carer should never be let near vulnerable people ever again. It would be like putting David Cameron in charge of the country.

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Tonight was a perfect example- she repeatedly yelled "Put the batteries in your hearing aid!".

I think that would be a fair time to have to raise your voice to someone

 

 

That's not the point he's making though. 

No shit

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Contact the healthcare worker/team/police & say that you are concerned about a vulnerable adult. Those two words should trigger an investigation so make sure as others have said that you make notes etc that can be used in the investigation

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Anyone that works with vulnerable people should remind themselves that if they can't treat their dependents as they would like one of their family to be treated, they should not be doing the job. 

 

Unfortunately care jobs are quite low paid and often stressful and frustrating.

 

Because it's hard to know the severity of what is happening, whether it is abuse or just a poor care worker, I'd spend a couple of days gathering evidence. Because you already have your doubts, it's best to report her to someone (whether the company that employs her or your landlord) anyway though. 

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Contact the healthcare worker/team/police & say that you are concerned about a vulnerable adult. Those two words should trigger an investigation so make sure as others have said that you make notes etc that can be used in the investigation

 

Yes the worst thing you can do is stand by and do nothing. You need to report your concerns.

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