About a dear friend who has Parkinson's.

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I'm going to describe my friend's situation and I would like your opinion as to whether or not this is elder abuse.


She lived downstairs from me at the condo, which she liked a lot, sunny, bright, and absolutely no clutter at all. She was neat as a pin and had a cleaning lady come in once a month. She did her own laundry, used her exercise bike, went to get her hair cut every few weeks, and got her nails done every week. She always was neat, clean, and tidy, as was her condo. She was in a book club - 1 book a month, and 2 of the friends in it would pick her up and take her and they all would eat together and discuss the book. Lots of friends in the condo.


Now she lives in TN, way back a dirt road, in a house that needs a lot of work ..... a LOT of work. The first week they were there something happened to a pipe coming in from the well and the basement had about 4-5 inches of water and "stuff" all over the place. I'm just hoping they had it professionally cleaned and sanitized.


The inside is an absolute mess .... clutter doesn't even cover it. There is "stuff" laying everywhere, every flat surface is covered with junk, they don't seem to be mindful that they need to keep the floor clear for her and her walker. It looks like it could be the first layer of a hoarder's house ..... gross. There's no more haircuts every few weeks, no more getting her nails done, and she has no emergency buzzer system that she wears. She can't even do her own laundry as the facilities are in the basement. There is a step to go into her bedroom, and to the bathroom (there's only 1 very tiny bathroom - again, trouble with a walker), I don't know how she takes a bath, her room is dark and the whole place is just dark and dank. I'm sure there are "creatures" living there .... roaches, mice, etc. She essentially sits all day in her chair. The kitchen is such a mess .... I would not eat one thing that came out of there. She can't go outside for some fresh air as there's a step to go down and then it's all uneven, with a very broken up sidewalk, so she's stuck.


Coming from where she did, this is what she has to live in. Flooring is lifting up in spots, and some of the wood between rooms is broken away, leaving gaps to fall on. I noticed yesterday, her bed had no sheets on it. They expect her to put them on herself, which she can't do especially the bottom one. She looks awful and physically she has gone back. I think it's depression dragging her down .... it's not a life.
I will call Adult Protective Services to make a surprise visit, if you all feel as I do, that this is elder abuse. Thank you for your help.
Barbara B.

13 Comments

Barbara, may I ask how you are learning about all these issues where you friend had moved? Did you see this all first hand? Why did your neighbor move in the first place, and I assume she is living with family? Did she own her condo? If so, did she sell it? Or was she renting?

The reason why I am asking if you have been to visit your friend and have seen her living condition or is this something your friend has been telling you on the phone..... sometimes with Parkinsons dementia can start, and elders like to tell wild stories just to get attention.


As to your friend - there's a big gap between when she was thriving and the current situation. What happened?

Apparently she lived alone while in the condo. Now she apparently lives with someone else? Who? How did this change come about? And why?

Why does she "have to live in" this house? Who took her there or did she go of her own volition? You wrote that "they" expect her to make her own bed. Who is "they"? Was she kidnapped?

Beyond all the questions which leave MUCH to the imagination, I think the house probably needs to be condemned.

One other question I have is if she owned the condo, and sold it, what happened to the proceeds? She could have used them to purchase a home in a retirement community.

And given the situation, what did she have to say about why she's there and why she apparently can't leave? Since you included much detail, I'm assuming you visited her at this place?
It isn't abusive to live in a rural area. It isn't abusive to be poor, or to be a bad housekeeper. Relying on well water is common in rural areas and it is unfortunate they had a major leak, but at least it would have been clean water, not a sewer back up as is more common in urban centres.
You haven't indicated that she lacks mental competence... belonging to a book club implies that she still has her wits about her. You don't say who she is living with, I assume it is a family member. While her living arrangements seem less than ideal and a step down from what she once enjoyed she herself must have agreed to them. Remain her friend, she surely needs one, but as for her living arrangements Butt Out.
Another question: your profile states you're caring for someone with Parkinson's. She's in MD, and you're in VA, or are you caring for someone else?

I'm not caring for her. She's just a good friend.
In answer to all the other questions:
Second, as to your friend - there's a big gap between when she was thriving and the current situation. What happened?
She was thriving living in her own condo.

Apparently she lived alone while in the condo. Now she apparently lives with someone else? Who? How did this change come about? And why?
She lives with her son and his family. She knew she would be and was changing and thought it best at the time.

Why does she "have to live in" this house? Who took her there or did she go of her own volition? You wrote that "they" expect her to make her own bed. Who is "they"? Was she kidnapped?
"They" are her son and his wife. No, they didn't kidnap her. As far as she goes, I don't believe they know how to take care of her ... they are in over their head. That is how she got there.

Beyond all the questions which leave MUCH to the imagination, I think the house probably needs to be condemned.
I agree.

One other question I have is if she owned the condo, and sold it, what happened to the proceeds? She could have used them to purchase a home in a retirement community.
She is in the process of selling it, but has not yet. I know nothing of her financial situation except in discussing Assisted Living with her the financial aspect did not seem to be a problem.

And given the situation, what did she have to say about why she's there and why she apparently can't leave? Since you included much detail, I'm assuming you visited her at this place?
I have been there twice for several hours at a time driving back to my home here. She doesn't drive and cannot walk without a walker, and then quite tenuously.
I am only trying to help her ... I have no ulterior motives in this.
We have been friends for 12 years since we both were in the same condo building.
We both moved out about the same time.
I feel she needs to be out of there, and I was only asking for your all's opinions to help me decide whether or not to call CPS.
Instead of that, I felt as though I was being interrogated, as if I was up to something. I'm not, but if you want to think that. oh well. I am just trying to help a dear friend in a bad situation.
Busyb, I don't think there is anyone here who doesn't agree that your friend is living in less than ideal conditions. The problem is that this is her choice and her family, and trying to step into the middle of that will probably end your friendship and likely not yield the results you had hoped for.
The problem I saw was that there was a drastic change from when she was living in the condo to the present situation, and the initial post provided no explanation. In some cases, that's a lead-in for a fictitious post in which someone plays "lead the responders" around in circles, false directions, and fictitious allegations.

You'd be surprised how often that kind of post appears and posters are lead down a path of misrepresentations and what eventually are outrageous claims. That was one of the first things I thought as I read your post - too much left out raises questions.

You've explained the situation; I think it's really unfortunate that your friend agreed to go with her family. If she has any assets, perhaps she could go to AL or IL?

I do agree that the situation sounds horrid, and I would be tempted to place an anonymous call to APS. However, that would also raise the issue of where your friend could go to live. Does she have any resources? Could she get Medicaid?

The flooring situation to me presents an imminent hazard - tripping, falling, or even collapse of the floor. That alone would justify a call to APS. You could also contact the code enforcement department of the local community. But I wouldn't be surprised if the house was condemned, and your friend might be shuffled off someplace.

I think what I would do is contact the local community, inquire what might happen if the house were condemned, what level of government might step in, what would be provided for her in terms of a place to stay - find out before you call APS what could happen.
Busybuzzy, sorry for all the questions but we are reading this for the first time, and we don't have much information to use to help answer your questions.

Thank you for the update as we didn't know who were the caregivers. Now I wondering if your neighbor had run out of money, thus the reason her son and his wife had taken her into their own home. Some people can put on a good financial front but still be swimming in major debt [not saying this was the case with your neighbor, but in general].

You are so right, the current housing situation isn't good for an elder who needs to use a walker and has difficulty with even one step. I have a feeling maybe there was no choice.... and hopefully this is just a temporary situation until the condo is sold and the equity can be used for Assisted Living. What a sad situation your friend is going through especially since she was living in such a nice condo, doing so well, etc. Let's hope for the best.

As for calling APS, I not sure if that I would do that. The son and his wife might put two and two together and figure it was you who called, then all contact with your friend would be gone. But keep a watch.

This will be my last post. I thought I could come here for opinions on APS, but what I got has been very hurtful.
1 I realize it is not a crime to be poor ..... I am poor, often not making it til the end of the month.
2 - It is not a crime to not be a good housekeeper, but when a glass half full of milk is left sitting on a table in the living room for 3 weeks ..... well, draw your own conclusions, or don't.
3 - It WAS sewage that came in their basement NOT water.
4 - I am very sorry I bothered you all ..... apparently you have a tight little group going here and being an "outsider" I had to be interrogated to be sure I was not misreading or misrepresenting the situation. I am a 71 year old woman and I learned a long time ago to BUTT OUT of other people's business, but when it comes to dear friends, it's a whole different story. As they say nowadays, "I have her back" just as she would have mine if the situation were reversed.
THE END ................

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