What are my rights when the Department Of Aging is investigating my family and I?

My family and I were reported to the Dept of Aging for not taking care of my mother by her former boss. My mom is 82 years old and just retired because she made home made pasta at a little italian store but her shoulder is just shot. She is rubbing bone on bone in there and has been for years. I don't know how she even lasted as long as she did. So her bosses got mad that she retired and turned me in to be investigated for elder abuse and neglect. I just got a phone call from the Dept of Aging that they came into my home while was at work and made my mom open the door and let them in. Our home is two apartments but we have a common door in the downstairs hallway and we use this as one home and not two. Two women went up to mom's floor and looked around her house and spoke with her without my knowledge. I am quite bothered that someone just came into my home without my permission or knowledge and made my mother open the door and let them in. What rights if any do we have to find out of they are just permitted to come into your home and not tell you? I don't know how they got my mother's phone number as it is not published and she also does not have a doorbell because I don't want her to open doors for strangers. She has middle stage dementia. The dept. of aging said they found nothing wrong and they were going to close the case. They contacted my uncle who is mom's POA and told him we were not entitled to know who filed the complaint and we also cannot get a copy of the report. Is this legitimate?????? If anyone knows anything about being investigated and how to handle our rights and also get a copy of this report, it would be appreciated very much. I feel like my home has been burglarized and I was violated with my privacy. I am now installing cameras outside and inside that I can monitor online during the day to see who is coming and going and to make sure my mom is ok and no strangers are coming in. ALso changing her phone number again so this does not happen again.

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Top Answer
I can understand your outrage and feeling of violation. What an unwelcome surprise!

Some vulnerable adults really are neglected or mistreated. I'm sure you'd agree that such situations need to be investigated and stopped. And asking permission of the person reported as doing the neglect or mistreatment wouldn't get the investigators very far, would it?

You've learned that Mom will let strangers in if they are persuasive enough, so the cameras may serve a purpose. I'm not sure that changing her phone number would stop a legitimate government agency from finding it out.

Be glad that the case is closed.
It says online that no government agency is permitted in your home without your permission. I totally understand about their investigation but what about my rights as a caregiver who was falsely accused because they are mad about my mom retiring! She lives in my home and not alone and who is to say the did not go into my apartment and look around as well. As a homeowner I should have some rights!
It is your mother's home, too, and she apparently gave permission. I really don't know the legalities here. I understand your anger, and I also understand the need to protect our vulnerable citizens. They can't dismiss complaints because "he's just mad that she retired." (And it may not have been her former boss who complained.) They have to take complaints seriously until they see for themselves. They were allowed in by your mom, whom they wanted to interview. If they hadn't gotten permission that way, perhaps they could have gotten a warrent. I don't know. I am glad that we do try to protect persons who can't protect themselves. Sometimes, I'm sure, that backfires. In this case it seems to have worked out. They closed the case and all is well.

If you feel that your rights have been violated and you want to take action, you probably need to consult a lawyer.

This reminds me of something from years ago. Someone reported a suspicious car lottering near a grade school. Checking the license plate and realizing the owner lived in the neighborhood, the police called our number. Did I know who had used that car yesterday afternoon? Yes, it was drizzling and my husband drove to the bus stop to pick me up after work, mid-afternoon. I didn't take the bus he expected me to be on, and he waited quite a while. That was the end of the matter. I told the police how very glad I was that school neighbors kept an eye on such things and that the police checked such reports out. Better to annoy an innocent party than to ignore a guilty one.
I totally agree with you on your comment. I just feel violated and feel that we should be entitled to a copy of the report. It doesn't have to say who filed the complaint although we know for a fact it was her boss because she told my sister and her family she was going to do that. That being said, yes we are vindicated as they found mom in good health and she lives in a nice home. However, my uncle and I both feel we should have something in writing that states what the complaint was and that we were clearing of any wrongdoing. It is only fair that we should have a report stating such for future issues that might arise. There has been a family dispute going on for 1 1/2 years that this is all stemming from and a big part of trying to bring us down.

I suppose that there are some considerations for your mother's privacy. They investigated her situation and they can't be giving that out to anyone who asks. Has your uncle, as POA, requested a copy?

I agree with you completely.

We used to have these crazy ideas floating around, like "Illegal search and seizure", "innocent until proven guilty", "the right to privacy", and "the right to face your accusers". What happened?

So now the gov needs a warrant to walk in on a drug dealer or violent criminal, but for an accused caregiver, just barge right in?

Somewhere between the extremes of "doing nothing", and "sending in the SWAT team", there ought to be at least one intermediate solution.

For example, if the complaint was health related, they might call you and you could say, "Look, we just saw Dr. Schmo last week. Please give him a ring. Not only that, but the pharmacy can verify that we filled her 6 prescriptions the day before yesterday."

It seems to me that there must be different levels of suspected abuse, and that realization alone calls into question the practice of all-or-nothing solutions.

Not only that, but the investigating agency by now knows that many of the complaints are going to be illegitimate claims from interfering troublemakers.
Neighbors, ex-employers, AH family members. That's the real world for ya.

Anyway, I see why we need to protect the anonymity of the complainer, but I think that the victimized caregiver should be entitled to see the exact wording of the complaint.

The lady did contact the POA and asked for a copy of the report and she said she is not permitted to give it to him. We have to contact a district attorney or somoneone. I'm not sure about who it is and I'll have to ask my uncle. He was pretty upset as well since he knows his sister is being taken care of and he is her POA . Whey didn't they contact him and ask him what was going on? You all must understand that my mother did not give them permission to come in as she just thought it was a visiting nurse since she had just been released from the hospital 2 weeks prior. She was having nurses and social workers coming in all week. No permission can be granted by a person with middle stage dementiawho trusts everyone. It could have been someone coming in to rob her or hurt her and she would not have known. The dept of aging should have known that before they put her at risk opening the door.
I would be consulting an attorney. No government agency should be able to just walk right in and inspect your home on some unfounded complaint.

This is America. If we give up our liberty for safety we are no longer a free people with a free will.
Anyone has the right to report abuse if they feel it is going on and they should, they also have the right to remained unnamed to protect them, the department of aging has every right by law to enter the home and check for abuse just like social services for child abuse, since the department of aging found no abuse and is closing the case then you should be happy, you do not have the right to know who reported it or to see the report, I would rather have people report that they think there is abuse and it be unfounded, then not to report and the person being abused continues to be abused, hope this helps and gives you more understanding and a different outlook on the situation, hugs

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