Good morning, everyone. This is not a question. What I’m about to say is fact, but also contains my opinions. I’m not calling anyone out, so to speak, just reinforcing what those of us on this board a lot keep saying. I hope you will bear with me.
In our Akron, Ohio newspaper today is an article detailing the conviction and sentencing of a man, 49, who stabbed his mother to death in May of 2016. He was his mother’s sole caregiver although there were sibs and their spouses present. His mother was diagnosed with dementia 3 years ago. This man, who his family admitted suffered from mental issues all his life, did everything for his mother. Everything. Except grocery shopping because he is a recluse and didn’t want to leave the house. Presumably the family did the shopping and dropped off the groceries but it wasn’t mentioned whether they ever stayed to help. They seemed totally, blissfully unaware what stresses their already unstable brother was under. To her credit, his sister implored the judge to have mercy on him, admitting “we failed him”. I’ll say. Big time. As I read her pleas to the judge, I felt my already high blood pressure getting even higher. I wanted to grab her and shout, “What the hell was the matter with you!! Where were you all when your brother needed you? Going to kid’s soccer games and fancy little restaurants while he toileted and bathed your mother?” They had a negative experience decades ago with their grandfather in a facility so therefore, to their way of thinking, all facilities are apparently the same, no improvements have been made to them or laws regulating them in the decades since. Something tells me the family didn’t give much serious consideration at all to placing Mom. It was easier to turn a blind eye and let their mentally handicapped brother take exclusive care of her.
He was sentenced to 4 years and will serve 6 months, then be released to a Behavioral Health facility. But the damage is done. His family turned a blind eye to what was happening and now their mentally ill brother will live with the trauma of finally going over the edge and having killed his own his mother. Why didn’t he say anything, you might ask? He’s also nonverbal. It was up to his family to supervise and observe. And they didn’t. His sister admits they failed him. His mental issues went untreated, probably because he was born at a time, like my SIL when most people with mental issues were hidden away or passed over. His mother and father, like my in-laws most likely refused to help him. Admitting there was a flaw in their family was not allowed. I’ve seen it.
Even us fairly stable caregivers struggle mightily with the demands of caregiving. My health is shot, we are broke and I’m praying we don’t lose the house. Others write us and say they are in the same situation as this poor man with oblivious and sometimes downright nasty sibs. Their cries for help tear at my heart. And sometimes their refusal to take our experienced advice angers me.
This will continue as the population ages, cost of long-term care facilities keeps rising and the government makes good on its threat to deplete Medicaid, which is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain. I don’t think this site has any fear of being abandoned like this poor man was.