Mom's story usually doesn’t deviate. Man handled by 2-3 guys. Tossed around, thrown down on couch, her pants pulled down in group setting.

Sometimes she does have bruises. It doesn’t take much to bruise the elderly. And from the staff I hear she’s fighting them, trying to bite them and herself. I know abuse sometimes happens. I wonder if she saw an elder abuse story on tv and she thinks it happened to her.

Who do you believe and what do you do?

Once I was with her for mild foot procedure on her foot. She didn’t complain of pain (unlike her). Days later she thought I had had the procedure and couldn’t understand why she was taking medication for me.

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Where does mom live? In a AL situation?

Does her story never vary? Does she name names? Yes, there can certainly be cases of abuse, and you shouldn't dismiss it out of hand--and yes, the elderly can bruise from a slight bump.

If she has dementia, she could very well be " remembering" her "care" as being abusive. If she's fighting her CG's, she could be interpreting the care as abuse. She's bitten herself? She isn't compliant?

I don't think you should dismiss her claims outright, but do a little investigating on your own, but do NOT go into the situation with guns blaring. CG is HARD work and made much harder by patients who literally fight us. My first (and last!) day with one client had me pulling a 4 hour shift and being hit in the face (black eye) and getting fecal matter smeared on me (on purpose) AND my butt pinched by the man of the house.

If ANY of this is happening in a group situation, you shouldn't have any problem chasing down the truthfulness of her accusations.
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" from the staff I hear she’s fighting them, trying to bite them and herself. "

There's your answer. Your mother is not making up her story. She is merely misinterpreting what is going on. And because she cannot form a clear understanding she is very afraid, and her fear creates this explanation in her head. Terrifying. Poor lady.

The staff need immediate training in how to reassure and soothe a resistant patient. If a person is fighting them, the answer is not to bring in reinforcements and gain her compliance by main force.

Can you be present when she is being dressed or got ready for bed? You might be able to get a clearer picture of where communication is breaking down.
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Cetude: This is a TERRIBLE response! There are some of us who have no choice but to have our loved ones live in a nursing home. To hear this kind of response makes us doubt our decisions and feel guilt-ridden that we can't do something different. I agree that family and friends need to be a constant presence in the life of a nursing home patient, but I believe that most places do the best they can with the resources they have. That is where the family can help to supplement care. If you don't have anything helpful to say on this forum, please do NOT respond with this type of negativity. You are not helping anyone.
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Leonine1 Nov 2018
@janeyd54: First, if you are doubting your decisions, or feeling guilt-ridden, that is 100% on you. It is not our responsibility to edit what we say so you don't feel guilty or doubt your decisions. Cetude, and the rest of us, are
entitled to our opinions. And we have a right to voice them here, whether they are positive or negative. Instead of you attacking Cetude, maybe you should try to pull yourself out of the center and look at it from a less-selfish point of view .... What if Cetude has a negative opinion of nursing homes because something terrible happened to one of Cetude's loved ones while a resident at a nursing home? Maybe Cetude is saying things he or she wished someone had warned them about. Anyway, a few final things... First, the whole point of forums is to hear from ALL sides of an issue. If people have a negative experience, it IS helpful for them to share with us so we can be more aware and make the best choices we can based on what our options are. Second ... about your doubting your choices and feeling guilt-ridden ... Why do you feel guilty? Don't say because of Cetude's response. Because that's nonsense. People generally don't feel guilt-ridden unless they know they've done or are doing something they know is wrong. People who believe they're doing the right thing don't feel guilty. No matter what anybody says. Is there something you should feel guilty about? If not, then quit feeling guilty. If so, and you choose to stick with your decision anyway, then learn to live with it - and quit blaming other people for "making you" feel guilty and "making you" question your decisions.
I have not experienced this with my loved one, but am sure others who have will chime in. I do however have experience with someone in my family being abused so felt compelled to reply from that perspective. I am glad you are not shrugging this off because it can be very real. If you haven't already done so, I would start taking pictures of each bruise you see and start looking for them (look under sleeves, clothing, etc. to make sure they aren't being hidden.) If she describes what these men look like or has names, make a note of those details. Having notes, dates and pictures will provide you with something concrete, not just "he said, she said". Then you will have something to present to the individuals managing the place.
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If Mom has Dementia, then she is probably making it up. Not intentionally just how the brain works. She could have dreamed it, saw it on TV? All end up blending together and become her reality. If Mom is fighting the staff then you need to see if there is a med to calm her. If this is new, could be a UTI. She may see staff trying to put a man in a chair and he fights them. Her mind makes it more than it is. I asked one of the CNAs why do they ask Mom "if she wants to go to the bathroom" when they know she needs changing instead of "come on Peg its time for the bathroom". The CNA says the other residents think Moms being bossed around if she says the latter. Now I saw no problem in saying the latter. Because Moms reaction to the former would be "No". I never asked Mom, I told her. If she said she didn't want to, I'd tell her she stunk. That got her moving.
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Please investigate and get advice from your closest Alzheimer’s support organization.

Though it’s not home, I would encourage visiting as often as possible not only for safety but because it’s usually somebody you care about or that cared for you. Drop in cameras or devices like an Alexa Show can be helpful.

Nursing homes can be a blessing for caregivers but there are excellent/good ones and dangerous ones. Read reviews, talk to resident families, note cleanliness, menues, and staff turnover.
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My mom had delusions regarding sex all the time. When she was still cognizant, she was the queen of all prudes. When she had dementia, she talked constantly about how everyone in the facility was sleeping with everyone else and called the place a “brothel” and “hell on earth”.

However, the bruises you mention do bother me. I was always notified when my mom fell or was hurt any other way. If her bruises are in places where she might have been grabbed, like upper arms or legs, take a picture and report it to the Director of Nursing. Ask the staff to notify you when they see bruises. Let them know you’re aware of them.
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Is your mom in a nursing home? If so, then why are the staff fighting her??? If your mom is refusing treatment she has a right under State and Federal Law to do that. If the staff force's your mom to do something she does not want to do, even giving her a bath or dressing/toileting her and she is injured in any way (bruise, skin tear or worse) they are guilty of Elder Abuse!! If reported which the home is required to do anytime there is an injury the staff involved could lose their license. Resident's have a right to refuse treatment, staff can NOT force treatment on them.

As long as the resident is not endangering themselves or others the staff should walk away and re-approach again at a later time or have a different staff member attempt to work with the resident.

The most commonly refused treatment in a nursing home is NOT medication, diet, or therapy it is bathing! If a resident is refusing a treatment then the staff should work hard to determine why the resident is refusing. For bathing it could be the water temperature, water pressure, the time of day (if the resident always took their bath at night and staff are trying to give them a bath during the day, they may refuse), activities (the staff could be trying to give a resident a bath during their favorite TV show or when their expecting visitors), sometimes their is a personality clash with the staff assigned to give the bath, or it could be a dignity issue. If the staff do everything they can to resolve the issue and the resident is still refusing then they need to consult the resident's doctor, it may be a medical or cognitive issue. If that is the case the doctor may be able to prescribe a medication to help solve the problem (an anxiety pill 30 minutes before a bath.)

I would never assume that a resident's concern is not true. Many times even resident's with late stage dementia can have some level of facts in their story. Example: A resident in a home kept telling staff she was tired of being married. This resident's husband died 25+ years ago. When I talked to the resident I asked her "What does being married mean to you?" She said that she did not want him getting in bed with her anymore. Upon investigation it was determined that a male aide had been "getting in bed" with her at night and telling her they were married. She was tying to let us know she was tired of being married and did not want this to continue!

Asked your loved one's questions, try to find out what is going on.
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Have you thought of putting a camera in her room? I don’t know if she’s in a private room or not. But this would be a way you could see if real abuse is occurring. Likely she is having dementia hallucinations but still it wouldn’t hurt to have some surveillance.
Also, I suggest you have a care conference With the Director of nursing and other staff present.
Helpful Answer (3)
Cmthatcher Nov 2018
Finally got approval for cameras, but the possible abuse happens elsewhere. Had care meeting. Will continue to monitor. Thx
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I’ve been through this to some extent with my Mother.
Dementia can be so difficult to deal with for your loved one and those who try to help. It used to be me she blamed for neglect and stealing and told her friends none of us cared. I was taking her out for breakfast or lunch 2-3 times a week, plus grocery shopping and I’d put money in her bank acct. to help her out.
When we moved her to Assisted Care, her Dr. had started her on anti anxiety medication. Finally, at the right dose, she was happy, friendly, said thank you to everyone, including me!! I believe Geriatric Drs. are much better at knowing symptoms and how to calm patients so they can feel safe and comfortable again.
You really need to talk to her Dr. and give all the details of what she’s saying and doing.
Concerning the bruises, my mom, step dad and now my husband bruise extremely easy. The skin gets so thin and the smallest bump can cause terrible bruising. I pray that’s all it is.
God bless you with His guidance and peace.
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