Follow
Share

Yesterday, my cousin called me to say that when he went to visit his parents in an assisted living facility, his mom (under hospice care: has Alzheimer's, diabetes, and breast cancer survivor) was wandering down the hallway toward the office visibly shaken and crying. My cousin carted her into the office and sought to calm her by having her sit in a chair. He asked her why she was crying and she stated, "He shoved me into the chair and hurt me!" Then my cousin asked his mom, "Who shoved you?” She began crying even harder. At first she didn't answer, so my cousin asked, "Where's dad? Did he push you?" She responded, "Yes, he pushed me, and I can't take this anymore!" My cousin then looked down the hallway and saw his dad approaching the office. He said his dad had an extremely angry expression on his face and was taken "off guard" when he walked into the office and realized his son was sitting there with his wife along with a number of women from the AL facility.


I won't give all the details. Although my uncle called them all "liars" and stated that he's never abused his wife, it was obvious to everyone that my aunt had been hurt and that my uncle was the one who had done something to cause the scare. The nurse ended up medicating both of them to calm them down.


My thought was that they should have called 9-1-1 and immediately reported this. Am I wrong to think this way? [I have a sister who lives with an abuser, so I'm aware of this type of behavior and am sure my aunt has chosen to live with this kind of husband (just as my sister has—but it doesn't make it right). I've also had to deal with another experience where my dad was mistreated by a caregiver in a facility, so I'm very sensitive to elder abuse (and know some of the laws).]


My uncle had another incident several months ago when he shoved or held my aunt back when EMS came to take her to the hospital due to diabetes issues (she wasn't under hospice care at the time). He refused to let them take her to the hospital for treatment, so the facility called the police and my uncle was actually hauled off to a mental health facility where he was treated for extreme paranoia for several weeks and then returned to the AL where he and my aunt are living.


Because they are both under the guardianship of DSS, my cousin was told to notify the caseworker ASAP, which he did. The social worker said she would discuss this matter with her supervisor. My cousin and I both believe that his dad should be removed from the facility and placed in a mental health facility. He qualifies for VA benefits (if DSS will get on the ball and finish the paperwork that has been given to them). There is a VA facility not too far from here that provides care for mentally ill patients (my uncle has been diagnosed with mental health issues by both the VA doctors and the doctors at the facility where he spent several weeks).


So in my opinion someone needs to act on this and protect my aunt as well as the hospice caregivers and those in the AL facility. If something isn't done soon, my aunt may be severely harmed or at least lose the benefit of her hospice care (as hospice is likely to drop a patient if the caregivers feel any threat while treating her—my hospice nurse friends have told me this).


Does anyone know how the elder abuse laws work? My relatives are in the state of South Carolina. I do know that medical staff has to report this to the proper authorities. Is DSS the only one that has to receive this report? Can family members request copies of the report? Because of my aunt's Alzheimer's she won't know today what happened yesterday. I wish something had been done in the moment, but I can't change what happened yesterday.

Busymom I think you have gotten good advice here. Your post has been on my mind and I came back again to offer you support on whatever next steps you think are best. I also have a sister who lives with an abuser and she has chosen to remain as his wife for 25 years and counting. It is hard to be the on-looker of a situation you believe is just not "right". I have seen anger in my BIL's eyes and known my sister is in harms way even though I have never witnessed him lay a hand on her. It is a difficult situation for sure. In my sister's case, I actually did go to the police. I will be wishing you strength and clarity as you take your next steps and hoping for your Aunt's safety.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to GingerMay
Report
busymom Oct 13, 2018
Thank you, for your words. There are many women, men, and children who live in horrible situations. Every day I'm grateful for the family in which God placed me. My husband is such a loving, patient person who has grown more patient as we have lived together as husband and wife for over 30 years. I'm probably the kind of woman who would not have tolerated anyone mistreating me. Some personalities are more like mine and some are more compliant, like my sisters (and probably yours).

A number of years ago, I sat with my sister at a police station and heard the officer sternly warn my sister with these words, "You have only 2 choices: 1 is to leave, and the other is to die." She chose briefly to leave. I feel for those who truly seek to help broken, abused people. Many police officers are tender toward the needy. How it must crush their hearts when they go to homes where someone has been brutally harmed or even killed by another family member.

While we can't "save" everyone, at least we can try to help those we know and love—when they are willing to be helped.

I am doing what I can for those I can. My aunt doesn't really have a voice in this particular case, so someone has to step in and be the voice for her.
(1)
Report
AL staff are mandatory reporters and they should have made a police report about the domestic violence, I would find out if one was filed and if not have your cousin contact APS and report that the facility is allowing domestic violence to happen and not reporting or protecting his mom.

Thus needs to be dealt with, she doesn't deserve to be abused during her last days.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
busymom Oct 12, 2018
Thank you. I will check into it. I don't believe anyone should ever be abused. It especially saddens me when it's a vulnerable, weak, elderly adult, child or special needs person..
(1)
Report
Uncle may be frustrated he is in AL and is taking it out on his wife.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to shad250
Report

First, I suppose you can help your cousin sort through the options as you likely don't have ability to directly impact the direction things will go. Can you do something to obtain proof next time to show Uncle was indeed the one inflicting the abuse against his wife? Are there security cameras, or can you set one up in their private living space? Were there witnesses? Can you get your uncle moved to a different location in this facility away from your Aunt? A different AL perhaps? Moving any loved one to a government run veteran psychiatric facility would be my last resort.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to GingerMay
Report
busymom Oct 11, 2018
While I agree that the VA psychiatric facility would be an awful place to put a loved one, my uncle is so defiant and so mentally off. Getting him anywhere will be up to DSS, and I pray they will at least separate my aunt from him.
(0)
Report
What probably needs to be done if not done soon, is call the police the next time it happens and let them take Uncle away. Once Uncle is put in another facility have them keep him. The AL can refuse to let him return because of violence against his wife. They need to protect the other residents.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
busymom Oct 11, 2018
Thank you, I totally agree.
(0)
Report
Why is the DSS involved? Are ur Aunt and Uncle on Medicaid? Why would they be involved with getting Uncle into VA facility? If he has been evaluated why can't that be taken to your county VA dept and applied for there? Where I live, Uncle could be reported to Adult protective services. Social Services here only handles Medicaid, Welfare, food stamps and emergency housing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
busymom Oct 11, 2018
DSS is involved because my uncle was reported to Adult Protective Services and eventually taken to court for neglect of my aunt. No immediate family member was willing to take on the responsibility of their care, so DSS became involved. Because DSS is now his guardian and he was placed in Assisted Living, he no longer sees his VA doctor. My husband managed to get help from someone at the VA regarding necessary paperwork to be filled out that if approved would provide VA benefits for my uncle. The paperwork requires a current medical doctor to fill out a part of it, so my husband gave it to the DSS agent and requested that the doctor that visits the facility could fill it out. Where those documents are, I have no idea.
(0)
Report
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter