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My name is Joshua. I'm 20. I work part-time and live with parents. I found this site by chance and signed up to ask this: is it elder abuse to NOT provide the elder with a cellphone ? Now currently, he does have one, but he can only call 911 in case of emergency. But that's not good enough for the elder, he wanted me to buy a brand new phone. I said no. Had the cops called on me about 5 times. Out of two visits, I've been threatened with elder abuse if I don't provide the elder a phone with access besides the 911 number. Are the cops in the right? Because I'm tired of being threatened by both them AND the elder about this phone business. I'm very, very tired.

I will get him a phone, one way, or another, soon, because he finally agreed he wants to move out, and I will be helping him look.
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worriedinCali Nov 29, 2018
Josh can you go by the department of social services? I’m in California too and there is almost aways a booth outside the DSS where you can get a government paid cellphone. If you can, take your dad down there and see if he can get a phone. Good luck!
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Josh, do you understand this is a double edged sword?

Personal experience here. The person I cared for also lied to people over the phone, manipulated and made up crap all the time. People believed the act. Due to the fact, it was a vulnerable adult, you cant go off on them or infringe on their right. I would get so mad, I would not talk because I knew I would blow up. I still met their needs but would avoid contact until I calmed down. Then, I was advised not speaking and avoidance was also considered abuse.

At one point, I too cared what people thought but there is no convincing the people who believe him. It is a waste of time. You need to stop caring what other people think because you do not need people in your life like that.

Just get him a phone now.
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Ok. Still not sure about your specific situation. Forgive me if I've misread your posts. But still a little confused about what's going on with you. And your caregiving situation.
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Joshua317 Nov 29, 2018
I tell more later. I am tired.
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And I do care for him. As human, a person. Rather than my father. I am helping trying to help him, just not in his way. He told me he doesn't want to live in a care home. Fine. I am gonna try to help him find some residence within his budget.
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Not sure what is going on with your situation? Does he have dementia?  It may not be about the phone. I could be about the situation. And finding a different way of dealing with it?
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And by the way, I've lived in an low-income family all of my life, so I am NOT like most arrogant youngsters. I am rather humble and reserved. And I may be young, but I'm NOT ignorant to growing up and be responsible. My Dad throws that in my face all of the time. As I've told him once, "There are many things I don't know, but I am learning EVER damn day myself. You don't help. And do not mistake a little ignorance for stupidity."

And yes, there are two sides to the same story. I am just afraid those who takes my dad's side will only cause more trouble than there already is. They would want to hear me and my mom's side because they've already decided what they view us: the wrong ones.

It is not like I care what they think, I am scared the trouble they may cause.

I am not being, "Mean and hateful," as my Dad had pointed out. I am just being cautious, and so is my mom. I assume we don't have that right?

Then we really are going to get into some forms in trouble. I fear that, too, which is the WHOLE reason I found this site by accident-quail my fear a little by talking about my problem, NOT to talk crap about my Dad.

But it's clear what I have to do, whenever if my mom agrees or not. The question is now....

….when is the best time? I already know the answer to half of that inquire: not much.
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Guys. I told him I was recording him. He was well aware and saw my phone when he was calling me those names. And my mom, whom is his caregiver, she has rights too, and she has a right to herself, and she is protecting herself from outside turmoil my Dad may cause by giving him a cell phone. Same with a landline. And plus, we are only doing this just UNTIL we find him another place. Then once it's settled, I'll WALK to the nearest Target myself and get one. Once he's out, I don't care what others think. But in the meantime, we still take care of him. We had three meals today, I emptied his waste, dammit, and lastly, we have rights too, and I've read on an actual magazine on elderly care that if a care giver does not feel that they are obligated to do ANYTHING if they suspect the elder is trying to manipulate by guilting the care-giver or threatening them.

Also, has an update to those new to my problem, he has a cell phone, but the device only allows someone to call 911, which my dad had done five time in less than a week to try and get me and mom in trouble. Two of those cops out of the five that came were cool with what we've given them. So....

And hey, me and mom are not sitting around. We work. Me in the mornings, and mom starts in the evening. So, he is NOT home alone, only when mom picks me up from work.

We have no help, my dad is the aggressor, and we have the right to protect ourselves. And I know elders have rights and they are well defended. But I've already said what's going to happen. My dad says he's ready to leave. The HOUR me and/or my mom finalize a residence for him, I'm going straight to Target.

And P.S, while I'm not LEGALLY his care-taker, my mom is, BUT I still help out whenever I can, because my mom gets tired, she is 57 years old, and yet, works 8 hours at retail.
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Joshua, you are intentionally breaking the law. You and mom were told it is elder abuse and it needs to be done. That anyone on this site has advised you otherwise is just opinion, NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Listen to the police, they know the laws for your area.

If I was a cop and you played that little blerp to me, I would ask you if that was his response to you and mom refusing to get him a phone.

He is completely bed ridden, how would you feel if you only had interactions with 2 people that obviously find you burdensome?

Did it ever dawn on you that you are here on AC doing the exact same thing to him that you say he will do to you? Talking crap without hearing both sides of the story.

You are very young and there is so much that it is difficult for you to understand, we have all been in your shoes. You can not begin to have any reality with getting older and loosing your independence. That must suck air.

No matter what has transpired, he is your dad and you have been warned and threatened with charges. Bite the bullet and get him a phone. You might find he is easier to deal with. As far as what his friends think, who cares. They are his friends of course they are going to side with him. That's what friends do.

Even though it has been really hard, please try to have some compassion for his life. Kindness towards him can help defuse some of the animosity that you feel towards him. Try it, can't hurt.

I am sure you know that it takes two to have an argument or fight. If you do your best and keep silent when he is grumping or yelling, it is just that, him grumbling and yelling. No fight, no argument.

I can tell you that law enforcement will almost always be an advocate for the underdog in these domestic cases. He is vulnerable and has no one. You and mom should think about the repercussions of keeping him isolated and fighting with him all the time. It is easier to be quiet then get out of jail. Just my opinion.
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Josh, I believe California is a two-party consent state. Did your father give permission to record him? If not, I think you may have broken the law. The system protects the vulnerable, you need a social worker to navigate the system.
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worriedinCali Nov 28, 2018
Yikes. Yes he did break the law. It’s illegal to record without the other party’s consent. My husband is a cop. I did not know it was illegal and recorded part of a telephone conversation between him and his moms former partner (who was oh speaker phone) when we discovered another theft he committed. I was texting my SIL telling her everything he was saying and I decided to start recording it for her. Anyway my husband made me delete it as soon as he found out, he said what I done was illegal!! Because I did not have MILs partners consent.
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I don't think California recognizes common-law marriage.
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worriedinCali Nov 28, 2018
That is correct, California does not recognize common law marriage
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Joshua; Please listen to me carefully.

The fact that your dad will throw you and mom under the bus is NOT a reason to deny him a phone. You are isolating him. This WILL be seen as elder abuse.

So, he calls friends and family and accuses you of nonsensical things?

Big deal. Does he have dementia? Does he have a mental illness?

Then get him evaluated for that.
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Joshua317 Nov 28, 2018
Dementia. No. Mental illness? Maybe, because he condicts himself alot that baffles me and my mom lots of times. But we have no proof, because it'll be our word against his. Whom would the law belief, unless we talk to his doctor, I guess.
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Hello. Been awhile. Me and my mom have been quite busy with our jobs, and lately, it's been really peaceful the last week and a half or so. Until yesterday, on the 27th. An argument occurred about a cell phone again. See, there is something I forgot to mentioned to you all: the main reason why we refuse to get him a cell phone(besides the budget and effort coming into play) is because we(me and mom) don't trust him causing other forms in trouble, liking phoning his so-called friends and talking crap about us and portraying himself as the victim just because he's handicapped while the truth is, HE'S the aggressor. So, at the end of the argument I had with him last night he finally said he wanted to leave after I said I would only go and get him a phone the day he moved out so we (me and mom) wouldn't have to worry about him causing trouble one way or another. So, I researching care facilities. He wants to live in an apartment and have an homecare provider take care of him. I am sure I can't put him in a home without his consent so I am researching that, too.

And another thing, the reason why me and my mom are so worried he'll cause trouble by having a cell phone(even a landline) is because his "friends" have not seen his ugly side. To them, he's a handicapped gentlemen, and that we are the 'bullies' and the 'wrong one.' He's already got to my sisters and a few others(possibly our landlord, too) against us. Well, I have an audio recording of him cursing me out so if they ever try and confront me or my mom and try to tell us off, I'll play it.

"F you, you piece of sh!t," is one of the things on the audio recording. I have my evidence. It's not much buuuuuut, better than nothing when I point out that HE is the aggressor, handicapped or not, to whomever accuses me and my mom of being the 'wrong ones.'

Recently, he has been threating to 'get' my mom, as my dad put it, on neglect. So, as of yesterday, I've been taking pics of the food I feed him and logging it into a little notebook along with every little thing I do for hi., including the time and the date. Like this morning, I emptied his bucket of urine, shortly after another argument between us.

So, your thoughts...?
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rovana Nov 28, 2018
Joshua, by isolating him you are opening yourself to a charge of elder abuse.  Please take this very seriously, because it is serious.  Your mom is married to him and it is up to her and him to sort their problems out.  Kids are better off moving out and making their own lives.
And keep in mind, you may have evidence, but of what, exactly? He is a nasty man, but that is not illegal, elder abuse is.  Keep in mind that the law is not necessarily fair.
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Josh317
Your mom should talk with his doctor and tell the doctor about his abuse, and get an order to admit him to a long term care facility. You don't say (and may not know) what his insurance is, but your mom can call the local Medicaid office to see if he is eligible, or if he is already on Medicaid ask the doctor to recommend a facility. This shouldn't be your burden to carry alone, and your mom will have to make these calls.
Stay the good young man that you are and keep us updated. You have friends on this site and we want to be here to help.
Please don't think of just walking away, as that will be considered as abuse, even if the thought of it sounds good. As difficult as he is, try to put your self in his place and imagine what life would be like. He's probably terrified. Even though this doesn't excuse his nastiness, it might help you cope with it a little better.
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Joshua317 Nov 28, 2018
My mom is trying to contact his doctor to report the turmoil and to see if he can help us find him some sort of caring facility. We are waiting to hear back from him. In the meantime, I am trying to look up my own resources and other information.
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Josh, this is really bugging me.

You are 20 years old. You live with your mother and your disabled father in very limited accommodation, if you don't mind my saying so. I am sure that your support is invaluable to your mother, and I am also sure that the hours you put in are important to your Dad's care.

But this is *crazy*!!! What the heck? How come you have been led to be actually anxious that you have such a clear responsibility towards your father that you could be at risk of neglect charges if you don't meet required care standards?

How long has your father needed this care, and how long have you been sharing the burden with your mother?

It's not that there's anything wrong with helping your parents, of course not. But there is something terribly wrong with the obligations you seem to have been handed like this.

Basically - who passed you the buck? And what support do you all three get from outside the family?
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Joshua317 Nov 28, 2018
Well, that is the thing. No family is avaible to us. Most of them live out of state(we live is Ca) and the one reltive that is said pretty much the following to my mom, "You're his wife, you're responsible."

Well, my parents never married. So, common-law would be the right term, I guess. So, in short, we have no help and no resources.

But I am looking to change that and I've been doing lots of online research on both information and resources with elderly/dishabilles care and such.

The reason I have too is because my mom is in her late 50s, in other words she's not computer savvy.
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My experience with patients with MS is that there is usually depression associated with it.
Has Dad always been depressed and been abusive? If this is the case there is little chance he will change now especially since MS is a progressive disease.
If he had not picked on needing an expensive cell phone as something to demand it would have been something else.
Of course he does not need it. He can perfectly well communicate with a simple flip phone if he wants to talk to people.
I would have thought a cheap laptop would have suited his needs better.
It does not matter who paid for the original phone, you can pick them up for a few $s and reload the minutes. I use a well advertised senior plan than costs me total $21 a month with unlimited calls.
Is Dad calling you and/or Mom at work and causing problems? I am not quite sure what the issue is. You can certainly turn off your phones when you are working.
Did one of you just get an expensive I phone and he feels entitled too? Well he is if that is the case he has income comming into the house too.
I totally understand that the two of you have had enough of this abuse and just want to walk away but you do have responsibility to someone who is totally unable to care for themselves.
Clearly you are doing the best you can and he is not making it easier being totally helpless in bed . I know you have to work but it is definitely not safe to leave a helpless person of any age alone for any length of time. What happens if there is a fire.
Don't delay get in touch with any social service that could possibly help. His Dr. Eldercare in your county, Catholic Charities, the VA if he was a veteran anyone you can think of. If they can't help they may know who can. Get on the Internetand look for any MS resources. This is going to take work to get your Dad into a situation where he will be properly looked after.

Just moving out is not an option. Keep that in mind.
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Do they really have phones where you can adjust them so you can only call certain numbers on it? Numbers programmed into the phone? Because, if so, where can I get one? Target? Walmart? I will have to get him one, because I don't want to get in trouble by 'isolating' him. Least he'll have something. By the way everyone, my Dad is 67, and the three of us live in a two-bedroom apartment. Me and Dad have the rooms, Mom sleeps in the dinner room on her bed. I work very early in the morning either 4:30am or 6:am and I'm usually home by 10 or 11:30am. Mom starts work around 2 or 3pm.

Point is, my Dad is never home alone. The only time he's alone is when my mom drives me to work or to my doctor, because I don't have a driver's license as of yet. With the latter, he would only be alone for an hour plus some minutes. And we always tell him when we go out.
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JoAnn29 Nov 16, 2018
Yes, like said I have a Tracfone and a simple android. I have it set up that only contacts ring thru. All other calls go to voicebox. You can set VB with a password only you know. Outgoing calls can be set up as contacts only.
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Josh is 20. The elder in question is his Dad - anybody over 40 is an elder when you're only 20, I guess. His father has MS and is bed bound, which I take to mean he's pretty severely disabled by this horrible disease. But it also sounds as if Josh's mother has had all she can take from him, and I for one can't blame her for that - the effects on his personality may not be Dad's fault, but it sure as heck isn't her fault either and there has to be a limit.

And Josh, I don't think you can claim that your father is not at risk of isolation because he has a t.v. to watch.

Any updates?
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Joshua317 Nov 16, 2018
Even before the first phone was taken away from him(a phone which my mom paid her with her debit, which is HER property and not his, proof is the bank statements) my Dad had always belittled my mom, and sometimes me, for NEARLY ever little disagreement, and had threaten her, and me, by the cops. I have no idea if it's mental, if it is, we are not the cause. But I'm pretty sure it is not mental, he just a very stubborn old man; he's 67 years old by the way. My mom is around 56 I think, so she's older. So, again, I do not think mental illness has nothing to do with this, it's just with my Dad, it's either his way or we(me and my mom) are stupid.

And lastly, the last thing I want, no matter what happens, is to be charged with some sort of elder neglect, because even though I am not legally his care-provider, I still live with him, so I still think I would be at risk if the worst-case scenario ever occurs.

So, I'll work with my mom on either giving him a landline, a flip phone, or one of those phone where you can program it so the phone can only dial certain numbers, if they still exist.
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Looks like you all live together. If there is a landline then he doesn't need a cell phone. If no landline I suggest you get Dad an emergency button. When he pushes it an operator comes on. She will determine if his call is an emergency. You and Mom can request that you be called before operator calls 911. Then you can get rid of the 911 only phone.

You call this man Dad. Is he your father or Grandfather. Has his illness effected his ability to make informed decisions? Does Mom have POA?
Is he living with u or him with you?

I would start with Office of Aging. Approach the situation that with you both working you are not able to give or afford the care he needs.
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Is there not a landline in the house?
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Er, Josh..?

I'm really sorry to read of your and your family's situation.

Does it have to be like this? Is "either he goes or we go" really the only option left?

I'm just wondering if you or your mother are in touch with any MS support groups, I suppose. Did you get in touch with the social workers, what's going on there?
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Hello all. This is Josh. Thought I'd give y'all a small update if you're interested. Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you all for the great advice, tips, and warnings, because no manner whom is in the right in my 'lovely' situation, the very LAST thing I want is to go to jail. I've been good during my 20 years, want it to stay like that until the day I die.

Anyway, it's been quiet and peaceful at the home for the last few days since I've posted this; been five days since the last police visit. But Dad is still expecting a 'good' phone. "A smartphone," he says. I ignore him in regards to the phone stuff and let him say and think whatever he wants, because as long as he's not threatening, harassing, or bringing the cops over here I'm actually really, really happy. And a quick note, in regards to the possibility of 'isolating' him, he does have a t.v which he watches all day, everyday even BEFORE this whole phone business started; he loves his sport channels. So, he does have some form of entertainment. I plan to lend him one of my books-I like to read-so he can have more enjoyments to his days, I guess.

Lastly, what we(me and mom)plan on doing.

Two things: either we get him out somehow or we are leaving. If we leave, we'll quickly alert social services so they can send someone else to take care of him, so we won't be charged with abandonment of an elder.

I strongly prefer if we can get him out somehow and into a nursing home; moving would be pain. It's quiet now, but sooner or later, my dad is going to start in again.

Me and mom are trying to get in touch with social workers so we can see if they can do anything for us or help us out in finding my dad a home, me and my mom have sh*t incomes, after all, just enough to eat, pay bills, and internet.

If no one can get him out for us, then we are definitely moving and we are getting ready just incase we cannot get him out; I am even bringing hom boxes from my workplace for our stuff already. We are done with the verbal abuse, and to be rather honest, we are done taking care of him. I, for one, am, quiet. But in the meantime, we watch his hygiene, he gets fed, and we make sure he doesn't fall off the bed, etc, etc, etc,etc,etc.

So......I suppose that's it. Again, thank you all for the advice. It was all, quite helpful. Those policemen spooked me, because I do not want anything on my record. Who does?

OH!

And my dad is not demented, he's just stubborn and a fighter. Oh, boy! He is a fighter! He may be bed-bound, but that mouth of his.....oooohhhhhhhh boy....
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tacy022 Nov 15, 2018
Josh, a tv is not a substitution for person to person communication. Your father is also bedridden and cannot take care of himself. You and your mom work. Do you ever leave him alone? Especially without a phone it can be both neglect and emotional abuse.

Btw, how old is your dad? Senior groups may not be able to help him based on age.

Have you called his doctor? The doctor will contact a homecare agency and find the social worker for you. Make sure you are at the home during the meeting and refuse to be a part of the careplan. They can help with Medicaid paperwork if needed, and placement. They can get aides in the house until the process is done. Disabled adults are protected. The dive and duck approach is not the best idea.
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Josh, do as tacy recommends and get him a free government phone.

In Arizona repeated calls to 911 for no emergency reason can get you charged with wasting public resources and it is pretty serious.

If your dad is abusive, and threatening you and mom because he didn't get his way, is abuse. May be time to get him placed in a facility.

You are a good man to be helping your mom with this difficult situation. My hats off to you.

Just be sure and try to not give him all of your young life, many people feel entitled to be the center of the universe at everyone's expense, encourage your mom to get him help or placement. No one deserves to live with abuse. Between her and you, you can change this situation and not have to deal with a tyrant.

Let us know what you get figured out.

Hugs 2 u and mom for not throwing him to the curb.
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Please refer to the following information from the national council on elder abuse:

Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts. Emotional/psychological abuse includes but is not limited to verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. In addition, treating an older person like an infant; isolating an elderly person from his/her family, friends, or regular activities; giving an older person the “silent treatment;” and enforced social isolation are examples of emotional/psychological abuse.
Signs and symptoms of emotional/psychological abuse include but are not limited to:
being emotionally upset or agitated
being extremely withdrawn and non communicative or non responsive
unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking)
an elder’s report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated

This is not black and white about a phone it is about emotional abuse from social isolation.
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shad250 Nov 16, 2018
TV can be a great sitter
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I may be off base here, but if I were you, Josh, I’d get the cantankerous old you-know-what a burner phone. Load it with one of those cards with minutes from Walmart and when he uses those up, too bad. You’ve gotten him a phone as per the “police order”. If he uses up the minutes on nuisance calls, that is on him. If he keeps calling the police, they have to come out. They can’t complain because THEY were the ones who said he has to have a phone. They will see he’s not being abused or neglected. And you and Mom will be in the clear. It doesn’t have to be an iPhone X.

Cover your own behind by getting him the burner phone. Then just sit back while the police wear a path to your door.
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Joshua317 Nov 15, 2018
I like that. I'll keep that in mind, just incase.
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Hi Josh,

I live in California, and your situation may be seen as preventing your father from having the ability to communicate with others at his own will. This would be considered socially isolating your father and yes, this is seen as a form of elder abuse.
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rovana Nov 14, 2018
But you mean to say that Josh is obliged to pay for this out of his own pocket?  It is one thing to prevent, but quite another to simply refuse to help someone to whom you have in fact no legal obligation. Josh is not a guardian, does not even have a POA.  If father wants a phone, let him arrange for it and pay for it himself.  The problem here is that Dad is making all sorts of nuisance calls and seems to be threatening to "report" Josh and his mother for abuse. Now no one needs that kind of harassment...so how would one legally protect themselves? 
If it were me, I'd make the situation clear to the cops, 911, etc. and tell them to control Dad.  Good luck there... Seems there is really no clear path to follow legally to deal with this. So I'd make it clear that he had not been declared incompetent, had rights, and therefore they should deal direct with him, and leave me out of it, since I have in fact no enforcement power. If it were a question of false accusations I would act to protect myself - talk to a lawyer, Area Agency on Aging or similar and all else failing, finally separate myself from Dad so that no accusations could be made.   Accusations are very serious business.  I don't think the family is trying to isolate Dad, just protect him from himself.
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Google Free Government Cell phone and go from there.
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I have the funny feeling there is a lot missing in this post. Who is “the elder”. Is it a grandparent? Parent? And why would the police care if “the elder” had a phone? He’s able to call for help, as if he had a Life Alert. So where does the “abuse”:come in?

Is Josh the Elder’s Caregiver? If he is, why is a 20 year old caregiving and financially responsible for the Elder?

Am I missing something here?
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Joshua317 Nov 13, 2018
I am Josh. The elder is my dad, and to be technical, the care-giver is my mom, but since I live there too, and since it is just me and her, I help caring for my dad whenever I can. The police showed up once when my mom was not at home and during that visit they 'advised' me that I should get him a cell phone because if I didn't, I'd be denying him access to the outside world, and other numbers beside 911, which is a form of elder abuse, according to what one of them said. I assume they 'threaten' me, was because I'm an adult, young and still learning the ways of the world, but still an adult, and I was the only one at home at that one visit from them(the police). But the latest visit from the police, that pair were much more aggressive in 'defending' the elder's(my dad's) rights and were practically proclaiming that we HAVE to give him one because it's our responsibility, me mom's, because she's the legal care-taker, me, because I live at the home too, and I'm an adult...I guess. We told those more aggressive cops, "No," so they said, while we walked away from them, they will filed a claim for elder abuse against my mom, which is the whole point I've found this site by chance and posted my question. And lastly, the main reason we won't give him a cell phone is because he is a trouble-maker and had always threaten us to have the cops come to the house before when he had a disagreement with me or my mother. Now he still does it with this cell phone he has now....
I'm sure you are thinking, "Might as well that that new cell phone," but as you've guessed earlier, there is more to the story.
The only reason he has that one phone that only calls 911 is because a nicer cop had told us that was good enough, least he had something in case of an emergency. I'm burned out, if I miss anything, feel free to let me know and I'll gladly clarify.
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Limiting access to a phone in general can be considered abuse. There is nothing that I know of that states it needs to be a cell phone. Could he get a landline? If not, you could sign him up for a free government cellphone or better yet, ask the doctor to order a social worker and they can do the footwork.
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Joshua317 Nov 13, 2018
That's a good freakin idea, did not think of that. Might do that.
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I’m surprised that 911 don’t have a system to screen for repeated nuisance calls, but not surprised that the police would just love you to give granddad a new cell phone and solve their problem. Could you change the ‘emergency’ number he can reach? I presume a family number isn’t possible. Perhaps if you call APS and explain, they could take the calls. They should have more expertise to work out if it is an actual emergency. But surely your parents should be sorting out the problem!
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pamzimmrrt Nov 13, 2018
A new cell phone will not solve the problem,, 911 is still 911 no matter what phone is used! And there is no law that says everyone is entitled to a cell phone Joshua. So if he has a landline you should be off the hook. BTW, is the elder your Dad? Not sure from your post?
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Why would the cops expect you to pay for his phone?  I'd advise stepping out of it - he is your parents' responsibility. Can you suggest the cops talk to whoever has his POA?
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shad250 Nov 14, 2018
Mom is probably POA
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