Is this elder abuse? - AgingCare.com

Is this elder abuse?

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My mother in law is on hospice, dying of pulmonary fibrosis. Her caregiver is her live in boyfriend, they own a home together but never married. He does not have a LPOA but has taken it upon himself to make medical decisions for her. He has told me that he refuses to give her morphine to control her shortness of breath because it is going to kill here. He thinks hospice speeds up the dying process. She has been having a lot of rough nights because that is when her breathing gets really bad. He will not give her anything in the comfort care pack hospice brought, he will not give her a breathing treatment with the nebulizer either. He told me the other day that he had told other family members he threw the meds away but that he really has them stored away in another room. I don’t know if any of that is true, last I saw the meds were in her fridge but that was over a week ago. I have suggested doing certain things and buying certain equipment to help make her more comfortable and life easier but he says no to everything. He has said they don’t need hospice. she is bedridden now and when the home health aid came this week it was discovered that she is covered in bed sores. I don’t think he is asking her anything or explaining anything to her. She is awake and mostly alert I really don’t know if hospice explained the comfort care pack to her and when to use it. He did say that he gave her a small drop of morphine and it “made her head explode”. He firmly believes that the morphine is there for no reason other than to kill her. It seems to me she is suffering because he will not treat her symptoms. She is on 16liters oxygen. Does this sound like elder abuse and should I report him? I am sorry if this posts twice, I tried posting this a minute ago and I don’t think it worked.

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Worried, thanks so much for news of the developments. We learn from each other here.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Thanks for the update. It's heartwarming to learn that so much progress has been made!
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Hi all, thanks again for the responses & support! I do have an update. My husband talked to his mother and she does not want the morphine (yet). She is ok, she has no complaints and her spirit is good. Her coughing has pretty much stopped and she is sleeping better at night, and I believe it is because her digestive system has shut down or is in the process of shutting down. She lost her appetite 3 weeks ago but would eat small amounts. As of this week she is no longer eating solid food, she is drinking water, a little broth and ensure but not much. She drinks at most 8oz fluid a day. Her last bowel movement was 3+ days ago and her urine is dark so it appears Her digestive system is shutting down if it hasn’t already and that is why her cough has subsided. The big development is that her partner admitted he failed, he can not properly care for her so he has turned things over to the hospice workers. He also admitted that in the beginning he did not want hospice there. Which I knew because he told me in multiple ways that he believed they were there to kill her. He claims he understands now and that he was wrong about that. There has been a huge change this week and the hospice workers will be coming often to clean MIL and tend to her and whatever else is needed. I think when the home health aid found the bedsores, he knew it screamed neglect and that it would be reported by the aid, because this isn’t his first rodeo. I still do not trust him one bit but my husband was present during the conversation yesterday so he is well aware of the change in his moms boyfriends attitude and how MIL is being cared for. I have not made any phone calls yet. We will be at MILs this weekend and as long as we can see that she is being properly cared for, we won’t do anything as far as her boyfriend is concerned, but if anything else happens or he makes any other disturbing comments, I will be calling APS immediately.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Ditto.... some sort of con man at the least.... good advice here; good that you're using it!
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Reply to mally1
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Thanks so much for the update; it offers some comfort and shows that you're really on top of the situation.

Just a comment on a restraining order; the bed sores might be a factor, as well as refusing to administer medicine (morphine) she needs, might be the basis for a health based injunction against him, to remove him from the home regardless of how it's titled.

I think it would the same principle police use to remove a wife batterer, which in some ways he is.

I'm not really sure how the survivor's rights come into play, but if he's abusing her, which I believe he is, I would think a criminal action would trump any of his rights just as it would in a battering situation. He may not be hitting her, but he's still an abuser.

Good luck; I wish you well.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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The only account he has access to is the joint checking account and there is concern over that but it’s secondary to the elder abuse. The other accounts are in her name only and we know for sure they are still in her name and he does not have access. He cannot take over he accounts without her going into the bank with him and she is physically unable to do so! I don’t think he would even try because she has left everything to her children. I don’t want to say too much because I worry family will somehow find this but he knows better than to try anything because of a certain family members job.

I never considered that he might be hoarding the morphine, like I said I had seen the comfort care pack in the fridge 1-2 weeks ago and then the other day he said he told my BIL and SIL he threw it away. Based on everything he has said to me, he has me convinced he is trying to prolong her life. If he wanted her dead, he could have administered a fatal dose of morphine and no one would ever know.

I have not seen the bed sores, apparently they are on her tailbone. My husband was present when he told me this information. I believe it is illegal to record someone without their permission in CA but I have decided to keep a tape recorder on myself every time I am in his presence so I can record what he says. Because it is his word against mine and you are absolutely right, he is a smooth talker. It is my understanding that she wasn’t really receiving actual care from hospice until very recently. So I can’t say for sure that they dropped the ball. I think he has probably declined most of their help but now that MIL is bedridden, their help is necessary and that’s why the home health aid is coming 3 times a week.

With his former wife, he told me he pushed everyone away when she was dying-her family, his family even their 2 children. I expected him to try to do the same with MIL when we got the news she had PF and months left to live but he knows better, he knows her kids would not tolerate it, that he would never get away with it. He did tell me that When MIL passes it will be just him and her in the room, he doesn’t want spectators. But that’s ultimately not his decision although he can certainly arrange it by not telling us if and when she takes a turn for the worse.

I will you all updated! I am going to call the hospice social worker. I took down her name the other day, as well as the name of the case manager. I know they won’t give me any information so I plan to just call and state my concerns and ask how they can address it or what we need to do. Will also contact a friend at the police department to see if they will get involved or if we need to go through hospice and APS first. I suspect we would need a restraining order to get him out of the house. They co-own it, it’s paid but it’s been signed over to the living trust and he has survivors rights he can stay there until he dies and then it goes to his kids and MILs kids.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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After reading both your posts and the comments, I agree with CeeCee and especially with Veronica. But I think I would call the police now, even before you go over if you still feel it necessary to even do that. Or let the police know you're going over and ask that they refrain from any indication that you've called them. I have a feeling this man could be violent.

I would question only one thing though, and that's that you have no proof of what he's told you. I assume though that you've seen her, and seen the bedsores? And if I understand correctly, the Hospice staff confirmed this, or advised you? (I have trouble following long paragraphs w/o breaks, so I keep losing my place!).

My concern is that when (not "if") you call the police, that they see the abuse. It sounds like he is in fact a smooth talker, and I would be concerned about calling the police w/o evidence.

If you've seen enough evidence, then I would call the police now and get the ball rolling. But I'd also contact hospice and advise them that the police have been contacted, and that they should have reported the bedsore situation as neglect and/or abuse. I think they haven't performed their duties as well as they should have, i.e., they screwed up.

I'm a bit concerned that the police might turn to you and ask why this situation hasn't been reported before, so be prepared to address that.

With someone who needs 16 L of oxygen, I honestly don't know how she's managed to survive thus far. And given that need as well as his arrogant assumption of his apparently superior (in his mind) knowledge, I expect he wouldn't take her to the hospital when that need increases. This poor woman needs intervention now to ease her remaining days, especially with all the bedsores.

She needs to be out of there ASAP.

Given that this is the second time he's meddled in someone's life, and that his first wife's death certificate shows suicide, and that he's been investigated before, I think I would consider him a black widow live-in BF.

This man's unauthorized takeover of her, w/o any legal authority, his lack of proper care, his former wife's abuse - these actions make me wonder if in fact he's a serial killer. Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic, but something is obviously wrong with someone who behaves in the manner he's demonstrated.

And at this point I would suppress any concern about your husband's stress in learning about the situation in the middle of the week. He needs to know, and ASAP. But don't blame yourself for not raising the issue; you've done so now.

I think you might raise the issue with the police though of asking about the status of her financial accounts. It wouldn't surprise me if he's forged documents to take over what funds she has.

Please let us know what happens after the police remove her, AND advise the hospital to prevent him from seeing her. He absolutely needs to be denied any further access, and the locks needs to be changed ASAP. He can always remove his belongings with presence of the police and/or sheriff.
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Thank you! She is sleeping upright in a hospital bed. And about the hospital bed-when hospice came the first day, they offered a hospital bed and he told them NO without asking my MIL! I don’t know what transpired after that but 3 days later they brought a hospital bed at her request! I don’t believe what he told me about his former wife and the death certificate, I have never trusted him, he tells stories and we’ve caught him in lies Time after time. The story just didn’t sit well with me. As far as a DNR, I believe there is an actual form she has to fill out right? She just got all her affairs in order and had a living trust, living will and medical POA prepared by an attorney and on the medical POA she initialed that she does NOT want to be resuscitated. I’ve given given conflicting information on that—some have said it’s not a DNR and that a DNR is a yellow form she gets from the doctor? If there is another form she has signed, we are unware of it. When I asked her boyfriend about a DNR he said “we are going to keep her alive as long as possible”. My husband is well aware of his mother’s wishes and will carry them out. She does not want to prolong life and she initialed that line on the form provided by the attorney.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Is the BF hoarding the morphine, for that last "suicide" dose?

Report that.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Oh yes, do call in the authorities, let your husband know that i f he won't, you will.
Then, take a step back, a safe distance.

Or, just have him transport his Mother to the hospital, making your complaints there.

Follow Veronica's advice.
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