My Mom accused me of beating her so the hospital called APS. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mom accused me of beating her so the hospital called APS. Any advice?

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Devastated! I quit a well paying job 4 1/2 years ago to be the caregiver for my mom. I did not want to put her in a nursing home. She has had 2 strokes. The 2nd stroke which was 4 1/2 years ago effected the area of her brain for thought process and what she says. While in the hospital 12-10-13 my sister asked "Mom how are you feeling"? My mom says not good. She said I threw her out of bed,,,broke her wooden leg (which she does not have) and beat her. The nurse was in the doorway getting her medications ready. I heard the nurse say my license is attached to that. I advised her 4 years ago my Mom said the same thing and it was to be documented on her chart. I thought nothing more of it. 3 days later I was advised Adult Protective Services was called but to not worry everything was ok. The lady came to the house and of course all things were fine regarding my mom and the care I give her. What is not fine is this will stay with Adult Protective Services for six months regardless of being innocent or guilty. My moms primary care physician even said 4 1/2 yrs ago if your mom knew what she was saying she would be mortified. I am devastated beyond belief that the hospital called them when all the drs there and nurses said how lucky my mom is to have me as her caregiver. I gave up everything 4 1/2 years ago and I do not have any income whatsoever. My reward is still having my mom around and knowing the care I give her is better than any nursing home or assisted living facility could. There are visisiting nurses,,,physical therapy, and occupational therapy coming to the house 3 days a week. They said how well I do with my mom. I know its the hospital getting back at me because I am very very proactive in my mothers care and I will not let anything happen to her. Someone please please help me on what I can do about this false accusation. As I say I am devastated and this happened 2 1/2 months ago. My mother was interviewed and told them how well I take care of her and what were they doing. It makes me sick to my stomach now as I type this out thinking about APS being called on me. Thank You for letting me vent!

Joanie

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Joanie - if an elder states they have been abused and if it gets reported, then, APS has no choice but to do an investigation. It is required to be done. It is not personal but required by law. It is an investigation or inquiry not an accusation. If it was an accusation, you would be removed from the home or mom would be removed and placed into a facility till APS investigation is completed.

But I think you have to take a realistic look at the situation with mom. The type of things your mom is doing or saying are only going to increase as her dementia goes into advanced stages. Based on what you've said, your mom has fixated that you (in her subconscious) is what is the cause of her problems. She needs to find a reason as to why she can't remember or do things, and it just can't be her fault so it must be the fault of somebody….and that somebody is you. The next phase is going to be a constant litany from her that you have been stealing from her, you deliberately forced her to do things, you are poisoning her food, etc.

If she has an audience on this, then you are going to likely find yourself again being questioned on your actions. You already have a prior APS history. If she tells the PT or OT that you are keeping her from her exercise bands or you made her do things that hurt, they have not choice but to notate that in their file &/or tell their supervisor and then you'll likely get another visit from APS.

it sounds like you have closed out a lot of your own personal life to move in with mom and take care of her. So 4 1/2 years ago after mom's stroke, she could have gone into a NH but you decided you could care better for her, is that right?

Your statement that you have no money or income on your own is very worrisome for 2 reasons:
1. it's a red-flag for APS for a caregiver as you are using mom's funds for yourself. If you really have no $$, just how do you buy yourself a new pair of pants or get a hair cut? It comes from mom and her $ is to be used by her for her & her needs. If APS contacts SS on this, you will have to do the paperwork and reporting to be mom's representative payee. Mom should be paying you for your caregiving - mom has some income, she has SS and maybe other retirement. How you do this is for mom & you to go see an elder law attorney to do a personal services contract between you & her in which she pays you for caregiving. This is totally legit and provides you with legal income and builds your own SS kitty too. If you were to get a zealous APS officer, they could request mom become a temporary ward of the state as on the face of things you with no income are taking financial advantage of an elder and you have previous APS investigations.
2. realistically the elder does not get better, their dementia gets worse and if they have other chronic diseases then the level of care they need cannot be provided for at home. They will need skilled nursing care which means being in a facility. So if & when that day comes, what do you do? Do you have a home on your own? What is your plan for your future needs? When they go into a facility on Medicaid, they have to be impoverished so any of mom's excess funds will have to be spent-down. Unless your mom is wealthy, she will run out of money to pay for her care and she will need to apply for Medicaid. Mom's monthly income will be required to be a co-pay by her to the facility so there will be none of mom's $ to pay for anything anymore. But even if mom stays @ home, eventually she will die and her SS stops. What happens then to you? How are you going to manage your own aging?
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Joanie this is NOT the hospital getting at you for being overprotective and creating more work for them. Honestly, I promise you, it isn't. I'm sure it feels like that, I'm sure it's upsetting and feels incredibly unfair; but what this really is is a Kafkaesque situation.

NOBODY really imagines you - what was it? Pushed her out of bed and beat her with her own wooden leg that she hasn't got anyway? Of course not. Your record of first class caregiving is intact.

But what has happened is that an allegation has come from a technically valid source and it must be attended to. The six month supervision horseshit is part of that proper attention. It's an automated process, and once it's begun it has to run its course.

Try not to let it get to you. Above all try not to let it affect the way you so lovingly look after your mother. Remember that everyone knows it's hooey.

If you'll find it any consolation, you could pause to reflect on why this blunt instrument weapon needs to exist. What happens to little old ladies with dementia whose 'caregiving' children are actually grasping, nasty little shits who do neglect and torment their vulnerable elders? What happens to these people if nobody listens to a word they say? Or if the process can be brushed aside after a cosy little chat?

I wouldn't be any happier than you are if I had social workers standing over me with a check list and popping by whenever they felt like it. I too would be tearing my hair out with frustration, and feeling there must be some way to nip an OBVIOUSLY baseless allegation in the bud. But… The process is necessary. Not for your mother, not for mine (I hope!), but for too many others. I'd rather the authorities did err on the safe side.
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This example is the very reason why mom has to be declared incompetent and placed in an appropriate facility. The nurse is not getting back at you, she is a "mandated reporter" meaning she could lose her license if she did nothing. You need to protect your health and reputation FIRST. Caregiving puts YOU at more risk than ever. If you keep going like this, you might end up in jail and she will be in a psych ward anyway. Certainly we want to care for mom, but the boundary has been crossed, you are no longer safe. Give her up.
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Joanie,

I feel your pain, and can honestly say, count your blessings. There are people out here that are going through what you're going through, or worse, like myself. There are several talking heads in here, but unless you've been through it, you never really can understand the sense of helplessness, and shame this can cause you, and the implications of such accusations. I myself, and adult male of 52 years was a full time caregiver of my Mother for the last 10 years. She suffered a few mini strokes through the last 5 years, and many people believe there were more. Her claim to defame was she was being tied up, as last summer she was upset that I shortened her 50' oxygen line, so she couldn't use that one to move about in the back of the house with, but instead to use the portable one in her walker, as the 50' one was getting tangled around her ankles. Well this was the beginning of the end for me, as a few days later she left the home while I was in the shower, and was in the street telling neighbors that I was tying her up. Last Sept, while i was asleep, the police were called by a man that was walking in front of our home, and I was arrested, and charged with battery, as she told police that I was tying her up. Now, I have a protective order for 2 years, and they want to take my home that she signed over to me last year as well. I haven't seen mom in 6 months, and I'm absolutely a emotional, and physical wreck, and wonder if I'll ever see her again, and be living in a box soon. So there is optimism in your case, and feel good it didn't get to where my situation is. There is a great resolution for you in your case. I fee your pain, and beyond.
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Sweety, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I have been there too but it is with my MIL. And my mother in law has all her faculties. Shes just a narcissistic, mean person, always has been, and thought she could get some attention. I have been her caregiver for 14 years. She actually told a visiting nurse that she needed help, that no one fed her (she weighs 250 lbs.), no one would help her bathe ( she chooses not to bathe), anything she could think of. Yes, by the law the nurse had to report it. And when they came out to the house, talked to me, talked to her, and checked out the house they saw everything was fine. The social worker even apologized to me. But even though, that still sticks with me. The main reason my mil did this is because I will not put up with her bs and I wont kiss her butt. So hun, I know exactly what your feeling but it gets easier and as caregivers, we just keep keepin on lol Good Luck hun!!!!!!!
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I, too, was very protective of my Mother. It got me no where. She just became more dependent on being cared for. At some point, I had to relax my grip and let the NH do it's job.

I agree that the nurse had to report you. That is the law.

After seeing how much my mother's life has improved in the NH, I feel that trying to care for someone 24/7, is the wrong way to go. Giving up my job, certainly would be - then, I would be a burden to my own kids, at some point.
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Joanie, take a deep breath and calm down! You have been cleared, the record at APS will reflect their findings and this is confidential information which only the police can obtain. I know because I worked as a case mgr. for Child Protective Services in AZ, and APS works the same way. The privacy act has changed a lot about accusations and one has a "duty" to your mother to just check out her story. It would be a legal issue with the hospital and nurse's licenses if they did not investigate. So continue the excellent care you are giving, know that when one has dementia all kinds of wrong things come out of that person's mouth, and you just have to learn to deal with it, and let those words roll off your back. You are not in jail, your mother is home with you, and the record stays for another 3 1/2 months. So what? Get on with living. Don't sweat the small stuff! You both will be fine. Just love her until her passing...
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STEP I: WE DONT CARE ABOUT THE FANTASTIC CAREGIVER STORY YOU MIGHT TELL US.
That might be the attitude of protective services. Thus, protect yourself from any misunderstanding by declaring her incompetent and enjoy peace af least

STEP II: CALM DOWN AND GATHER EVIDENCE supporting your story. Protective services always rule to side of caution so she would have the benefit of the doubt before you; and you might have to proof she is wrong.

DON'T GET ANGRY - BE PATIENT. Some old people are more difficult to deal with than teenagers. Once a younger cousin threatened to accuse her mom of child abuse because she does not let her hangout until late with friends.. The mom's response was, go ahead a call them but I just let you know that I would not fight for you if you are sent to a foster home. Reason won. Sadly, with old folks sometimes does not work.
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I have been a mandated reporter in the 20 years I worked in mental health until I retired to take care of my Dad. I have reported, and sadly, been reported. It feels really bad to have your care questioned. It is very frightening to have your career threatened. I was cleared by investigation, which was good. Outside presumably neutral professionals declared it so, and there was an end to this.

As a reporter, I have had to report situations that I felt were probably not actually abuse. I also reported situations where the abused individual would have had no one else on their side. I was relieved to be a "mandated" reporter, and felt assured that all individuals might get help.

The out come of your latest investigation may end up with you getting some in home assistance, for example in bathing your mom. This would provided in home eyes to support you as well. See an elder attorney to iron out the legal side of your situation.

I worry as well, that if I had to return to work, would I be so far behind in every new change, could I get a decent job? I think having some fixed idea about what your mother's financial status is in connection to yours would help you plan ahead.

I believe that when we feel under attack, we have a tendency to assume the worst. Seek a financial professional about the house, Power of Financial Attorney and whether you need another third party to do that record keeping.

The process is crazy making, but trust in that process. The investigators have seen it all. Good Luck with all of this. Remind yourself that you have done the right things, and no matter what, you will feel honor when you examine the care you have provided.
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IT's true-- we could start a whole new thread on the difficulty of proper note-taking and record keeping. Very hard to stay organized enough to document everything -- but the professional caretakers I have met (earning $60 to $100 an hour) manage to do it.
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