Is my mother being sexually harassed in her personnel care unit? - AgingCare.com

Is my mother being sexually harassed in her personnel care unit?

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What is reasonable behavior of the Administration? How has anyone dealt wityMother went through a period of being scared. She was having nightmares. She told me that she had thoughts she didn't understand. She has a visual hallucination of a man in her closet and a hand coming out of the closet and grabbing the door. Just prior to this mild hysteria, the maintenance man had me wondering about what was going on. He stopped at Mother's door and in a very seductive manner asked her if there was anything she wanted to talk about. I stepped forward so he could see she wasn't alone. He left the doorway. I fault myself for not speaking up then. I was floored and took it as a sign I should watch closely what was going on in Mother's life in PC. Mother's fear and anxiety kicked in big time. She had visual hallucinations. She was having nightmares of a man in her closet. She told me she was scared and nervous. All she wanted to do was sleep. She was withdrawing. Then, one morning I noticed the clock in Mom's room was fixed. Mom told me, "last night the maintenance man was here."There was also a small yogurt container that someone had placed next to her bed. We talked. She made no accusations but she wouldn't. She has always covered up any inappropriate behaviors. I told a RN in PC of Mother being frightened and scared and described how the maintenance man was being inappropriate. He was called to the nurses station. On the way he passed Mother's apartment singing love songs in a loud tone. He stopped by the apartment on the way back. He told two lies. He said he never asked her is she wanted to talk to him. He said he stopped by her apartment in the morning before i got there and fixed her TV and clock. The TV had been fixed the week before. Mother had gotten out of her nightmares and fears since he had been staying away from her. We have no assurances from the facility. She continues to improve. He should have been talked to that he is not a counselor at the facility and that he should stay away from my Mother. Something should be placed in his file that we complained s that other vulnerable grandmas are not approached inappropriately. Yesterday was her best day since last year when she started to decline. I am left disappointed that no one at the facility was equipped to deal with this with more compassion and interest. Also I called the Rape Crises Center and did research on the internet. Sexual harassment in Senior facilities and the senior population does not have the advocates of the younger population. When I made a call to the Rape Crises Center I was told I would be called back. I wish there would be programs through the Rape Crises Center for seniors as there was/is for children and the younger population. There isn't much that I could find except that this is lacking. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Are you saying that you think your mother was raped?

I would report your suspicions to the Ombudsman. I would specifically ask the care home ( and make sure the Ombudsman verifies) that the maintenance man has had a background check.
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While it is possible that your parent is being harassed, I would be certain before I made any accusations against anyone. You could ruin someone's life and I'm sure that isn't your intention. A Nanny cam would be perfect! It could be your parents illness manifesting itself, or it really could be she's being harassed. Please, before you make any accusations, have proof!
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I was an Ombudsman Staff for over 17 years. I worked with the State when there were allegations of abuse to assess the resident for trauma and provide victim services for the resident to help them through the trauma. One sign we always looked for when working with the residents suffering from trauma was new behaviors. You said that your loved one was suffering from hallucinations and was having nightmares. Is this a new behavior? If so it would be a red flag. If she always suffered from hallucinations and nightmares then this would not be an indicator of abuse. I would definitely call the Elderly Abuse and Neglect Hotline and let them come in and do an independent investigation.
Listen very closely to everything you mom tells you. Residents even those with dementia will sometimes give you clues as to what happened. I had a resident tell me once that she was tired of being married. I knew this resident was a widow and lost her husband over 20 years ago, so I asked her what being married meant to her. She told me that she did not want the man to come and get in bed with her anymore she wanted a divorce. Upon investigation it was found that a male staff person told her they were married so he could have sex with her. So listen very closely to what she tells you and use probing questions when appropriate!
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Lu, I think you are burning out from being there all day every day. Burnout includes exhaustion, irritability and paranoia and panic attacks. You are showing all of that. Please see your MD as soon as possible. You are very close to being banned from the facility and possibly admitted for a psychiatric evaluation against your will.
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Lots of good input here. That said, unless there is proof of something of this nature occurring, let me tell you a story of the kinds of hallucinations my mother has and talks about. She actually called and spoke with my husband one morning when I wasn't here to say that "the aide had come in to turn off her emergency (pendant) alarm because the baby was coming." My husband gently explained that there were no babies residing in her community and asked if she understood this. After his gentle coaxing, she admitted that of course that must be right but then why did the aide say this to her? We have come to the conclusion with most of these things that she was probably dreaming and in her advanced state of dementia cannot tell the difference readily between her sleep and waking from a dream state. Oh, and she ALWAYS says that someone must be coming into her room in the middle of the night and eating/stealing her candy (from the zippered bag that she keeps squired away) and which I replenish regularly (somehow she hasn't developed diabetes from this addiction). So, bottom line - you should do your due diligence to confirm that she is, indeed, hallucinating, or not, and take the appropriate action whatever that may be. Sending lots of hugs and good luck!
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Flirting with the female residents and acting like their fantasy boyfriend is not abusive in my opinion, some residents may find it distasteful but others may actually be thrilled with the game. You mention your mother having hallucinations of a menacing man. I don't see any reason to assume her hallucinations were triggered by anything in reality, hallucinations are like dreams, symbolic and inexplicable, I think you are seeking a rational explanation for an irrational event. I wonder if there is a history of abuse in your/your mother's past that you see red flags? I'm glad she if feeling safer now!
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This is common in the elderly, not in the general population
.
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Your first question was "What is reasonable behavior of the Administration?"

I would think an immediate investigation would be the minimum. I would hope that they would attempt to identify the veracity of her complaint, identify other potential victims and install safety measures to ensure that a) this can't happen in their facility and b) they can prove it doesn't happen and thereby safeguard the employees from accusations. I am thinking that video cameras would be a good start.
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Confabulation can be so powerful that, according to Teepa Snow, people with dementia have passed lie detector tests while lying because they truly believe their story to be true.
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You do not say why mom is in a care facility. Does she have dementia? If so, you might want to be very careful in interpreting what your mom is saying and experiencing. In my experience, hallucinations or delusions are very common. My grandmother believed that the people on the television were in her room and speaking directly to her at times. She also told me often that her mother visited her at night but didn't have much to say!

Or, perhaps, mom is on a medication that could be causing her to hallucinate. Even meds to help a person sleep can cause odd dreams.

On the other hand, perhaps moving mom to another facility is long past overdue. I believe you said that this hallucination started a year ago? If you truly believe that your mom has been the victim of sexual harassment, and the administration has not addressed your concern, then leaving mom in that situation makes no sense. Also, your ombudsman, who is a resident advocate, is a phone call away. They are there to mediate and be an unbiased advocate for the residents. What is holding you back?
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