Follow
Share

She says that she was in a fog when it happened...drugged maybe. She claims that she and “the girls” at the nursing home went to a party in a black car to a hotel, where a man with gray hair raped her on the bed. She claims she’s been to other parties before in recent months, like a wedding, and met a different guy that she’s interested in.

She says she walked out of the nursing home willingly (she can walk, but is generally in a wheelchair with an alarm, and uses a walker limitedly), and walked back in. She’s very graphic when she describes the man’s genitalia, giggling about how large it was, and showing us with her hands.

We have noticed that she has been losing her filter in recent months when it comes to sexual conversation. She claims to be “boy crazy.” She has also mentioned how cute the investigators who came to interview her about the rape allegation were, and hopes that they come back to visit her.

Still, we feel the responsibility to take the allegation seriously. Just because she may have details confused, doesn’t mean something might not have happened. We called the police and they came an interviewed her. She kept changing the fantastical story, but one detail she insisted on and still insists on, is that she was raped. She said she “knows what it feels like.”

We contacted the social services Ombudsman (she’s a Medicaid patient) and they also interviewed her, and did an outer examination of her body, which was fine. She has refused an internal exam, and we don’t want to put her through one if it’s not necessary, because we’ve heard it’s very invasive and could be traumatic.

My husband thinks it didn’t happen. He has two sisters, one is convinced it DID happen, and the other is leaning toward not, but still wants to do due diligence. My husband and I agree. That sister is going to meet with the nursing home administration tomorrow.

The one strange thing (if it’s all not strange already), is that the hospital administrator told my husband’s sister who is going to meet with them, that the first they knew of the allegation was when the police detectives showed up. I know this is inaccurate, because the other sister called me right after her mother told her what happened, and she said she told the nurse manager immediately, which was in the afternoon. The police showed up in the evening. Why would they lie about this?

Has anyone dealt with a rape allegation from a parent with dementia in a nursing home? Is there anything I should tell my husband’s sister to ask/request going into her meeting? Is there any other information that might be useful to us in this circumstance?

My secondary concern is that if something did not happen, that the sister who is convinced it did, might raise such a stink that the nursing home would kick her mother out. There isn’t a better nursing home in the area. My mother-in-law is there as a Medicaid patient. Can they kick her out?

Thanks in advance for your replies!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I read a bit about dubious consent and cognitive decline.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

As an aside, consensual Sexuality in NH is still a taboo subject by & large. I’d imagine that for staff at any facility from IL to AL to NH, know that there’s activity going on & try to ignore it. Family often cannot believe that grandpa is actually quite the old rooster or mom sleeps around.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Meallen, that’s so helpful! Thank you for looking it up. I’ll look into that a bit more.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks, Hugemom, for sharing your experience and extending your support. It must have been an extremely challenging experience for you, and I return my empathy for what you, your mom, and your family went through.

I’m so glad the nursing home allowed your mom to stay after such a rough introduction. We’re hoping that we can handle this in a way that supports my MIL’s physical and mental safety, while maintaining a positive relationship with the home. My husband and I live several hours away, so it’s difficult to be there all the time, but his sisters are in the area. If only they could get along and trusted each other, things could go much more smoothly. Poor family dynamics just makes handling these kinds of serious concerns that much more difficult.

Thanks again, and peace and positive thoughts right back at you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks, Dorianne. We are trying not to let on to her about our doubts, and pursuing the matter as if it is real. We feel we owe it to her to take it seriously, and whether we ever have definitive proof or not, get her whatever support she needs to cope. I appreciate you sharing your perspective!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I did a little googling. I think you may have to live with never being 100% certain. Apparently some families use hidden camera in the room, just in case. It turns out that even in cases of rape and abuse, it is very hard to get a conviction.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When my mom was admitted to the NH, she was already in mid- stage dementia. Within 2 days, she accused a man of grabbing her breast and backside. She said she was taken “downstairs to a beer hall where a bunch of men were playing cards and drinking”. The DON came in immediately and she was examined. She was furious with the DON and sarcastically thanked her for humiliating her. There were cameras in the public rooms of the NH and tapes were reviewed. Her accusations proved totally groundless. She continued making them until she became combative any time another resident came toward her. I was very lucky she wasn’t asked to leave. She was watched over and eventually given her own room even though she was on Medicaid. Reports were sent to any agency that required them about the alleged incident. This was how my mother was introduced to the facility.

Over the 4 years she was there, my mother was consumed by thoughts of sex. Every person in the facility was having sex with everyone else in every place imaginable, including INSIDE her bed UNDER the mattress. Staff was sleeping with patients. A boy rode his bike down the “streets” outside her room and stole her underwear to parade around with it. While I was growing up in the fifties and sixties, my mother was a prude. I honestly don’t know how I was conceived. I will always wonder, but don’t really want to know, whatever happened to my mom, if anything, in her life to cause this obsession with sex in her demented years.

Rapes and abuse do happen in nursing homes. Just once is too many times. But I feel that because of so much social media exposure of EVERYTHING nowadays, all nursing homes get a bad rap. We are told to be suspicious of every word and every movement of staff and residents at every facility. I am aware that we are their advocates and guardians, not to mention their protectors and their voices. But, in my mom’s case, I would have had to fit her with a GoPro. “People” stole from her, broke her things, hid in her closet, came through her walls...it was pathetic and still breaks my heart. But I visited the facility often, came to know their procedures and staff and came to trust them over the time she was there.

I am sending you peace and positive thoughts while you deal with this. I understand how you feel.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

It is possible for both things to be true, and that she is just mixing up incidents. It's possible she was assaulted, or nearly assaulted, after going to a hotel when she was younger, and it's possible she was assaulted on her bed in the NH.

Sometimes multiple rape victims are triggered into having flashbacks during the actual rape - so she could even have been re-experiencing an old assault as flashbacks DURING a recent assault. Alternatively, she could be having flashbacks to multiple assaults after the fact, which are coming to her all together in a jumble. With dementia at play, it's hard to imagine she would be able to sort out which parts might have happened recently and which parts were flashbacks.

Rape in NHs is more of a problem than anyone ever wants to admit to. Most of the time older people are not believed because of their confusion, and it's very hard to prosecute because of that.

Sometimes what rape victims need is to just be believed, to have someone say, "I believe you."
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks, Sue888. I’m quite sure that her version of how things happened is delusional, but I still wonder if something did happen, but just not the way she’s remembering.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Years ago my grandmother was in catholic nursing home run by nuns. She swore that the orderly took her one night to a barn and raped her. Since she had been making up so many stories we ignored her. When we didn't make a big deal about it she soon forgot about it.
I would think if a sick individual was going to rape a vulnerable, elderly woman that he would do it at the facility and wouldn't go through the trouble of taking her off the property to a hotel. Also, if there were other residents involved wouldn't they have said something?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks, talkey. I will look out for it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks, meallen. It’s so difficult, dealing with the family dynamic on top of this already confusing and sensitive situation. I really wish we could have just gotten her some kind of exam, so we could know one way or the other. We’re going to get a copy of the police report, and hope that sheds some light on things.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Drowning, I'm sending you a PM about my experience.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I can't comment on paranoia, directly, but I am not surprised that you are confused, worried, anxious and have no idea what to expect next.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks igloo, this is very helpful!

It is my understanding that the nursing home does have its own geriatric psych, and that they have been wanting to do an evaluation. So, if they wanted to evict her based on noncompliance, I think they probably would have already. My husband’s sister who believes their mother, is the one who has medical proxy. My husband has durable POA. His sister decided she didn’t want the in-house psych to evaluate their mother, but her own. I believe this has just happened, or is going to happen shortly.

There is conflict in the family, especially between the two sisters, but they are trying to work together on this, though not very well. The sister who believes their mother, is seen as a difficult person by the nursing home, and they would like to be dealing mainly with the other sister. The other sister is the one who has the meeting set up tomorrow. My husband wants to help, but doesn’t know how and is sort of caught between the two sisters. He got the POA because he handles the paperwork, with my help, and gets serious anxiety from these kinds of situations.

I’m not sure that the difficult sister won’t get their mom kicked out, because she’s been wanting to get her out of there anyway for a while. It’s a complicated story. You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you all the sordid details. She’s very sick and disabled herself...has spent some time in nursing homes. Burned bridges all over the place. This place has a really good reputation, though, and is far better than a lot of places in the area. Still, nobody wants my MIL to be in any danger.

Is it possible that the nursing home wants their own person to do an evaluation, to help them find justification to evict her? If they do evict, will they help us find another place that will meet her needs? There's no way we can bring her home. The difficult sister makes me paranoid about the whole thing whenever I talk to her. Is it healthy paranoia, or unreasonable? I’m so confused.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

MeAllen - good catch on her having an incident in the past. All those in-denial filters breakdown as dementia seeps in.

Drowning - I’d suggest that whomever is MILs dpoa / mpoa send a letter to the DON (director of nursing) to ask for a care plan meeting for mom. In the letter do a brief recap of the concerns with dates and ask DON to extend attendance to whomever she determines also needs to be there. As an aside on this, in my experience the DON is the power center for a NH; I’d leave it up to her to request to other staff that they need to be at meeting. All family to attend and somebody gets a full copy of the police report and distributes copies to all. There needs to a firm plan as to how to deal with the existing situation and what to be done if a claim of rape were to happen again. If part of the care plan is mil has to do a rape kit, then it’s going to need to happen or she will be viewed as non-compliant for care.

Police being called again to the NH will be a real issue for the NH.

NH can - if need be - find reasons like “we cannot provide the level of care needed” to send a 30 Day Notice on a resident. Resident expressing rape fantasies may need a geriatric psych evaluation and a care plan determined. That is something to be discussed at the meeting. This NH may not have a system to do psych evaluation so MIL will need to move to one that does.

If you could let us know what happens. Thanks.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks Sue!

It was actually my sister-in-law who told the nurse manager, what her mother had told her. My SIL said, after she got off the phone with the nurse, she called her mother back. The nurse came in the room while they were on the phone, and they got off of the phone so her mother could talk to the nurse about it more.

It’s a bit confusing about my MIL’s emotional state surrounding the alleged incident. The SIL who believes her says that she was upset, and that she said she was still sore from it. The other SIL visited her the next day in the evening, and says she was serious about reporting it to her, but then would break out into laughter and cover her mouth like a giggling school-girl, and start talking salaciously about another (unknown) man who she has a crush on. She recorded the conversation, so I can verify it.

My husband went to see her the next day, and she brought it up, but he didn’t feel comfortable about having the conversation with her, so he changed the subject. She wasn’t crying about it, but she always cries when he is leaving and begs him to come back.

Then, she called us the next day, and brought it up as if she didn’t remember she had seen my husband the previous day. She was more concerned about talking about how cute the investigators were, and how she hoped they would come back.

She’s definitely different at different times of the day and depending on what meds she just got.

We were hoping she would get at least some kind of internal exam, even if not a full rape kit, but she was offered it by the police, and my SIL later offered to take her to the emergency room, but she kept refusing.

I’m thinking the frontal lobe dementia is the most likely scenario, but of course as you said, it’s not unlikely that something could have happened. My SIL asked her several times if she’s sure it didn’t happen in the nursing home, and she said emphatically that it did not- it was at a party that she got to in a black car, where she walked in and out.

Either way, whether it happened or not, she thinks it did, which is so troubling. We’re trying to get her support so she can move beyond it, one way or the other. I’ll tell my SIL to ask about cameras, so we can know who came and went.

Thanks for your kindness!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Warning: Graphic content

Dear DIL,
I'm so sorry that your family is going through this.

You can't dismiss even the craziest claims from a person that reports a physical violation. Sadly, there ARE cases of rape in NH's, mental health centers, day cares, half way houses, anywhere there are vulnerable people. It's also difficult, because of your mother's mental status, to conclude if your mom was physically violated or just believes she was.

It's good that you called police, told the nurse on duty, called the Ombudsman and the administration.

In my opinion, a visual check of your mother's perineum would not be sufficient to say one way or another. It's good there was no bruising or swelling, but the only way to really get to any evidence is by a doctor doing an internal exam. They still might not have any body fluid evidence (semen) as condoms are available everywhere. Only a doctor could say if there was trauma internally.
An old woman has very little lubricant inside the vagina anymore. It would be difficult performing the sex act without some form of lubrication. Without it, it would cause abrasions internally.

There is a "window" of time to be able to process a rape kit. If this was many days ago, your mother has passed that window and would not be a candidate for the exam.

Are there any cameras in the facility? Could all footage be checked to see if there could have been some problem?

I'm sure the nurse who was told dismissed the whole story as a confused resident telling a tale. It probably did NOT GET to the administration.
My 95 year old (stage 6 Alzheimer's) mom tells me occasionally that a "nasty man" tried to touch her. In her case I don't believe it's true. She's said it about the 1st and 2nd memory care facilities and also about my husband.

The fact that she admitted she's boy crazy, has an attraction to the male investigators, went to a party with her friends, how "ample" his privates were, etc. all sound like "feel good" emotions.

How did she describe the rape? Was she crying, visibly shaken, nervous, or having any emotion that any of US would have if we'd been raped? Was she cooperative with the Ombudsman checking her?
Has she complained of pain or itching "down there"?

You'll never really know but, because of her "pleasure" in describing everything up to the "rape", I'm going with frontal lobe dementia creating one doozie of a story.

Again, I'm sorry for your family.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Thanks meallen! I should have mentioned that she WAS the victim of an attempted sexual assault as a teenager, and we wondered if she was remembering that, but she was saved by someone who heard her and nothing actually happened (according to her.) Who knows what the real story is, but it would make sense if this was somehow part of it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I have 2 thoughts. The nurse manager may not have told the administrator right away, which I think was very negligent.

Sadly, your mother-in-law may have been raped in the past and this trauma is real, even if she wasn't raped in the nursing home.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter