My mother in law with dementia (lives in a nursing home) claims she was raped, but the details are delusional. What do I do? (Graphic) - AgingCare.com

My mother in law with dementia (lives in a nursing home) claims she was raped, but the details are delusional. What do I do? (Graphic)

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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!

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I read a bit about dubious consent and cognitive decline.
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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.
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Meallen, that’s so helpful! Thank you for looking it up. I’ll look into that a bit more.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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?
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