Mr. Raymond was in his mid to late 70’s, when I started sitting with him. I was a nursing student at the time, and was about to finish up and get a new job.
So, I decided to go to an agency and grab me a few home health care gigs. I really enjoyed the time I spent caring for Mr. Raymond.
He had four grown children, and their hectic lifestyles didn’t afford them the time or energy to care for his needs. Mr. Raymond could get around like any other person younger than himself.
But his dementia was getting to a 3rd stage, so he was always forgetting things; simple stuff like brushing his teeth, remembering to eat and constantly falling.
His doctor was also worried about him being alone, and suddenly falling and killing himself. In addition to cooking alone and starting a fire.
So, there was a need for me as a home health aide, and many others to be with him around the clock. I only worked a 6 hours day, so the other 18 hours, his grand daughters and children took turns.
There were times when I would work 10 hours at a time, and it seemed to work out fine. I had extra money in my pocket and his kids took a break.
Then the unimaginable happened, I noticed that he was being abused. He had sores on his skin that shouldn’t been there.
And as a nursing student, I kept up with his charts. As a result, there was no indication of sores reported by the monthly visiting registered nurse.
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Then he kept trying to tell me about his wallet, but he couldn’t put his words together. I told him to calm down, I went into his room retrieved his wallet.
There was no money there, an old credit card and his medical cards, a picture of his deceased wife-that’s it. In addition to his wallet, a light bulb had popped on in my head.
Maybe he was telling me someone was stealing things out of his wallet? He was trying to defend himself and they attacked him.
So, who was it and why? I was terminated for getting too close to the truth.
However, I did save him by contacting my local agency of Health and Senior Services, they investigated and yes, they’d found out one of his grand daughters and their boyfriends were abusive to him.
These are the types of abuse, and possible signs that an older adult might be experiencing them:
- Psychological abuse: The older adult’s caregiver or family members use intimidation, threats or verbal abuse.
- Sexual abuse: The older adult fears being touched.
- Neglect: The older adult’s basic needs (bathing, eating, living in a safe environment) are going unmet, either because of self-neglect or caregiver neglect.
- Physical abuse: The older adult has unexplained bruises, cuts, rope burns or even fractures.
- Financial exploitation: The older adult is missing money, documents or belongings. Unlike other kinds of elder abuse, which are usually carried out by family members or caregivers, financial exploitation often comes at the hands of people who don’t know the victims.