I cared for my Mother for 3 months ending on Feb 24, 2014.
During those 3 months, my mother had dementia but that did not stop her from walking up and down stairs, washing and dressing herself and generally enjoying life and socializing. We had several dinner parties with her neighbours. Mom always enjoyed these – she enjoyed seeing others socially and contributing when some topic or memory moved her.
“Raising awareness among seniors about their right to live safely and securely is seen as the most important issue for governments when it comes to elder abuse,” Government of Canada
I had to give up care as Michael and Andrew refused to authorize any respite. Andrew refused to share care in any way. If he was going to provide care he was going to do it on his terms or not at all. He did, however, agree – through counsel – that he would provide the majority of care at Mom’s home at Sand Lake.
Warning signs of elder abuse
(City of Ottawa)
- injuries like bruises, broken bones, bleeding or other injuries
- sudden loss of weight
- family or friends will not let you see the person alone
- your loved one is hostile towards their family or friends
- you see a family member or friend threatening or trying to control your loved one
- items or money is missing from your loved one’s house – link to BMO on keeping property
- sudden loss of income (pension) or retirement savings – link to Section 3’s fees, BMO fees
Within two weeks it was unclear whether that was happening. When pressed Andrew said only “Again if you call the lake and no one answers that means we are at my place.” Thus began Mom’s isolation.
In late April 2014 we were informed by Michael that Andrew and Michael had decided to Mom had to be moved permanently to Andrews. The POA required majority consent.
Within 3 months of being removed from her home Michael reports “Alzheimer’s patients develop serious depth perception deficiencies which make stairs frightening to them and difficult to navigate. They also wander, and frequently hallucinate. They begin to confuse day and night and therefore are up at odd hours. … She has also lost the ability to write; does not appear to be able to read any more; and frequently does not know who people are or how many children she has or what their names are. She no longer can use a knife and needs to have her food cut up for her. Finally, Mom can no longer be left alone in a house at all, so a single care-giver is not an option unless that single person remains with her without a break 24/7. We are not prepared to assent to her returning to Sand Lake to live with these symptoms and in these care conditions.”
We were not allowed to verify these statements. The report outlines a significant decline in Mom’s abilities that I had seen 5 months earlier. Neither Andrew or Michael arranged for medical attention and would not seek it for another 10 weeks.
At the time Michael also suggested other issues would emerge stating “when Mom begins to become incontinent.” On December 9 2014, 10 months after she had shown no symptoms of incontinence Michael reports “She is now incontinent for both bladder and bowels.”
I don’t know what caused such a precipitous decline – especially as there were no visits to the doctor until 6 weeks before the report above. What I do know is that during each visit I had with Mom in early 2015 she either asked permission to use the washroom or asked if she needed to ask permission.
We would later get reports from Personal Service Workers that during this time Mrs. Childs repeatedly makes statements like “Thank god a human, I hate those people” and and “she stated she wanted to get away from here, that she hated them” while “her body language was rigid and she was glaring” suggesting deep unhappiness.
This was the environment when Section 3 interviewed Mom.
Interestingly Mom was returned to Sand Lake under an Urgent Consent Order on April 25, 2015. Within 2 days incontinence disappeared. If she needed to use the washroom she went, day or night.
Within in 2 weeks of being back home, during an assessment by the CCAC and an Occupational Therapist, she vastly happier and more confident. Her manner shows during the capacity assessment. By August 2015 when she is assessed by a geriatric physician she”presented as a well-looking woman who appears actually younger than her stated age. She was pleasant and cooperative throughout the interview” and “that she wanted to be at home and was very content with her current living arrangements”
It was only through Caroline and my actions that this dramatic turn around occurred.