Some Elder Abuse Stories

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Jane's Story

To understand Jane’s story, the story of her family needs to be told. Jane grew up in a dysfunctional family. This was due to the presence of drugs, gangs, and abuse that surrounded Jane’s family. It was because of all these factors that Jane’s family is well known by law enforcement. It was not long before Jane was involved in all the problems that surrounded her family. Jane started to use drugs at the age of 13 which led to further drug use as well as alcohol abuse. Jane has three kids in total, two boys and one girl. However, at age 15  Jane had her first kid which was taken away by CPS due to alcohol and drug abuse.  

Jane did everything in her power to get custody of her child back. She got her GED and stopped using drugs. After this, Jane went on to marry and was soon pregnant. Jane gave birth to her second son, however, her drug abuse did not stop and her second son was addicted at birth. This caused her son to have mental and developmental disabilities from birth.  Jane later also gave birth to a girl named Ella. Ella is now married and has kids, however, Ella complains to Jane about all the problems she is going through. For example, Ella consistently mentioned to Jane that she needs money for her children. This includes money for food, clothing, and school supplies. It was because of this reason that Ella moved in with Jane and was added to Jane’s bank account.

 

However, Ella decided to take advantage of having access to her mother’s account by using more money than what Jane allows her to use and draining Jane’s account. When Jane tries to confront her own daughter, it instantly turns into an argument. Sometimes, these arguments turn physical and Ella assaults Jane. When the police are called nothing can be done because “they are family.” The only solution that law enforcement could offer was to advise Jane to move out if she cannot get along with Ella because Jane’s name was never in the lease. After the encounter with the police, Jane found living with Ella very difficult. There are times when Ella does not allow Jane to use her own bathroom. Ella locks the bathroom door and makes her mother find another bathroom to use outside of their home. At other times Ella hides food away from Jane although Jane is the one that pays for it. Ella is not the only child of Jane that abuses her, it is suspected that her second child also steals his mother’s food stamps to buy his own food. 

 

When Jane tried to seek shelter somewhere else, she did not qualify as a senior citizen because she is 60 years old. This meant that she had to go from the shelter to a transitional apartment. Yet, she is unable to stay there because of the love that she has for her grandchildren. Jane is willing to go through a toxic relationship if it means that she gets to see her grandchildren whom she loves deeply. At the moment, Jane still endures abuse to see her grandchildren and refuses to notify authorities about all the abuse she has received. 

 

Like many others, Jane has experienced elder abuse and has also been subjected to many forms of DV: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, deprivation of basic human rights, financial exploitation, and using Jane's love and need to have her family in her life against her. Many of these abuses stem from mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, and a history of being brought up in family dysfunction. This is not something new. Abuses and situations like this have been happening for years and it is time we make a change to help those who are like Jane. For example, there should be a proper shelter that allows seniors to live a healthy life although they are only 60 years old or a program that aims to make amends between family members and promote a relationship in which Jane can spend time with her grandchildren without the abuse from her daughter.

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Peter wanted to remain living in his home, but he really needed someone to help him with his day-to-day care.  His niece Mandy had always loved her Uncle Peter and since she was between apartments, it was decided that she would move into his home and assist him with his daily tasks.

 

Mandy tries her best, and she can be very kind at times.  But at other times, she loses patience with how slowly Peter moves.  She’ll sometimes shove him out of the way if she’s in a hurry, resulting in more than one tumble and bruise.  She tries to be patient, but often her frustration leads to insults, name-calling, and door slamming.

 

Neighbors had heard the shouting and Peter’s sharp cries of pain from time to time.  One of these neighbors was finally compelled to call the police when she heard Peter’s continual cries through the bathroom window.  Police found him on the floor of the bathroom with a shattered hip and bleeding head.  He had been lying there in pain for some time after Mandy, frustrated with having to help him with his personal hygiene, pushed him off the toilet and left the house in a rage.

Peter’s Story  
(Physical and Emotional Abuse)

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Janet's Story  
(Financial Abuse)

Janet appreciated her grandson helping her to run errands.  Since her husband’s death, simple things like getting groceries or getting to the bank had become difficult for her.  Her grandson, Nicholas, had offered to help and for a while, it seemed like the perfect arrangement.  He would take her to the bank and wait while she deposited her cheque and withdrew the cash she needed.  Nicholas then drove her wherever she needed to do her shopping.

 

As winter approached Nicholas told Janet it would probably be much easier on her if he just did the errands for her while she stayed warm and cozy at home.  Because he had been so helpful for so many months, Janet thought nothing of signing her pension cheque over to her grandson, who would make her purchases and deposit the rest in her account.

 

It took several months to realize that Nicholas had not, in fact, been depositing the balance in her account.  He did her shopping as needed, but pocketed the difference, causing Janet’s account to dwindle.  It wasn’t until a cheque she had written to cover her insurance had bounced that Janet realized her grandson had been helping himself to her pension.

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Leaving her home to move in with her daughter and her family was supposed to be the best thing for Margaret.  Her son-in-law Tom had always made her a little uneasy, but she adored her daughter and grandchildren.  Sadly, Margaret’s move has only confirmed that her instincts about her son-in-law had been right.

 

Tom is always good to her when her daughter is around.  But as soon as others are out of earshot, Tom’s verbal abuse and intimidation begin.  He calls her stupid.  He mocks the way she moves or talks.  He tells her that she disgusts him and that she had better watch her step or he'll send her to a home.  He threatens that if Margaret breathes a word of what he says, to her daughter, he will deny it, take all her money and leave her to the wolves.

 

Margaret’s daughter is puzzled as to why her mother has become so withdrawn.  She refuses to leave her room except for meals.  And even then she hardly eats and rarely speaks.  Her daughter wonders why her mother would shut down like this in such a loving environment but assumes that she’s just adjusting and will come around.  Her husband agrees completely.

Margaret’s Story  
(Emotional and Psychological Abuse)

The characters and events depicted in these scenarios are realistic but fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental; however, they are very similar to real-life situations experienced by elders today.