Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday with Elders - Elder and Protective Services

As I said last week, any time visiting nurses, doctors, home health aids, feel that something is wrong with an Elder, they are required by law to contact the state's Elder and Protective Services. There were calls because Ma wasn't taking her medication, food was left out for hours at a time, or not properly stored. Ma also had a fondness for lighting bonfires in the fireplace, or the day the house was filled with toxic smoke when Ma decided to burn Styrofoam plates in the fire place, and because she was always cold, she refused to open the doors or windows.

I was nervous when I got the first call from the Social Worker. Well-meaning friends had passed along horror stories such as the children of Elders could be held responsible for the Elders condition. There were stories about going to jail for Elder abuse. Not true since I wasn't living with my parents. Though there were days I wished the authorities would take me away, and then the responsibility and worry would fall to someone else not me.

I really didn't have anything to worry about the social worker, Julia, contacted me (again the blind eye regarding the Privacy Act) and became my friend and ally. Julia wanted the family to meet together. The agency's goal was to keep the Elders in their home for as long as safely possible. But. Elders were encouraged to take advantage of services. Poor Julia, tried to convince Ma and Dad to have Meals on Wheels. They refused because "it's not our food." (Italian). Ma reluctantly agreed to having the personal care aid, but never paid the bill. As an Elder, Ma felt an entitlement. She would agree to these services, but she wasn't going to pay. She also didn't like us coming into her home and telling her how to cook, what to eat, how to do things, or how to spend her money. She had a point. But.

My parents were like children. My mother was a Terrible Two. Everything with her was No! Dad happily accepted rides from strangers when someone found him wandering around town. Dad had been very active in town politics so some of the police officers on the force knew him. Dad especially loved getting rides home in the squad car. The police officers that knew Dad told their buddies in the fire department to look out for an old dude with a hat and cane. Dad relished the rides in the fire truck. Dad was a very amiable four year old.

So after I received complaint calls from the Visiting Nurses, or the police, I knew I would be getting a call from Julia. My role shifted from adult child to parent of elderly children. Julia made suggestions or listened to me whine until the day things spun out of control.

Next week: Section 12

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you had a social worker who showed compassion, used her head and and didn’t just stick rigidly to the rules.