Financial, physical, psychological abuse and neglect
September 6, 2016 at 3:23 pm #6936
Here is a brief summary of the situation.
I estranged myself many years ago from most of my Mother’s family due to the toxic environment and dynamic. I stayed in touch as much as possible with my father’s family and saw my father who is now 56 years old, only a handful of times – when he was able to sneak away from my mother’s home to meet me. My mother is extremely controlling, and when she has previously found my father to be in contact with me, has treated him very badly.
a year ago or so, my father told me he had been diagnosed with COPD, and pretty rapidly after this point, his health in general deteriorated to the point of having to give up work etc.
There were a few different prognosis’s regarding his health, but it resulted in him becoming less mobile, and more confined to the family home.
I was told on Monday last week by my paternal auntie, of the current situation that my father is in, and it completely broke my heart.
My father has been given an expected 18 moths to live currently, with procedures to extend this being very limited due to the neglect and abuse he has suffered at the hands of my mother.
On Monday, my auntie collected and removed my father from his home due to his living conditions and the abuse that he was experiencing.
His mobility had become so bad, that he was pretty much a prisoner of a very small box room. He had been left with out food and water more often than not and my mother had been refusing to take him food or drink.
Rubbish had accumulated in his room, he had also had accidents in his bed, and was left in a dirty bed without a sheet.
My Auntie had been sneaking food and drink to him after he had called her to make her aware of the situation, and on one occasion when she visited, she put all the rubbish from his room into black bin liners and took it down to the garden. When she visited on the next occasion, the rubbish had been emptied from the bin liners back into the room, with the empty bin liners laying on top of the mess to send a clear message. My auntie however, bagged the rubbish again and drove it away in her car this time.
My father is well over six foot tall and his weight plummeted to a little under 8 stone in this period of time.
It also transpired that my mother was withholding his wheelchair to further reduce his mobility. This was observed first hand by my brother and auntie. They watched him plead for his wheelchair, and my mother respond by saying “it’s in the car, you’ll have to get it out yourself” but then driving off before anyone had the opportunity to retrieve it.
Throughout this whole period of time, my father’s carer’s allowance was being paid to my mother, who was not in any way, shape or form caring for him. It turns out that she was also in receipt of his ESA and PIP, which he also saw nothing of. In addition to this, my mother was refusing to take my father to his physio appointments.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, my father has been removed from the house, and is now staying with my auntie who is taking very good care of him.
My query is of a sensitive nature. My father is greatly traumatized currently. He is tearful most of the time, is on medication for not only his physical health, but also anxiety. He is suffering from acute claustrophobia as perhaps a result of being trapped in the very small and dirty box room for months.
I was wondering if there was anything that can be done legally, regarding my Mother’s actions. Not at this point in time, as my father is safe now, and he has put a stop on the benefits going into my mother’s account, and I fear anything legal will be detrimental to the quality of the time he has left. If there is something that can be done, would it be possible for that to take place after my father has passed away? It feels entirely macabre even asking that question, as the thought of him not being here any more really breaks my heart.
Thanks in advance for any guidance x
September 6, 2016 at 3:24 pm #7045
Action on Elder AbuseKeymaster
Thank you for your post.
It is difficult and the law does not cater well for these situations. It could be worth you contacting your local council’s Safeguarding team to report the facts, as your description of your father would classify him as a vulnerable adult. A search online should give you their contact details. They are obliged to investigate when vulnerable adults are at risk through neglect. They are also obliged to work with other statutory agencies, including the police, when investigating. There may be limits to what the police are able to investigate though as guidance on neglect from the Crown Prosecution Service focuses on protecting those who lack mental rather than physical capacity above others. Assuming that the council does carry out an investigation, they would best be able to advice on further action and whn it might be taken.
Obviously you are rightly concerned primarily with your father’s welfare right now. It sounds like he is in a much better place now that he is staying with your auntie. It would probably be worth having a conversation with him to see if he would like you to pursue contact with the council. If he meets the eligibility criteria he may also be entitled to some support for your auntie for his care. Hopefully his improved surroundings and care at your auntie’s will mean that the consequences of his trauma will begin to lessen but he may want to consider seeking some counselling via his GP. You rightly say that the quality of life of the time he has remaining is of paramount importance so you will want to be sure that he ultimately decides how he wants things to progress.
If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to call our free helpline on 080 8808 8141, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.