Dear Dr. Beal:
I am the middle child of five children. Our ages range from thirty-eight to fifty years of age. My father died about fifteen years ago and my mother raised the three of us who were home. My youngest brother who is almost forty still lives at home. I think he is abusing my mother, but she will not tell us. There are at least four times when I have seen bruises, and she claims to have fallen. My brother uses all type of drugs including cocaine, and he cannot keep a job for longer than six months. My mother’s health is declining, her memory is becoming bad, she never has any money past the fifteenth. How do I get her to tell us what is happening in that house?
Signed, A Sibling That Will Kill Her Brother
Dear Concerned Sibling:
You have several concerns in your question. First, I would like to address your mother. It is important that you make sure that she is physically and emotionally safe and not being abused by your brother. If he is harming her in any way there will be signs. Just like in any other types of abusive relationships the victim will hide what is going on in the home for several reasons. In a mother-child relationship, it is usually because they “love” their child at any cost. This means even if they (the child) are hurting them. It’s what mothers are supposed to do…. Right? Ask yourself, has your mom always made excuses for his behavior? If he stated something traumatic happened to him did, does she blame herself? Does she believe he can kick his drug habit whenever he wants to because that is what he is telling her? Let’s look at what is considered elder abuse.
Elder abuse is the mistreatment or harming of an older person. It can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation. Many social factors—for example, a lack of support services and community resources—can make conditions ripe for elder abuse. Ageism (biases against or stereotypes about older people that keep them from being fully a part of their community) also play a role in enabling elder abuse. Sometimes people are being abused and they do not really know it because they have become accustomed to the treatment received from others. This can also cause them to become depressed. Below are the different types of elder abuse.
TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE
Physical abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure an older person
Emotional abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain, or distress to an older person
Sexual abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon an older person, including anyone who is unable to grant consent
Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property
Neglect: failure or refusal to provide for an older person’s safety, physical, or emotional needs
Try and take your mother out of the situation where she is living, if she allows you to temporarily. If you are asking her what’s going on while she is in the home with him she may become too afraid of what he will do once you leave. You may want to consider installing cameras that will allow you to monitor her home via an app on your cell phone.
Your mother may agree to move away while you and your siblings are working to get treatment for your brother. Due to COVID-19 it will be difficult to evict him at this time. However, there are inpatient treatment facilities if he is willing to seek treatment.
Also, your mother could also benefit from counseling if she is willing to talk to someone outside of the family. This would give her a safe space to share information. Explain to your mother if you suspect that he is continuing to harm her that you will call the Police and Adult Protective Services. Anyone can call Adult Protective Services if they suspect abuse and it is anonymous. Place the number close for her to see. You have to do something even if it means putting little brother somewhere against his free will.
Lastly, Please Don’t wait !!! Do Something
Suggested Resources For Your Mother
2-1-1 and ask to speak to an Elder Care Experts
What are Elder Care Experts?
Elder Care Experts refers to a group of organizations that have come together to provide enhanced information and referral services, benefits counseling and case management services to older adults and family caregivers who have complex situations and need more help “than just a phone number” to meet their needs.
The network formed by the organizations participating as Elder Care Experts is directed by Care for Elders, a partnership of more than 80 organizations committed to improving access to services and enhancing life for older adults and family caregivers in Harris County.
Houston Health Department Harris County Area Agency On Aging Call: 832-393-4301
Resources for your Brother:
8512 Wheatley Street
Houston, TX – 77088
Abundance Living Type of Care: Transitional housing, halfway house, or sober home Substance use treatment Service Settings: Outpatient
The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center Houston
2118 Washington Ave
Houston, Texas 77007
Do You Have A Question? Connect with me! :firstname.lastname@example.org
“Good Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth”