I drive over the road between two and three weeks at a time and am always worried about my mom who is in a nursing home.  What I fear the most is the workers there abusing her physically, mentally or by taking her property or money.  The last time I went to see her she was scared and wanted to leave.  I felt really bad because I have to drive to pay for her care and for my family.  She can’t live with us because she can’t walk up the stairs and we live in a two-story house and the bathroom on the first floor has no tub or shower.  Is there anything I can do to help her and protect her?

Rob N., TX

Rob, I remember my first jury trial as a new lawyer.  It is something you never forget, just like your first kiss or your first love. I worked in the prosecutor’s office and had the job of putting an elderly man into protective care of the state because he was unable to care for himself. I had very mixed emotions about doing this, but knew he would be unsafe to live alone.  He had no family to care for him and like most people from his generation, he was very independent and did not want to be ‘put away’ as he put it, into a home.
I won the trial and he was taken to a hospital for treatment against his will. I do remember looking into his eyes and seeing the fear and confusion he had and it broke my heart.  The good news is that six months later he was better and released to go back to his home to live by himself. I knew it was only a matter of time until we repeated this cycle again as he became more frail and forgetful.
I tell you about this man because he represents every older person who, against his or her wishes, must live in a nursing home or assisted living center.  When you put older people in a situation where they are confused and frightened they will accept just about any treatment or abuse just to have someone be their friend.  Often that ‘friend’ will abuse them mentally or physically.  The ‘friend’ may even get the older person to give them access to their money, which is never a good thing.
You want to know what you should or could do to protect your mother.  You should discuss any concerns with her physician first to determine whether she is mentally and emotionally fit.  If she is in good mental and physical health and you still have the same concerns, then you should notify management at the home of any suspected abuse of any kind. 
Some standard signs of physical or mental abuse are:

  1. Recurring or unexplained injuries
  2. Dirty clothing or bedding
  3. Hesitation to talk openly
  4. Fearfulness of caregivers
  5. Lost valuables
  6. Unusual or inappropriate banking activity
  7. Signatures on checks or documents that are not your mothers
  8. Caregiver has unjustified control of your mother’s finances
  9. Caregiver does not allow your mother to speak for herself or to visit with others out of the caregiver’s presence
  10. Caregiver has a history of abuse of others  

This list is only a small sample of telltale signs to look for but most of all use your common sense about what is happening to your mother.
If management does not respond to you and provide you with sufficient answers to your question you should look at transferring your mother to another facility immediately.  If that is not possible, then you should discuss your concerns with the local police department, the prosecutors’ office and you may even want to speak with your state’s Adult Protective Services (APS).Being a truck driver means you cannot always be at home to care for your family. If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home be aware of the warning signs, and be proactive with their care if you are afraid they are being abused or neglected.

Being a truck driver means you cannot always be at home to care for your family. If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home be aware of the warning signs, and be proactive with their care if you are afraid they are being abused or neglected.   

Comments (3)

Jim Klepper

Jim Klepper is a nationally-recognized transportation attorney and trucking industry advocate. His national law firm is entirely dedicated to trucking defense, and has defended over 260,000 CDL drivers and carriers since the advent of the CDL. He is personally licensed to practice law in 16 states, including the United States Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. A prominent author and speaker, Jim regularly writes legal advice columns for truckers in industry trade journals, and is a featured advisor on national radio shows. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Truckload Carriers Association, the American Trucking Association, the Arkansas Trucking Association, the Oklahoma Trucking Association and the Oklahoma Humane Society. Mr. Klepper is active in many charities and trucking industry initiatives, and is also a Licensed Pharmacist.

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LIVE Smart

Merry Christmas

December 23, 2013

LIVE Smart


About 4 years ago the Doctor told my mother that in 2 years he wanted her int a Senior Apartment as her house was getting too much for her. At the 2 year mark she was still thinking about it. About a year ago she finally decided she was ready to look into it. It was reaching a point where we were afraid we may have to get the court involved. Fortunately over the summer she realized it could no longer wait. In addition the elderly man she was renting her house from ahd to be put into a nursing home so she was going to have to move anyways. Even though I was on the road I helped as much as I could with the research of places suitable for her. I called and spoke with several of the places and we found this one. It is a senior apartment that has assisted living facitlies as well. It turns out by the time she moved in last month she was in need of assisted living. They have been fantastic in their care of her. Furthermore they are going out of their way to help her findwhat services she needs and are doing their best to make sure she does not have to pay for them. Mom qualifies for several program and despite several of us trying to explain how they work she keeps thinking she does not qualify. Fortunately the staff their understands those programs and can help her with them. I feel blessed in that she seems to have a good facility with caring staff that encourage me to call and check up on her with them from time to time. This gives me the advantage of seeing it through her and their eyes. On a postive note when I saw mom in December she was not looking good health wise. By the time I saw her in March she had been in the new place for about 3 weeks and I could already see improvement. She misses her house of 25 years but seems to be accepting that htis new chapter is for the best. As Linda said this si a scary situation. Not just for out loved one but for us as well. It effects everyone in different ways but it does effect us. As the original poster said it is hard having to leave a person you care for in a place lice that because you are unable or do not have the facilities they need. Mr. Klepper thank you for the story and your empathy in this situation.

April 06, 2014 18:37:22 PM

My mom suffered from Dementia and we had to make that decision. I will stand up for the absolutely wonderful people who watched mom 24/7. They were simply incredible up to the day she peacefully passed away. Unfortunately-like truckers-the few bad ones are the ones that leave a lasting impression.

December 13, 2013 4:43:12 AM

This is a very scary situation and one that each of us could face in our futures.

December 12, 2013 19:15:33 PM