There is a very sad, very serious case being heard in court in Ontario this week. Viola Simonds was in her 70s and had dementia and other medical issues. Her daughter and son-in-law had a Power of Attorney for Personal Care for Ms. Simonds. However, they didn't follow the doctor's advice, and didn't seek out either home care or a nursing facility for Ms. Simonds. They have now been charged under the Criminal Code for failing to provide the necessities of life to Ms. Simonds, who was found in her daughter's home covered in vomit, urine, and feces, in a room with the window painted black. Ms. Simonds has since passed away.
Click here to read a blog entry from Ontario lawyers Whaley Estate Litigation, which contains links to further articles and photos about the case.
Though I am deeply saddened and upset at Ms. Simonds' situation, I am glad that the matter is going to trial. For too long, the neglect or poor treatment of vulnerable older people has been something that people turned away from, calling it a family matter. But if your family members aren't going to look after you, the rest of us have to intervene.
After all this time I've spent working with seniors, I understand that people are capable of treating their own parents worse than they'd treat an animal, but it still makes me sick.