From the UK: My aunt has severe bipolar disorder and takes Risperidone for it. She lives with her caretaker, who also has another job, but her carer is often drunk and very abusive. He also suffers from suicidal tendencies, indulging in alcohol and yelling aimlessly during the night. My aunt seems to have formed a close relationship with him, despite that, and refuses to see him go.
Out of fear of relapse for her, I don’t know if I should force him out of the house and how that would impact her mental health. His jobs are to cook, clean, and take general care of my aunt but all he seems to be doing is using my aunt’s house as his own. He is very dirty, which certainly impedes on my aunt’s mental health but every time it is brought up that he should leave, she defends him and refuses to let him go.
She doesn’t leave the house and as she gets older and older she is starting to suffer from more concrete health problems, such as Arthritis. I am worried that I can’t make a change in her life for the better and she seems to be continually suffering from a latent form of depression. She is lonely, and her children are grown and live somewhat far away, so she has become dependent on this man’s company. How should I approach this problem? He isn’t apart of a caretaker agency or anything of that matter.
Your aunt is fortunate to have someone like yourself who is concerned for her welfare. I don’t know the law in the UK so can’t advise you about your rights as a concerned relative. I don’t know if and how you can “force him out of the house”. A lawyer who specializes in elder care would be most helpful.
You didn’t share your aunt’s age. If she is a competent adult, she is entitled to make her own decisions — even bad ones. However, if she is elderly, what you are describing may meet the criteria for neglect of an elder. To find out what you may be able to do about it, see this link on the Gov.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/report-abuse-of-older-person.
By all means, inform her adult children of your concerns. A family meeting to discuss how best to help their mother as she declines would probably be a good idea.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
My Aunt Is Being Abused by Her Caretaker
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Aunt Is Being Abused by Her Caretaker. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 25, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/08/21/my-aunt-is-being-abused-by-her-caretaker/
Last updated: 20 Aug 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 20 Aug 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.