Adult Protective Services

Well, I’ve done it now. I have crossed a point of no return. This afternoon I made a phone call to the Adult Protective Services of Boise, Idaho and asked them to open an investigation on behalf of Mom. I am fairly nervous about taking this course of action because I don’t know what kind of outcome if any will result. But since Dad and I already pretty much hate each other it’s not like I have to worry about losing his friendship or anything.

Next up I’m going to schedule some time to talk with a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law, and while I’m at it contact Dad’s former psychiatrist. I don’t think he ever found out both of us were seeing the same counsellor. That was Couch Potato. She figured it out first and kept quiet. Then by accident I made the peculiar discovery Dad and I were receiving therapy from the same shrink. I mentioned it to Couch Potato during one of my sessions and we had an interesting conversation. Anyway I’m going to ask her if she might be of use to me in court against Dad if things go that far.

The guy I spoke with at Adult Protective Services sounded really old. During our conversation he seemed slightly confused and asked some of the same questions over and over again. His voice had a weezy quality to it. Maybe he was a lifelong smoker. I gave him the details of Mom’s situation by describing her deteriorating mental capacity and her other illnesses. Then I began to tell this fellow about Dad’s substandard ability to care for her, his increasing isolation of Mom from the rest of us, Dad’s increasingly bizarre antics, and his obsession with his bank account.

“Your father is financially paranoid, eh?”

“Absolutely,” I said. “All he cares about is himself. Everything is about his retirement and how he will have nothing left in savings after Mom has to go into a nursing care facility. That’s all we hear coming from him. I have observed him spending their money freely upon himself whenever he wants something no matter how expensive it is. But when my Mom would like to have something simple like a set of candles he yells at her ‘What do you want that crap for?’ and she frequently begins to cry. He flatly refuses to hire any part time professional help for in-home assistance so he can get a break. So the strain of trying to do the whole thing on his own is making him more and more of a headcase.”

After asking me a lengthy barrage of questions the old man at APS agreed to open an investigation.

“Under Idaho law we won’t be able to tell you anything about this case. The only thing we will be able to inform you of is when the investigation has concluded. We will contact you directly.”

“Would it be useful for you to speak with my aunt and uncle who live in the local area there, or would you like to speak with my sister?”

“No. That won’t be necessary. You can expect to hear from us in coming weeks.”

“Okay. So if you don’t mind my asking, what typically happens when you initiate an investigation like this?”

The old guy rasped and said, “We will send someone out to their residence to sit down and talk with them. This person will evaluate the situation and inform your parents of resources for assistance and care. Afterwards we make recommendations based upon what we find.”

Since we’ve all repeatedly told Dad about care resources in the Boise area and he’s failed to act on any of them I didn’t see much good coming out of this. Adult Protective Services handing Dad a bunch of brochures on nursing homes or whatever they were going to dish out wouldn’t mean squat. If he wasn’t going to take advantage of available help it’s just not going to happen under any circumstances.

I said, “You know my Dad has a pretty good front going. He’s a decent actor when talking with total strangers.”

“Our people are trained to spot that sort of thing and see through it.”

Something in the back of my mind told me to doubt that claim.

“Let me ask you another question. Are these recommendations you make during an investigation legally binding?”


I was stunned. “So what guarantee does anyone have if you decide to intervene on someone’s behalf that anything will actually come of it? What if an elder is being physically abused? How do you handle that?”

“If a person is being physically abused then the case is handed over to police and they take it from there. We also give them our recommendations from our investigation.”

“But your recommendations are voluntary and not enforced by anyone.”

“That is correct.”

After I said goodbye and hung up the phone I shook my head. Adult Protective Services didn’t have any teeth. I had a bad feeling they weren’t going to be of much use or help.


~ by factorypeasant on August 28, 2006.

2 Responses to “Adult Protective Services”

  1. I could have told you that had you asked…if I were you I’d begin to gather more evidence than what you have on your own such as maybe visiting your mom and recording conversations with her. I went through this with someone who in the end didn’t get the mother locked up(it was the father with alzheimer’s in this case) but got power of attorney to make sure their estate didn’t all go to the mother who would spend 300 dollars on Prada and refused to my the husband the hemorrhoid cream he liked. Some people should just be aborted at birth, I tell you…

  2. you did the right thing.


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