Shauna is 75. Recently her only son, Patrick, moved back home with her after her husband died. Her son has substance abuse issues and is physically and psychologically abusive towards her. She is terrified of him but also protective of her only son. Last week he came into her bedroom when she was getting ready for bed and screamed at her and pushed her back so that she fell awkwardly on the bed. Shauna wasn’t hurt but she was shaken up. She feels like it is the drugs that are making him behave the way he is, it’s not the ‘real’ Patrick.
Often older parents are called on to assist their adult children, when those children are in crisis. It is reasonable and understandable that parents want to help their children at these times. However, equally, parents should be able to continue to live with dignity and respect and in a safe environment.
Before requests are made from adult children or other relatives to move into an older adult’s home, it’s important to consider how this change in living arrangements will impact on lifestyle. There might be other living options available to an adult child or relative that can be explored before agreement is reached to move into the older adult’s home.
The booklet Care for Your Assets – Money, Ageing and Family has information in it that can assist with these sorts of living arrangements.
Shauna’s safety is at risk because of Patrick’s violence and aggressive behaviour. There are several options available to Shauna to address the abuse. Seniors Rights Victoria can discuss these with her, confidentially.
*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.