Elder Abuse: A Neighbor Saves Her Elderly Friend
Elder Abuse: A Neighbor Saves Her Elderly Friend [Photo: Pedro Ribelro Simoes, flickr]
For every 24 cases of elder abuse, only one is reported. One woman has no regrets about going to authorities with her concerns about her neighbor's well-being.
Nancy Oatts had a friendly relationship with her neighbor Miss D (Oatts requested that "Miss D" would be used to protect her neighbor's identity.) Miss D had a level of dementia. She lived by herself so Oatts would sometimes visit her and share a beer. One day, Oatts began to notice something wasn't right.
"She was looking neglected. She was very scared and didn't want to let you leave her once she got a hold of you," Oatts said.
Miss D was also carrying around all of her money because she didn't trust her family. That's when Oatts decided she needed to report what she was noticing. She went to Adult Protective Services. Turns out, Miss D was about to lose her apartment and her son was stealing from her.
A friend gave Oatts's number to Miss D's son. He would call her repeatedly and even began banging on her door in the middle of the night.
"I didn't know if he would do anything to me. I ended up doing a police report for harassment," Oatts said.
Despite the struggles, Oatts stuck with Ms. D throughout her entire ordeal to make sure she was safe, but says she wouldn't change a thing.
"This was somebody that I truly came to love and I would never regret what I did," Oatts said.
Oatts has a special message to anyone who might suspect something might be wrong with their elderly neighbor.
"Try to see what's happening. I know people can't get involved like me, but we really are the first responders when something is happening," Oatts said.
Elderly individuals who are experiencing abuse often do not report the crime because they might feel ashamed or might be worried about what will happen to their abuser who is often a family member.