I saw the card on the phone table in the kitchen. On the back of the card was a request to have my parents call the representative of Adult Protective Services (APS). I knew the retirement community staff had placed a call with concerns about my parents safety and well-being.
I decided that I would not insert myself in the process. However, when my brother visits, he hears the messages and contacts the woman from Adult Protective Services (APS).
The woman from APS shares that she has tried to meet with the parents and visited the community several times. On one visit she came when my mom was running the weekly bridge game and my mom shooed her away. My brother confirms a day and time he knows my parents will be in their apartment.
The woman from APS asks my brother two questions:
- Is he afraid my parents will walk into the lake?
- Does he worry my parents will set the kitchen on fire?
He answers “No” to both questions.
My brother hears back from the woman who shares that she is closing the case on my parents. She remarks that she can see the family is engaged and while my parents obviously are struggling, they don’t pose an immediate threat of harm to themselves or others.
Two weeks later, I get a call from Adult Protective Services. I am asked the same questions. She confirms that she is not concerned to warrant any immediate follow-up visits with my parents. Predicted.
What I have since witnessed and learned is that Adult Protective Services will only act if the actions of the individual do pose a threat to themselves or others. Most of the employees are overwhelmed with cases. Everyone will be better off if you can resolve the situation. If they do find that your loved one is a harm to themselves or others and there is no legal powers in place, you will be facing court proceedings to initiate a petition for guardianship and conservatorship. These are both invasive, expensive and may result in someone being appointed by the court to act in these roles.