Enter Adult Protective Services.

When the social worker mentions that the hospital was prepared to call Adult Protective Services (APS) because they were so concerned about my parents, it initially sends a chill up my spine.

We are trying to help my parents, we know they want to stay independent, but they are unable to do so safely anymore. Now they are getting themselves into situations where others are recognizing their state.

I ask her what it means to have APS involved. Might this be a good lever to help my parents make a choice to get some assistance? She suggests I call and just ask them.

When I call APS, they ask if I want to file a report. No – I just have a few questions. I let her know I have two elderly parents and I’m concerned for their safety. How could APS help?

I’m told that they first and foremost respect an individual’s right to choose how they live. Their goal is to protect the elderly against fraud, abuse and neglect. In my parents’ case, it might qualify as self-neglect. However, she continues, they have every right to refuse assistance.

I was hoping this was an option since the only other one seems to be to wait around until something bad happens. This choice is not ours. Undeterred.

Recreating Reality

We really don’t know what happened last week with the two hospital visits . What my sister got from the hospital social worker was that my parents showed up at the ER on Thursday. We’ve heard my dad say it was for my mom, then for himself. My mom told me on Friday when we chatted it was for her.

I hope to hear back from the social worker to get documentation of their visit so we have a clear picture of what happened.

Today when we meet for breakfast, my dad has some pills in front of him. I ask him when his prescriptions changed since those didn’t look like the pills he used to take. My mom jumps in and says they just had their physicals done on Friday and they changed dad’s medications.

I softly tell my parents that we got a call from the hospital. They didn’t have a physical and showed up there two days in a row and seemed confused. I got a call because the hospital was worried about their safety.

Quiet. There is no response and after a few bites I change the subject. While I don’t expect them to remember, I also don’t want to miss an opportunity to convey how different our realities are. I hope there is some basic protection instinct that will seep into my parents’ psyche to allow them to understand that all is not right with the world today. Plagued.