Son threatened on tape to kick and punch mother who has dementia

A tape was heard in the High Court on Wednesday 27th of June, unveiling the treatment suffered by an elderly dementia patient at the hands of her son. In the tape, the son was secretly recorded by the daughter of the woman, abusive and threatening language could be heard throughout the duration of the tape.   The daughter was concerned for her mother’s physical, emotional and financial health and safety. In the exchange, it was noted the son was neglecting the duty of care owed to his mother and due to medical and safeguarding concerns, the woman was removed by Gardaí and fire brigade officers to hospital in recent weeks. The president of the High Court Mr. Justice Kelly commented that it was “nauseating” to hear such a tape, and asserted:
No one should speak to an elderly ill person like that and to think her own son would do so was “revolting”, – Mr justice Peter Kelly said.
The son expressed his shame before the court telling the judge he was “absolutely ashamed” for the content of the recording but that he did not recall and that it was an “isolated” incident, notwithstanding the severity of the case, his father affirmed his son was offering “absolutely wonderful” care to his mother and that she “idolises” him.   The son also disregarded concerns around his mother’s health, raised by the daughter in relation to medications causing her to suffer a diabetic ketoacidosis episode.   The father said he and his wife have been married many decades and he sometimes uses the word “bitch” when she gets “irritated”. Due to her dementia, she does not notice she is addressed like that, he said.   The judge granted the HSE temporary orders restraining her son and husband interfering with her care in hospital. The matter was adjourned to facilitate the son and father’s defence, in the meantime, the woman will remain under the custody of the HSE.

What is Elder Abuse?

Abuse may be defined as any act, or failure to act, which results in a breach of a vulnerable person’s human rights, civil liberties, physical and mental integrity, dignity or general well being, whether intended or through negligence, including sexual relationships or financial transactions to which the person does not or cannot validly consent, or which are deliberately exploitative. Abuse may take a variety of forms.” (Protecting our Future, Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse, September 2002) – Source

What forms can Elder Abuse take?

There are several forms of abuse, any or all of which may be carried out as the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.
  • Psychological abuse
  • Neglect and acts of omission
  • Financial or material abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Discrimination



Coleman Legal have received instructions from clients who have suffered personal abuse or identified the signs of same towards their loved ones. If you have been affected somehow, and if you have come across a situation of abuse and need support on this matter, you can contact our personal injury solicitors to discuss how to vindicate your rights. However, if you are unsure about what constitutes elder abuse, you can read more here Care Home Abuse – Nursing Home Neglect.


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