This afternoon I stopped by one of the many senior citizen residential facilities here in Orange County. This is a service Martin Investigative Services frequently provides at no charge and a professional courtesy for our clients. It is simply an unannounced check on the care an aged parent or relative is receiving.
I visited a 94-year-old widow in her sunny, immaculate room at a large complex in Newport Beach. I inquired as to how she was sleeping, what her meals were like, and what she was doing with the rest of her day. I looked around her room and bathroom.
She was in good spirits. All was well.
This stop took me 20 minutes and my report did a world of good for my long-time client’s peace of mind.
When I walk in and say, “Hi, I’m Tom Martin and I’m a private investigator. I’m here to check on Mary Lou Smith,” with my license in hand, the reaction is priceless – and very telling.
I guarantee you that a visit from a licensed PI for your mom, dad or grandparent will be the talk of the facility that day – for both the staff and the residents. When I walk in and say, “Hi, I’m Tom Martin and I’m a private investigator. I’m here to check on Mary Lou Smith,” with my license in hand, the reaction is priceless – and very telling. Some staff immediately get flustered and literally hold up their hands in front of me, as if to try to bar me. “Whoa, whoa whoa….”
“There’s no whoa here,” I tell them politely. “I am giving you the courtesy of informing you that I am here to check on her welfare. I am going to her room now. Thank you.” And off I go. Sometimes with staffers in hot pursuit, nurses following along… all kinds of commotion.
Sometimes a staff member will say, “We’d like to welcome you, Mr. Martin! Let’s go find Mrs. Smith and see how she’s doing today,” and hold out their hand to me. That’s when I know that these people are running a first-class facility. They are on top of their game and doing things right.
On those occasions when employees are flustered and scrambling, or immediately informs security that I’m there… I am pretty sure everything is not okay.
On those occasions when employees are flustered and scrambling, or immediately informs security that I’m there and tries to block me from the residents’ wing, I am pretty sure everything is not okay. Sometimes they give me a speech about protocol or privacy or whatever… but what if this was my own mother? Would I not be allowed just to walk in and see her unannounced whenever I wanted?
Believe me, I take a personal interest in this sort of thing. My mother stayed in a facility for a few weeks near the end of her life. We eventually decided to take her out so that she could pass away at home, surrounded by family. I always think of her when I conduct these inspections or interview the occupants of the facility.
It is always a delight to report good news to families. I like to say that I saw their father, who was happily playing cards, at a physical therapy class, eating a good meal, or simply resting in a comfortable chair in his room. Looking and feeling good.
I regret having to make the other kind of call. On one visit a couple of months ago, I found a client’s mother at the end of a quiet hallway, sitting in a wheelchair and facing the wall. A nurse who had just come on duty came over and quietly informed me that the patient was in the same position where she’d been “parked” when the nurse left her previous shift 18 hours earlier. No one had even checked on this resident or spoken to her since.
Is this the way someone’s mother or sister is going to spend their last days on this earth? Alone and neglected? It was sickening.
I read an article the other day about the fact that many Americans treat their pets with more care and regard than they do the senior citizens in their family. This is not an exaggeration. It is a reality.
Investigate and research a long-term home-care insurance policy and facility.
There’s only one thing more sickening than seeing this kind of neglect is when I make a call to the family about incidents like the one I’ve just described. It is very distressing to have a relative, son or daughter say distractedly, “Oh thanks for checking on that Tom, I’ll deal with it later.” Or, “Gosh, OK, I’ll get over there this week to check on her. Next week at the latest.”
Like an old ad used to say, “Good care is not expensive, it’s priceless.” We strongly recommend you investigate and research a long-term home-care insurance policy and facility. The earlier in life you make this decision, the less expensive you will find the insurance.
You would also be wise to have someone check on your loved ones if you are not able to “drop-in” unannounced at the care facility. You actually will be pleased with hearing they are being treated well and with respect. If the news is not good, then you will be in a position to take action to rectify the situation.
A challenged teenager that needs a smile and your support.