When the caregiver doesn’t care
A 26-year-old man from Geraldton, WA, has been jailed for 15 months after failing to get help for his 46-year old mother as she lay dying on the floor of their caravan. Corey Pierce was the full-time carer of his mother, Wilhelmina Pierce, who spent four days on the floor of their cluttered caravan before dying in March 2011. The claim by the prosecution was not that the son intended to hurt his mother, but that, in failing to seek medical help, he hastened her death. Pierce claimed that he tried to move her, but the clutter in the caravan prevented him doing so.
The sentencing judge acknowledged that Pierce loved his mother, but stated, "Clearly it reached the stage where your mother wasn't aware of what was going on and the law imposed upon you the duty to provide the necessities of life, which included professional medical help and assessment.”
Mr. Pierce will be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence.
Read more at the ABC News website.
Read more from Perth Now.
Check out the crowded caravan.
In a recent survey YOURLifeChoices asked its members if they would prefer to age in their own home with on-call assistance? And 92.6 per cent of respondents answered yes. When asked if they expected their family would look after them as well as they have looked after the family, 53 per cent said yes and 47 per cent said no. So the vast majority of us wish to age at home and nearly half of us think our family should help us do so.
Surely this isn’t an unreasonable expectation? For those who have children, the sacrifices of time, care and financial investment are huge, so expecting some similar support in old age is only fair?
Or perhaps not. It seems that, for every family happy to help older relatives, there is another which doesn’t seem to think it is their responsibility. Every case varies and who would really know what happened in that appallingly overcrowded caravan in Perth? But the idea of a human being stuck on the floor for four days is very hard to accept. This is no way to end a life. Surely we all have sufficient compassion to help anyone in need, (in this case in truly dire straits) regardless of whether they are family or complete strangers?
Now I love animals as much as the next person, but I find it very difficult to understand how universally abhorred is the ill treatment of a pet, while similar treatment of people, particularly the elderly, can often be overlooked or underestimated in its callousness.
As our survey revealed, there is mixed expectations and certainly no guarantees that our children will take good care of us when we reach a time of increasing dependence and frailty. But even if they choose to totally disassociate themselves from our wellbeing, it is to be hoped that broader society cares enough to make sure that no one is left unattended in their time of greatest need.
What about you? Do you think it is your children’s duty to make sure you are safe and secure as you age? Or is this too much to expect?
Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free
- Receive our daily enewsletter
- Enter competitions
- Comment on articles