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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118682
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Hello! Currently, I am living with my mother as she was rushed

Customer Question

Hello! Currently, I am living with my mother as she was rushed to the hospital in a coma and then hospice and released to home. The question comes about with what may be considered elder abuse from my brother to my mother. Please let me explain...

My brother Brian, who the family states stole from her for alcohol a few weeks ago, still lives with my mother. He has lives here 7 years. On numerous occasions, he has cursed and yelled at her (excuse my language), like "f**king MA! what you trying to do. We f**king told you to call us when you need help!" She was on the toilet and attempted to get up on her own. When he started screaming at her, she began crying and shaking.

Today, he withheld cigarettes from her, and in my opinion, held them over her head, figuratively, of course. Although I agree, where she is already having trouble breathing, she should not be smoking constantly, I also disagree with her having to beg and plead to the point of her wanting to get up off the chair herself and find where he hid them. I'll be honest, I am stuck in the middle because I don't want her smoking so I sort of agree, I also think she should be able to have a few, but I also am afraid of him. He is much stronger and has already threatened to punch my lights out right in front of her. Today, he slammed kitchen cabinets and again yelled at her, "Mom, I'm not taking this f**king any more! Dammit! I'm tired of playing this game with you...." You get the point.

Now the question is, is this at least every other day way of talking with my mother elder abuse or just being an asshole (excuse my language)? He is very nice, in his own way, other times, but it is apparent to me that he completely controls her.

As an aside that may or may not matter...He has lived here, in an elderly mobile home park for nearly 5 -7 years. He is only 45. From what I can tell, the whole community hates him as he has been drunk in her home more times than I can remember. I can tell you stories about those exploits, but I figure you can get the point. Although he has not been drinking lately, as far as I can tell. Either way, this is the only place he has to live, so deep down I am believing he is acting to save his own ass than my mothers. Again, this is facts filled with personal bias as you can tell. Yet, is it elder abuse? How can I prove it? What should I do about it? I know I will be hated probably from my mother for having him disciplined but I also will not sit aside and watch my mother being abused.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Actually, what you describe is not really abuse when it comes to elder abuse and it sounds more like he is frustrated dealing with her and is being more of the latter of your claims. While he may be controlling her, if you complain he is withholding cigarettes from someone who is having a hard time breathing or yelling at her (even cursing) to call when she needed something, Family Services is likely not going to do much other than create hard feelings with your brother and maybe even your mom.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Of course it is not the answer I wanted, but I will press accept because you did answer the question. Well, let me know, in Florida, he has a $1600.00 fine for DUI, and is facing the courthouse tomorrow without being able to pay. Will he go to jail, please?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Generally in FL the most time he would face is 30-60 days, but many times they give them enough rope to hang themselves for the payments to get made. It sounds like the drinking and the harsh tone with mom may be an indication of some underlying problem and you may want to consider getting him some help if you can convince him.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Won't be able to convince him. He thinks he is "God's gift to" my mom. I know he has underlying anger problems, but refuses to face them.


Well, with that said, and your "disappointing" answers, simply because I wanted him out of the house, I greatly appreciate your time.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
If he is a danger to himself or others because of his behavior and you can convince a judge you could try to get him involuntarily committed under the Baker Act for a 3 day evaluation, but unless he is posing some physical harm or threats of harm to your mom, the elder abuse won't fly.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you! I will make it fly if I need to do so in order for my mom to feel safe in her own home. Whatever happened to emotional abuse, which I feel it is? Guess with your answers, that don't cut it these days. It's not enough for her to be afraid, crying and shaking each time he screams at her, having her beg for her own cigarettes, which a doctor just told me will be better for her only because of the withdrawal symptoms at this time in her life. How a son can literally control his mother and be an asshole to a dieing mother and get away with it is amazing. Sorry, but from what I read with your answers, the law sucks! Yet, I know you didn't create it and I'm glad you are explaining it to me.


God Bless you for that!

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Emotional abuse is not really something that is capable of prosecution in courts because it is very subjective. What is emotionally abusive to you may not be emotionally abusive to the next person. The law needs tangible things to find someone guilty over.