A Canadian home care worker was caught punching an 89-year-old man with Alzheimer’s lying in his bed at the facility.
The family of Georges Karam, the elderly man, installed a surveillance camera, catching the worker, identified as Jie Xiao, in the act, according to the CBC. Xiao was arrested and charged after the incident.
The attack that took place at the Garry J. Armstrong care facility in Ottawa, drew a comment from Janice Burelle, the city’s general manager of community and social services.
Now, Ottawa police are reminding people about elder abuse.
“It’s heartbreaking because it’s a senior — someone that is vulnerable,” said Det. Anne Menard of the Ottawa Police, the CBC reported.
“This gentleman suffers from dementia and is not cognizant of his own actions, therefore he’s even more vulnerable.”
“Quite often, unfortunately, it’s a loved one — so someone close to the senior, whether it’s a son, a daughter, the power of attorney. It can be a neighbor. Someone that they trust, unfortunately, will often offend. And like in these cases, sometimes it can be a worker in a home,” Menard said.
Menard also gave some advice to the families of seniors.
She said installing a security camera is effective, but she stopped short of recommending it outright.
“Yes and no. I mean police-wise, of course it’s great evidence. But the families have to be cognizant that sometimes their loved ones will have to be changed, therefore there are privacy issues there. So they need to sort of look at that as well,” she said.
Burelle further commented, saying officals “deeply regret” the incident.
“I deeply regret that one of our residents was subjected to this incident. Rest assured, the safety and well-being of all of our residents is our number one priority.”
The footage shows Xiao entering Karam’s room on May 8 to change the elderly man’s adult diaper. The patient then bats at Xiao twice, before the care worker responds, punching him 11 times. He also taunts the elderly man. After that, he tucks him in.
After his family learned about the incident, Karam was taken to a nearby hospital for a CT scan. He was not seriously hurt, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
“I literally stood up and fell down, my legs gave way because I didn’t know how to respond to this,” Karam’s grandson, Daniel Nassrallah, said. “We have a camera on him, and even that doesn’t deter him. To me, that’s mind-blowing.”
Nassrallah added that it’s notably troubling that the employee specialized in the treatment of dementia patients. His father speaks little English, he said.
“A person in a state of dementia reverts to childhood. It’s fight or flight. My grandfather can’t fly, he can’t run away, he can’t get away from the situation, he’s immobile. His hands are being held, he’s being demeaned, he’s being thrown around in some instances, he’s not being taken care of properly,” added Nassrallah. “This is torture, this is punishment, this is cruel treatment.”