Life Matters Media
Quality of life at the end of life

Woman Accused Of Punching Dying Man In Senior Living Facility

BY DANIEL GAITAN | daniel@lifemattersmedia.org

Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons

A 23-year-old Zion, Ill., woman is accused of punching an 80-year-old man suffering from dementia in a Wisconsin senior living facility.

Talesha J. Mason was charged with felony aggravated battery of an elderly person on Monday in Kenosha County Circuit Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Mason, who was employed at Kenosha Senior Living for about a month, punched the man on Oct. 4.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Employees come forward

The facility’s wellness director told Kenosha police that two employees told her about the troubling incident the day it happened.

A female employee said she and Mason were waking the man up from a nap and preparing him for dinner. Then the man — who is nearing the end of his life and receiving hospice care — reportedly began “putting up a fight,” which is “nothing they couldn’t prevent,” the employee said.

The employee and Mason then began to change him in his bed, but Mason was also on her phone.

That’s when, according to the complaint, Mason went between his bed and the wall so they could turn the man toward the woman and clean him. The man reportedly didn’t like being moved and “became mad.”

Still on her phone, Mason then allegedly punched the man with a closed fist in the back of his head, causing him pain. The man reportedly yelled “Ouch!” and the woman said she gasped at what she saw. The woman said “it didn’t even phase the defendant.”

The woman told another employee what happened and they contacted the wellness director.

The wellness director later told police Mason denied punching the man and she acted “shocked” when confronted about it. Mason reportedly told the wellness director that the man was falling and she tried to catch him.

However, the wellness director said she didn’t believe Mason, partly because there “wasn’t a chance for him to fall for any reason.”

Mason faces six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In Wisconsin, aggravated battery against anyone 62 and older is a Class H felony.

Nationwide problem

The National Council on Aging estimates nearly 1 in 10 Americans 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse.

Reports of abuse are “numerous” among the nation’s nursing homes.

Nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 5,300 nursing homes were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse from January 1999 to January 2001, according to an investigation by the minority party staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.

Adding to the problem: More than 25 percent of serious cases of nursing home abuse go unreported, according to an alert released this summer by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.

– Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons