Photo Credit: NYC Councilman Chaim Deutsch via Twitter
Swastika drawn in black marker

The family of a 65-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, was horrified to discover that someone had drawn a big black swastika – and a happy face — on their loved one’s head with a permanent black marker.

And that was not all.

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Shane Morrow, the nephew of the victim who is living at Glendale Care Center in Toronto’s Swansea neighborhood, said that when he questioned a staff member, he was told that actually this was the second time a swastika had been drawn on his uncle’s body, by “a younger man,” according to a report published by Toronto.com.

Morrow said the staff member told him the first time, a swastika had been drawn on his Uncle Larry’s back — but that staff was able to wash that one off. This time, the swastika on Uncle Larry’s head was drawn in permanent black marker and was not washable.

The staffer then tried to scratch it off with her fingernail, Morrow said.

The distressed nephew also noticed bruises on his uncle’s arms, and began to wonder: “How did he get his shirt off? Why was his shirt off? Did this guy pull his shirt over his head and was abusing him?”

The staff member told Morrow the perpetrator had been caught and arrested, and the situation was under control. But Toronto Police media relations officer Constable Caroline de Kloet told Toronto.com there was no report filed for the address in question.

As if all this wasn’t horrific enough, Morrow said he found his Uncle Larry wearing dirty clothes, and the environment in which he was living was “unclean” at the facility, with a smell of feces and urine. “I wanted to grab my uncle, throw him on my back and get out of there,” he said.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease especially in the later stages of the illness, are at the mercy of those around them. They rely on family, facilities and medical centers with top supervision and management in place to ensure the best treatment and care, and the compassion and professional skills of those who care for them to ensure they are not taken advantage of, or God forbid, abused. At the end of the day, however, it falls to the family to ensure their loved one is cared for properly, regardless of where they live.

For more information and resources relating to Alzheimer’s disease, check out the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly website.

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