Yolanda Farrell lay mostly paralyzed in a nursing home, unable to feed or dress herself, when her homeless daughter persuaded her to move out.
Linda Maureen Raye, who relatives say had been living in her car with her dog, used her mother’s Social Security to pay for a one-bedroom Riverside, California, apartment and took over as Farrell’s sole caregiver in 2010.
Over the next two years, according to police and court records, Raye took her elderly mother to the doctor once. As her mother’s health declined, Raye stopped cooperating with a nurse sent to advise her on preventing bedsores.
Yet in 2012, Raye was hired officially: She began collecting about $900 a month from taxpayers under the state’s in-home care program for poor people, according to law-enforcement authorities.
By the end of that year, Farrell, an 85-year-old former real-estate underwriter who loved to travel, had died of septic shock resulting from severe bedsore infections. Originally charged with murder, Raye, 60, pleaded guilty to elder abuse in September and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
“She essentially neglected her to death,” said Riverside Police Detective Christian Vaughan, who investigated the case.
California’s frail elderly and disabled residents increasingly are receiving care in their own homes, an arrangement that saves the government money and offers many people a greater sense of comfort and autonomy than life in an institution. Yet caregivers are largely untrained and unsupervised, even when paid by the state, leaving thousands of residents at risk of possible abuse, neglect and poor treatment.