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Swastika drawn on head of man with Alzheimer’s in care home

Last Updated Jan 9, 2020 at 10:57 pm EDT

What was supposed to be a pleasant visit at a supposed home care facility turned into a series of shocking and distressing revelations for a Toronto man and his 65-year-old uncle.

Shane Morrow found his uncle Larry “confused and scared” when he went to see him at Glendale Care Centre. He looked disheveled and unkempt and there were drawings on his head.

“It was really horrifying,” says Morrow. “When he had come out it looked like stitches on the top of his head. And then I kind of looked closer and my mom looked at me and I raised my eyes and said, ‘Do you see that on his head?’ …and I took a closer look and it was a swastika and I was horrified. My mom couldn’t believe her eyes either.”

According to the family, Larry suffers from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Glendale Care Centre is not a registered long-term care home, but according to City of Toronto records is licensed as a rooming house.

It also appears to operate under another name — Lakeview Lifecare Centre — according to a food handling inspection report that was posted in its kitchen under that name.

When CityNews visited Larry along with his nephew, there were several residents with various degrees of developmental, mental and physical challenges, sitting in a somewhat run down lobby, watching a cable information channel. The furniture and decor were old and decaying and the residents didn’t appear to be supervised.

Larry was covered in porridge — a breakfast served hours earlier. He was sitting alone at a table, facing a wall, unsupervised.

 

It’s not exactly what Glendale’s website promises. Under it’s “Services” section, it lists having amenities such as 24-hour supervision, a nurse on call, a house doctor and activities director, among other things. It touts that it “is a housing facility equipped to provide short and long term care when necessary.”

Another page promises that they “endeavour to provide a living environment that is conducive to fulfilling a wholesome setting for the residence. Friends and family are welcome to visit.”

There are several residential tenancy agreements on the website, some with spelling errors, which ask for information such as medical history, money management skills and sexual behaviours. There are also spaces to fill in information about substance abuse problems, psychiatric problems and medical professionals’ contact information.

CityNews spoke with a woman who was preparing a meal — behind bars — in their kitchen. She claimed to be a registered nurse but refused to provide her name or proof she was licensed to the family.

She said she called the police when she found Larry’s head and back covered in swastikas and claimed another resident was responsible and arrested.

“I asked the nurse about how he got this on his head and she said that somebody did it to him and this gentleman was arrested,” said Sean. “To our knowledge nobody was arrested. Our uncle is really sick … it’s really unprofessional and staff are unprofessional. It’s an embarrassment.”

CityNews has confirmed that an arrest was made in this case and charges are pending.

While at the home, CityNews noted two staff members on site, although there may have been more. We saw a developmentally challenged resident being ordered to sweep and clean up the common area floor. There appeared to be very little entertainment for residents who were able to freely leave through unlocked doors.

Larry’s sister Patricia says not having adequate security or personnel can be a danger for her brother in his condition.

“I took him to the door to look out because he is not allowed to go out but he knows that. But the door is freely open,” she explained when speaking about one incident that happened. “You can walk …my brother has taken off before many times. So it’s dangerous for him because he doesn’t know a lot.”

Staff on hand refused to provide comment and calls to Glendale were not returned. The number listed for Lakeview is out of service. When CityNews was asked to leave the premises, we immediately complied.

After Shane posted his initial concerns on a Facebook group, the Centre for Israeli and Jewish Affairs issued a statement:

“We are horrified by reports that an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s was brutally abused at a Toronto care facility. That someone would commit such a vicious assault on a human being in our society is almost beyond belief. We have reached out to the family member of the victim to offer support and have contacted police and government to voice our serious concerns that something like this could ever happen.”

It’s unclear how long the swastika was on Larry’s head and back. While Shane says he took the picture on Monday, it appeared as though it had been there for several days. By Thursday, it was completely gone.