Maid jailed 8 months for abusing 89-year-old woman with dementia

Singapore’s State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

For over a month, an Indonesian maid abused an 89-year-old dementia-stricken woman whom she was caring for by pinching the victim hard and poking her on the eye.

The elderly woman would not remember the incidents of abuse as she suffered from mild Alzheimer’s dementia disease, which caused her to forget events that occurred even a few minutes earlier.

On Monday, Yesana Elizabeth Doliab, 30, was sentenced to eight months’ jail in the State Courts on two counts of voluntarily causing hurt to Mary Tan in the elderly woman’s Sengkang flat, which she shared with six other family members.

Yesana had been working for the family for about a month late last year when the incidents took place. She would care for Tan’s daily needs, such as feeding, changing of clothes and showering.

Between 1 August and 15 September 2017, upset that Tan had called her “stupid” and had pushed her head on some occasions, Yesana pinched Tan hard on her breast, hip, buttock and back, causing Tan to sustain multiple bruises on her body.

On a separate occasion on 15 September last year, Yesana was transferring Tan to the bed from her wheelchair at around 10am when Tan’s pyjamas got caught in the wheelchair. Tan pulled Yesana’s hair and the maid retaliated by poking Tan’s left eye with her right index finger, causing her eye to redden.

After Tan’s granddaughter noticed that the victim’s eyes were “bloodshot red” and had bruises that had been present for the past few weeks, she called the police around midnight on 15 September.  The maid denied abusing Tan despite being questioned by her employers, according to the granddaughter.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Derek Ee called for a sentence of eight months, saying that Tan was a vulnerable victim who had limited mobility and suffered from dementia.

The prosecution added that Yesana knew Tan could not remember the assaults and hence continued to abuse her.

“(Yesana) was entrusted with the care of (Tan). However whenever she became upset with the elderly victim, she vented out her anger by using physical violence on (her),” said the DPP.

“Each time, the elderly victim did not fight back and would eventually forget about the assault altogether… It was only because these injuries began to show that the family members suspected foul play,” said the DPP.

Yesana, who was unrepresented, apologised to her employers through an interpreter and asked for a lenient sentence. She was seen tearing in court.

District Judge Dorothy Ling noted that Yesana experienced some provocation but had attacked an elderly victim on the vulnerable parts of her body, adding that the maid was supposed to be caring for her charge.

Yesana could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 on each count of voluntarily causing hurt.

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