Elderly caregiver in assault video appears before Houston judge

UPDATE 1/30 11:48:  The caretaker who authorities say assaulted an elderly woman appeared before the judge this morning for her first court appearance.  Brenda Floyd was caught on video beating a 94-year-old woman she was entrusted to care for.  Houston arrested Floyd last Friday morning. 

Houston police say they have arrested an elderly caregiver that they say was caught on video striking the elderly woman she was entrusted to care for.  According to initial reports, HPD got a call about a suspicious person the 59 and Fulton area.  They recognized and arrested Brenda Floyd at 2:30am.  Floyd is now in Harris County Jail.

The disturbing video, recorded by home surveillance earlier this month, showed Floyd repeatedly hitting a 94-year-old Alzheimer's patient. The home surveillance video of the defenseless 94-year-old woman being attacked is disturbing, but the clip has been watched millions of times and shared on social media for one main reason.  As Sharon Kaye on Facebook says, "I pray in the name of Jesus this evil hateful devil is caught.”

Investigators say that the woman in the video beating the 94-year-old woman is her home health care worker Brenda Floyd, who is now arrested with abuse of an elderly person. According to investigators, the family of the victim, Dorothy Bratten even bought a car for Floyd, but were alarmed when they say bruises on her body.  That's when they set up a webcam in the living room to potentially catch the abuse.  The victim couldn't speak for herself, so family member

So how do you know if the person you're hiring to care for your parents or grandparents is trustworthy? 

”It’s always good to do as many background checks as you can,” says Rachel Portnoy, community engagement specialist with Adult Protective Services. 

She suggests you start by checking their references.  ”Sometimes that’s not good enough. Those could be fraudulent references.  You never really know.” 

Portnoy points out you should also go several steps further.  ”If they have a small business, call the Better Business Bureau and check it out with them.  If they’re going to be doing healthcare-type duties you can check the Employee Misconduct Registry. That’s called the EMR and that’s through the Department of Aging and Disability Services,” says Portnoy.

Even after that Portnoy suggests you then run a federal background check.  ”You should do that through the FBI.  If you go to National Criminal Background check the FBI page will pull up.” And don't stop there.  ”Go over there unannounced. Talk to your loved one in private and make sure everything is going as it should be going”.

Of course, investing in a camera, explains Portnoy, is an excellent way to watch what's happening when you're not there.

Police say the family of this elderly woman trusted Floyd and even bought her a car, but the first day the camera was installed is when the disturbing video was captured.

Rachel Portnoy also reminds us, “Make sure you’re checking their (the elderly) finances.  Make sure their bills haven’t changed." Portnoy says the elderly are also prey for financial crimes.  “It could be someone going into their bank account and taking out money for their own purposes, but it could be sneakier than that.  Perhaps a caregiver has permission to use a credit or debit card to shop for your parents or grandparents but the caregiver could also be getting beer and cigarettes for themselves or a television for themselves.  So make sure the spending was the same before this person was hired as it is after they are hired”.

She says communication is key and reminds us not to allow caregivers to isolate an elderly person, and make sure you have serious conversations out of the presence of the caregiver.  “They could be fearful of that new helper that’s in the home.  So if you ask them how things are going when that person is in the home they might not be giving you the real answer.”