Police: Elderly Bothell man beaten with a lamp and cane

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 21 at 11:00 PM

Court documents are providing new details on the assault of a 92-year-old in Bothell.  According to felony affidavits, John Staeber, who has Alzheimer's, was beaten with a lamp and a cane, allegedly at the hands of his caregiver.

Staeber remains at Harborview Medical Center, in serious condition.

A felony affidavit says he suffered fractures to the bones in his face and ribs, injuries to his spleen, displaced teeth, deep lacerations to his head, and bruises on his chest, arms, and legs.

The affidavit also says 52-year-old Anna Ward, who worked as his caretaker, admitted to attacking him.

She allegedly told investigators she "hit him real good" because she was tired of taking care of him.  On the day of the assault, she says he was verbally abusive and threatened to kick her and her daughter out of his home.

Ward and the teenage girl were living at Staeber's home rent-free, in exchange for taking care of him.  Ward told investigators he had promised to leave her the house when he dies.

The allegations of abuse quickly caught the attention of the Alzheimer's Association of Western Washington, and many of the families the organization serves.

Brittany Mosser is with the Alzheimer's Association.  She says that anytime there is an incident like the one that allegedly played out at Staeber's Bothell home, they get calls from people who are worried about choosing the right caregiver for their own loved one.

"If you are using an agency to hire an in-home care provider, have a conversation with the owner of the agency," she said.  "What is their safety record, what is their background?  And if you're hiring an on-home care provider privately, set up a contract, write it down, exactly what are they going to be doing for your loved one."

She says you can never ask too many questions when it comes to finding a caregiver for a relative that suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia.

The Alzheimer's Association has a 24/7 helpline for both families and caregivers.  That number is 1-800-272-3900.

Next week, Governor Jay Inslee will sign new legislation that will help create a statewide Alzheimer's disease plan.  Until now, Washington was one of only six states in the country without such a plan.

Advocates say it will provide more support to patients like Staeber, more training to caregivers, and hopefully prevent elderly abuse from happening.

Neighbors told KING 5 Staeber had once told them he'd known Ward for a long time.  It's not exactly clear how he chose to hire her as his caregiver.  It does not appear she worked for or was associated with any particular company or in-home care provider.

She's being held on $1 million bond in connection to the case.

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