British Columbia

Caregiver sent to jail on weekends for abuse of elderly Alzheimer's patient

A paid caregiver who was caught on video assaulting a partially paralyzed woman with Alzheimer’s has been sent to jail.

Lydia Llanto was caught on video slapping the partially paralyzed woman in a Coquitlam care home

Malekah Kazemi appeared docile while she was hit by her paid caregiver, Lydia Llanto. (Shutterstock)

A paid caregiver who was caught on video assaulting a partially paralyzed woman with Alzheimer's has been sent to jail.

Last month, a B.C. provincial court judge sentenced 41-year-old Lydia Llanto to 60 days' intermittent imprisonment on the weekends after she pleaded guilty to one count of assault.

Video from a hidden camera shows Llanto slapping her longtime charge, Malekah Kazemi, multiple times, according to a sentencing decision from Judge Robin McQuillan.

"These assaults did not appear to be particularly forceful if the victim was a young person, but to a fragile 88-year-old woman they would no doubt be traumatic and potentially dangerous," McQuillan wrote.

'This lady hits me'

Kazemi's family hired Llanto in 2012 to take care of the ailing woman and her husband in their home on the North Shore, according to the decision. Born and raised in the Philippines, Llanto had worked in Hong Kong and Taiwan before moving to the Lower Mainland.

A couple of years into Llanto's employment with the family, a stroke left Kazemi partially paralyzed.

Though Kazemi's family moved her into a care home, Llanto stayed on as a paid companion, even convincing the family to place Kazemi in a home in Coquitlam, where it would be more convenient for her.

Kazemi's son, surgeon Dr. Kamyar Kazemi, said he starting worrying about abuse in November 2016, when his mom asked him not to leave at the end of a visit and said "this lady hits me."

He set up a video camera in her room to find out the truth.

When he reviewed the video after just 72 hours, he saw Llanto using an open hand to slap Kazemi on the legs, forehead, mouth, and top and back of the head, while the elderly woman remained largely docile.

"She also appeared to make threatening gestures towards her, and, in one case, held up a fruit knife to her in a threatening way," McQuillan wrote.

The son called the police, and Llanto was arrested.

'Considerable guilt and shame'

Because of Kazemi's condition, she wasn't able to give a victim impact statement, but her son spoke at a sentencing hearing about how the abuse affected him.

"He says that viewing the abuse suffered by his mother in the video makes him imagine the years of abuse that she may have suffered and being unable to report it. This causes him considerable guilt and shame and he is haunted by the images in the videos," McQuillan wrote.

Looking back, the younger Kazemi told the court he now remembers multiple bruises on his mother that Llanto explained away, and facial pain and bleeding gums that were blamed on ill-fitting dentures.

Llanto has no previous criminal record, and she has been working as a night-shift cleaner at Walmart since her arrest.

Once her jail term is up, she will also serve 12 months of probation, and must provide a letter of apology to the Kazemi family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a journalist for CBC News in Vancouver with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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