"Granny Cam" Captures Images of Abuse

When 87-year-old Modesta Alvarado suffered a stroke last year, she was left paralyzed, but aware. Her daughter, Gloria Diaz, made the difficult decision to place Ms. Alvarado in a nursing home. She visited everyday and became friendly with the nurses and caregivers. And yet, something was wrong….

Diaz kept finding unexplained bruises on her mother. Despite multiple complaints, nothing was ever done. Suspicions raised, Diaz hid a camera in her mother’s nursing home room. According to an article on NorthJersey.com:

Police said the video shows Julia Galvan, a 59-year-old North Bergen [New Jersey] resident, slapping Modesta Alvarado’s head, then delivering two more fierce blows on Jan. 15. Alvarado’s eyes and mouth opened wide in reaction to the aide’s abuse. Galvan is also seen on the film pulling off Alvarado’s oxygen mask, attorney Eugene Horn said. The elderly patient, who had suffered a stroke a year ago and couldn’t move, was unable to defend herself, Horn said.

Ms. Alvarado was found dead by staff less than 24 hours after the alleged attack was caught on tape, but the medical examiner found that the abuse did not cause the death.

Abuse should never be tolerated, and abuse of a helpless elderly person is especially heinous. It’s a shame that Ms. Diaz’s concerns were never addressed, leaving her frustrated enough that she felt she had no other choice but to get answers via a hidden camera.

“They [the nursing home] promise they will take care of a loved one if you are not able to,” Horn said. “They promise dignity and safety and unfortunately that was not the case.”


If you want to purchase your own “Granny Cam,” choose a reputable company. Many electronics are manufactured at very low cost overseas, and many are of low quality–some have a fail-rate of 30%. Among the best companies that provide hidden-camera options is Spy Camera Specialists (www.spycameras.com). There are many options that provide flexibility in how you can hide the camera, so peruse the site and choose the model that suits your needs. Be sure to keep in mind: 1) camera resolution; 2) battery life; 3) memory capability; 4) whether you can have motion-detection features (which can preserve battery and camera memory, especially in a relatively quiet nursing home room); and 5) video retrieval (for example, is the camera compatible with your computer).

And if you believe that someone you love is being abused in a nursing home and want to discuss your legal options, feel free to call us at 919-781-1107. We’re available 24/7. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

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