Colo. Springs man accused of leaving injured mother on floor for 5 days

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- She took care of him since birth. But when it came time for a Colorado Springs man to take care of his aging mother, police say, he abused her instead.

Investigators say it happened inside the home at 1941 Kodiak Dr. on Jan. 24.
A son admitted leaving his 86-year-old mother on the floor for five days -- injured and lying in her own filth.

But the way neighbors talk, her son isn't to blame -- the system is.

"I feel very bad for him," says next-door-neighbor Martha Dalton.

It is 50-year-old Dennis Foust for whom neighbors feel sorry. Even though an arrest affidavit says he's the one who left his mother Greta Foust "...covered in feces and lying underneath a heap consisting of soiled sheets and a comforter as well as pieces of trash."

"I think the young man has done beyond his ability to take care of his mother. I think the system should have been helping him," says Dalton.

Helping him, they say, because he too is handicapped.

"Dennis can't even bend over. He walks with a walker. He's in bad condition. And it's not right to just dump everything onto him and then say, 'Oh, you neglected your mother,'" she says.

The affidavit says "...she had been urinating regularly on herself since she has been lying on the ground ... the patient had sores on her entire right leg where she had been lying..."
it goes onto say "...her son refused to provide any assistance to her ... that he walked over or around her and called her names ... that he threw Gatorade bottles at her for her to drink..."

But the son told medics his mother refused to let him call 911 because she didn't want to go a nursing home.

Other neighbors suspect Dennis got in over his head.

The agency on aging for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments says it happens frequently to adult children who choose to care for an aging parent.

"We undervalue, under-appreciate and underestimate the difficulty of the task of being a caregiver," says Kent Mathews with PPACG's Area Agency on Aging.

Mathews says it is often much more intense than the adult child ever thought possible. "They're going to feel stuck. They're going to feel trapped, then wind up not providing the care like they thought because they are burned out, they're fatigued, they're stressed," he says.

Colorado's adult protective services says it cannot comment on this case.

But says help and resources are available for families like this.

It says it has seen a slight increase in reports about elder abuse in the last year -- about 10,846 statewide -- with family members accounting for 77-percent of alleged perpetrators.

Foust is out of jail on $15,000 bond.

He faces a felony charge of crimes against an at-risk adult.

See resources in Colorado for elder abuse reporting here