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A 92-year-old woman is in an induced coma with stab wounds and head fractures after she was allegedly attacked at home by her cleaner in Sydney's inner west.
Emergency services were called after a personal panic alarm was activated from an address on Holden Street, Ashbury, about 10.45am on Wednesday.
They discovered the elderly mother - who lives at the address alone - bleeding heavily from her scalp and abdomen, police said.
The victim was conscious at the time and provided police with "invaluable" information, Superintendent David Johnson told reporters on Thursday.
She was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a serious condition and underwent emergency surgery for face and body injuries, plus several stab wounds.
She is now in an induced coma and will require further surgery, Supt Johnson said.
He said a person was seen entering the backyard of a neighbour and when the neighbour went to investigate, they heard the woman moaning.
A 35-year-old woman, who police believe was working as a cleaner at the home, was later arrested after a vehicle stop in Illawong, in the city's south.
She was taken to Sutherland Hospital for an ankle injury sustained before her arrest, and charged with attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
She faced Parramatta Local Court via video link on Thursday afternoon. It's expected she'll apply for bail at her next court appearance on January 9.
Supt Johnson said it's unclear what the attacker's motive was but he described it as a one-off incident.
The younger woman had been employed by the victim for about 12 months.
Several crime scenes around the home have been set up and a number of items seized for forensic testing.
"I think the injuries are very serious and I think that everyone is very concerned about the condition of this elderly lady," Supt Johnson said.
"Whilst the injuries I understand are survivable, given the elderly age and the frailty of the victim, I suppose it will be in the next days and weeks we will no doubt have a greater indication of whether she will pull through or not.
"Of course we are all hoping and praying that that is the case."
Supt Johnson encouraged others who live alone to consider getting a body-worn alarm.
"Not only if people have a fall, but if there's an intruder or any other incident where they require assistance, they can activate these duress alarms and they will get help within a very short period of time," he said.
"I'm sure that that device actually assisted us to save that victim's life."