National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse (NASGA)
Dorothy Wilson is 85 years old and suffers from early dementia. She is not a stroke victim or in a wheelchair, and she does not need to be washed or bathed. She cleans and cooks for herself.
I applied for guardianship in December, 2008, but my siblings fought this. In March, 2009, a geriatric “care” manager and guardian were assigned to my mother and she was declared incapacitated. An order was issued for an aide in her home 24/7, but soon arrangements were made for Mom to stay with family on weekends. Restricted pickup and return times were ordered, and although I requested relief many times, but the judge refused to allow it. His decision was based on the care manager’s assertion that 9am on a Saturday to pickup and 9am on a Monday to return is the only time the agency, Home Companion Services of Port Jefferson, will allow.
One aide soon became Mom’s friend and confidant. On September 15, 2009, the care manager went to my mother’s house with a new aide that does not drive, and ordered the other aide to leave or she would call the police. Mom insisted she did not want Cheri to leave and she was threatened as well. The guardian claimed she did this for my mother’s “safety” although nothing had happened.
The court has refused to allow my mother to stay with family additional days when someone is available, which is what she wants, and would save her thousands of dollars in agency fees. No one listens to her or respects her wishes. After Mom complained to me and her attorney about the violation of her privacy and HIPPA rights, her attorney advised the judge via letter on October 30, 2009. False allegations were then made against me by the guardian and the care manager. On November 10, 2009, the guardian mailed a letter to me stating that I violated the court orders prohibiting anyone from discussing costs with Mom and she imposed supervised visitation.
Mom’s attorney requested a hearing, which was scheduled for Thanksgiving Eve. Despite the fact that I told the truth, the judge believed the lies of my siblings, the aide and the attorney. Since I was acting pro se, my witness was not allowed to testify. The guardian arranged for my siblings to take Mom for the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend, preventing my family and I from seeing her for the holiday. On December 3, the judge ruled that while there would be no supervised visitation, he stated that I had absolutely no credibility. This was based on the fact that my mother wrote letters pleading her case and I was accused of dictating them to her because my sister advised the guardian that my mother “cannot write.”
My mother was unhappy with the “visitation” arrangements that the guardian made for Christmas. She wrote a letter and called her. After my mother did that, the guardian sent me a letter refusing to allow my mother to visit with me and her grandchildren until 5PM on Christmas Day, instead allowing my siblings to take her for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
This is the most frightening abuse of power I have ever seen. It is virtually impossible to fight people like this unless you are very wealthy.
August 2011 UPDATE:
My name is Diane Wilson. My mother, Dorothy Wilson, is currently under the guardianship of Mary Giordano, of Franchina and Giordano, in Garden City, New York. The judge that has overseen the case from the beginning is Judge Joel Asarch of the Nassau County Supreme Court.
My story began December 8, 2008, when I found my mother on the floor in her home in Massapequa. I arrived there that day to move in to her home part time due to her memory loss and her need for household help. I had been caring for my mother’s needs for three years since my father passed. She was on the floor, incontinent, and gravely ill. I called an ambulance and my nightmare began.
My siblings and I do not speak due to a long family history of verbal and emotional abuse and lies and drama. My family advised me that I needed to apply for guardianship of my mother because they feared what my siblings would do to her. I had health care proxy and power of attorney. I applied, not knowing how corrupt the courts were. My intentions were twofold; to prevent her house from being sold; to never place her in a nursing home. My siblings fought it, on the basis that “I would tell my mother what to do.” A long, drawn out court battle ensued, and I was cast as the villain. According to everyone involved, including the judge, I did everything wrong. They all lied about me constantly. A reverse mortgage of $275,000 was taken out against my mother’s home in 2009. The judge stated in court that this would allow my mother to stay in her home with an aide for five years.
It is now two years later and the money is gone. The guardian, care manager and my siblings want to sell her house and imprison her in a nursing home. I work from home and I am willing to care for her in my home with the assistance of a part time aide. I also am presently converting one bathroom to make it handicapped accessible at my own expense. To give you an example of some of the things that happened during these past 2 1/2 years:
On Monday, August 1, there was yet another court conference held so the judge could make his decision whether to place my mother in a nursing home or be allowed to live with me. He made a decision to sell her home and force her to live in a nursing home although it is against her wishes, and despite the fact that I am able and willing to care for her in my home. Judge Asarch claimed that he thought long and hard about it but he decided that I cannot care for my mother, that I have no idea what her medical needs are, and that he was only concerned with her “safety.”
The care manager has also stated in her letter that my mother is worse than she actually is. Judge Asarch made his decision based on the fact that she fell one week ago when she got up from her commode in her bedroom. The aide called my brother, who went over there and picked her up and put her in bed. My brother notified the guardian and care manager about what happened, which led to the aide being fired by Anne Recht. The reason she was fired was due to her not notifying Anne Recht immediately. My mother and I called her attorney requesting immediate intervention but her attorney did nothing.
When I cared for my father, who was terminally ill in 2005 with pancreatic cancer, there were one or two occasions where he needed assistance in getting up from the bed or toilet and I was unable to do it alone. I called a neighbor and the problem was taken care of. This is not uncommon and also happens often in a nursing home.
I am fully aware of what my mother’s medical needs are. She is in her home with one aide now. She needs to have her meals made for her. She feeds herself. She needs to have her pills handed to her. She takes them herself. She needs to have her colostomy bag changed. I am familiar with changing a colostomy bag. She walks to the bathroom and has a physical therapist come every few days to work with her. A physical therapist can do the same in my home. She needs to be driven to the doctor or anywhere she wants to go. I have a car and can drive her where she needs to go. I am perfectly capable of picking up her prescriptions and reading the instructions as to how many she gets per day. Right now the guardian pays a nurse out of my mother’s funds to do this. I did this for both of my parents for years.
The geriatric care manager, Anne Recht, was sent to my home on Wednesday, July 27, to determine if it was “safe” for my mother. The care manager sent a letter to the judge that my home is acceptable for my mother but I don’t know what her medical needs really are so I can’t care for her.
During the hearing, the judge criticized me over and over again. He claimed that I wanted to micromanage my mother’s care, that according to my letters and faxes and testimony “things were never Diane Wilson’s fault; they were everybody else’s fault.” Not once did Judge Joel Asarch ever state or note for the record that my correspondence and testimony were my responses to the correspondence and testimony from Mary Giordano and Anne Recht and my siblings. During this entire guardianship proceeding, I have been accused of doing anything and everything wrong in every case. I have been crucified by the court and the guardian because I was the only one speaking up for my mother.
Judge Asarch stated for the record that I have not spoken to my brother for three years because I have a relationship with his ex-wife. That is completely false; yet he states it as a fact. If I were to testify to the truth or write a letter with the facts I would be criticized. The court refuses to accept any truth from me.
Mary Giordano and Anne Recht want total control of my mother and want nothing more than to imprison her; Judge Asarch has allowed this. My mother is so intimidated by these people, so afraid to use her own voice. I have been her voice to express her wishes in every case. Last week in court she stated emphatically that she does NOT want to go into a nursing home. My siblings are so angry that I brought this to court in the first place that they are doing anything and everything they can to make me look wrong on every level, despite the fact that they are hurting my mother. When the judge announced his decision my siblings were actually gleeful. My siblings also stated in court that they would never see my mother if she lived with me. Although I stated that they could come and pick her up anytime and she would have unlimited telephone contact with them, they stated that they would not even consider it or drive out to my house, which is a 30 minute drive from where they both currently live.
This is supposed to be about my mother, yet all of the parties involved are using this as a venue against me. This is WRONG, on every level.
Judge Asarch stated he was leaving the case open for a few days to see if someone could come up with the funds to keep my mother in her home with an aide. He also stated that he is aware that we could not come up with $5000.00 per month to pay for an aide.
I work from home. The proceeds from the sale of her home would pay for an aide in my home. I believe Medicare will cover some hours for an aide. I do not need an aide with my mother 24/7. I would only need an aide for Mom about five hours per day, four or five days per week. In the event I need to go out and Mom could not come with me I would hire an aide for that time period.
The fact that this man has so much power to imprison an innocent human being just for revenge is extremely frightening. This is not at all about safety for my mother.