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Caring for Elders: Heartbreak and Guardian Abuse

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Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:12 am   /   by   /

The elderly in American society shouldn’t have to plan for the loss of their rights and their estates in their old age. But the current guardianship system threatens the retired community with just that.

Guardian abuse came about from a broken system. States often provide guardians for when the elderly and incapacitated need outside care. County or state courts appoint them to take care of their wards either personally or financially.

But the system failed thousands of people by allowing dishonest people and corrupt politicians to handle guardianship. Public guardians cut off wards from communication with their families, charge massive fees, and in some cases, cause the death of their wards.

A System Motivated By Greed

Not all guardians commit these atrocities. However, more and more victims report guardian abuse every day.

“It’s nothing personal, it’s all about the money,” says Charlie Pascal, whose mother-in-law was a victim. “That’s what I tell all the victims. You have to get past it.”

The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA) writes that guardianship laws threaten “the health and wealth to our elderly and disabled citizens.” Director Elaine Renoire said that while people are working to pass laws, “legislation is slow moving, so we’re still at it.”

Guardianships For No Reason

The system supposedly helps those that need it. But what happens when those that don’t get caught?

When Mary Whitten and her sister, Cos Skaife, dealt with their uncle’s guardianship in the State of Pennsylvania, they had no idea how much was involved. The two collected horror stories of wards over-medicated and isolated from their families by unscrupulous guardians.

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Updated Open Letter to MI AG Dana Nessel to include developments in Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw and St. Clair Counties.

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Please share widely.

“During your campaign, you pledged that “As AG, I will increase resources to defend seniors from neglect, abuse, and exploitation. I’ll ensure that unsafe assisted living facilities and in-home care providers are stripped of their licenses, issue scam notifications for public awareness, and vigorously prosecute cases of Medicaid fraud.”

It seems this particular promise came with conditions that did not include anyone other than allegedly abusive family members or low-level nursing home employees such as CNAs.

Clearly, with regards to this issue, you are just another corrupt politician.”

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Gretchen Rachel Hammond on Facebook

Open letter to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Ms. Nessel,

In 2018, as you were running for Michigan Attorney General, I was an award-winning investigative journalist, member of the LGBTQ community and Democrat. Had I also been a resident of Michigan, I would have cast an enthusiastic vote for both you and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. This was not because of my political and social backgrounds.

I’ve interviewed politicians, lines of them. All of them parroted whatever talking points they thought my newspaper’s readers wanted to hear. The post-election reality was, as expected, entirely different.

You ran a campaign that seemed to be based on genuine sincerity rather than expedient politics.
“It’s just a basic belief that it’s never the wrong time to fight for justice,” you said. “It’s never the wrong time to fight for what’s right, and that there are so many people out there clamoring for representation, clamoring to have their voices heard, clamoring for recognition of their rights and equal dignity, just as human beings.”

Having spent my career, driven by the same ideology, your promises resonated with me as much as they clearly did with Michigan’s voters who included the voiceless.

But the post-election reality is that you have not only broken that promise, but actively shielded the alleged perpetrators of some of the most horrific and repugnant crimes and flagrant abuses of civil and human rights in Michigan’s history. More

Abuse and exploitation of Michigan’s vulnerable by the Oakland County Probate Court

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Published on Aug 30, 2019

In 2018, a team of journalists and a forensic examiner began an investigation into the alleged abuse of thousands of senior and developmentally disabled individuals by judges and attorneys in a Michigan probate court. This is a fraction of what was uncovered. For the full story, click here : https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019…

TS Radio Network: Coz & Marti ..The Predators Walk Among US!

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Join us Friday evening August 30. 2019 at 7:00 pm CST!

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The Fortress Part Two of Five: Protected in Hell

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Padlocked refrigerator at Oak Park unlicensed group home. Image by Slone Terranella

A Michigan court tasked with protecting its most vulnerable citizens has become home to a roiling controversy charging abuse, exploitation, robbery and neglect.

By Gretchen Rachel Hammond, Slone Terranella, Ellen Chamberlain and Hope Winkles

Editor: Christie Chisholm

Research: Gretchen Rachel Hammond, Slone Terranella, Ellen Chamberlain and Hope Winkles

Forensic investigator: Tim Mulholland, CFE, MSAF

“Get me the hell out of here!”

It was a Saturday evening on Thanksgiving weekend, 2018, and Carolyn was sobbing bitterly in the living room of an unassuming four-bedroom bungalow on Leslie Street in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park.

The home was one of a myriad of unlicensed small group facilities across Michigan’s Oakland, Wayne and Genesee Counties in which adults and developmentally disabled individuals have been placed after being declared an “incapacitated ward” by Oakland County Probate Court Judges, Jennifer Callaghan, Linda Hallmark, Daniel A. O’Brien and Chief Judge Kathleen Ryan.

Carolyn, 64, who like her two roommates, Rita and Mary, asked to keep her last name private, had been moved into the facility by her court-appointed guardian and former Oakland County Public Administrator John Yun.

The three women told this investigation that they had been alone since the previous Wednesday, when all staff left for the Thanksgiving holiday. On their way out, someone had wrapped a large chain around the handles of the kitchen’s refrigerator/freezer combo unit and padlocked them shut. More

The Fortress Part One of Five: Unacknowledged and Unprotected.

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A Michigan court tasked with protecting its most vulnerable citizens has become home to a roiling controversy charging abuse, exploitation, robbery and neglect.

By Gretchen Rachel Hammond 

In the frigid, early morning of Monday, March 25, 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel held a press conference announcing a task force primarily charged with reforming a court system rooted in medieval English law.

According to state and national activists, it’s a system that has been left unchecked for decades and is now so broken that it has led to unprecedented judicial overreach and the eradication of the constitutional, civil and human rights of thousands of Americans who have suffered from resulting neglect, isolation, abuse, torture and theft on a massive scale, allegedly at the hands of the same individuals assigned to protect them.

Both in Michigan and nationwide, the system is called “guardianship” and/or “conservatorship.” Once assigned to an individual that a probate or family court judge declares “legally incapacitated” and unable to manage their own affairs, often a complete stranger in the form of a court-appointed guardian or conservator assumes control over every aspect of that person’s life.

Every last possession, penny and decision is handed over to one of Michigan’s professional guardians and conservators culled from a pool of county public administrators, estate and probate attorneys or private guardianship companies.

In as little as a year, wards have been rendered completely indigent and reliant upon social services and benefits such as Medicaid. Their homes are gone, as are their savings accounts, IRAs, investment accounts, cars, personal belongings, keepsakes, heirlooms, jewelry and even their clothing. Every dollar of their social security, disability income or pensions falls under the control of their guardians with the exception of an allowance as low as $60 per month.

Inevitably, it’s the developmentally disabled and exponentially growing senior populations who are the most affected not only in Michigan but nationwide. Advocates for both groups claim that guardianship, by design, results in a “civil death” for those who are subjected to it and that, although free from any charges of wrongdoing, a person under guardianship has less rights than an imprisoned felon.

Pro-guardianship organizations claim such statements are histrionic; that a guardian has simply assumed the rights of an incapacitated individual, also called a “ward,” as a protective barrier against those who would exploit them. More

Old Age Seen as Justification for Forcing Woman onto Hospice

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By Terri LaPoint

August 23, 2019

The admission sounded like something out of “Logan’s Run” or other dystopian sci-fi movie, not an explanation one would expect to hear from legal associates. Nancy Scott and others who joined her in a peaceful prayer vigil for her mother’s life on Tuesday, August 20, were stunned when representatives from the court-appointed guardian’s office explained that the reason that retired Alabama schoolteacher Marian Leonard was on hospice was because she was old.

According to Medicare.gov, hospice care is supposed to be for people who are certified by a hospice doctor and the patient’s regular doctor that they are terminally ill with a “life expectancy of 6 months or less.” Hospice care is palliative, or “comfort” care, rather than curative care, and it is supposed to be a choice that the patient makes, not a decision thrust upon them without their consent.

That is not what has happened with Marian Leonard. When the state seized guardianship of Mrs. Leonard in February 2018 at the request of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Department of Human Resources (DHR), she was forced into a nursing home, Diversicare of Riverchase, and forced onto hospice care, against her will and that of her designated Power of Attorney, her daughter Nancy Scott. More

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