By Nancy Gregory-McLendon (formerly Nancy Scott)
June 15, 2021 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

I am definitely my mother’s daughter. We shared a profession (retired school teachers), a love of reading, writing, and travel. My mother was a true fighter; you don’t live to be 103 years old without having a will to live.

My mom took care of me when I was young and, as the years passed, our roles shifted as I became her caregiver. For 30 years, my mom trusted me to act as her Power of Attorney for financial and medical matters. We thought we had prepared for the inevitable – I would be responsible for managing her affairs when the time came – but we were about to learn otherwise.


What I didn’t know, (and who would know this ahead of time?) was the guardian and conservatorship arena is no place for the uninformed. The phrase, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to guardianships.

In America, a judge can determine a person to be incapacitated and take away their civil liberties with shockingly little evidence. A judge can also ignore a power of attorney or health care directive and appoint a person of their choosing instead. A guardian can liquidate property and belongings and take percentage of the proceeds as a commission. The guardian can also isolate their ward (victim) from friends and family.

My mom and I did not seek assistance from the Jefferson County Probate Court, but that didn’t stop them from taking charge of her life. More