In 2011 and 2012 I wrote a series of articles on elder and guardianship abuse. A friend of mine, Diane Wilson, was going through a terrible time trying to protect her mother from our judicial system. This is one of a series of articles.
by Jim Fargiano
September 6, 2011
My last posted article took me far away from my comfort zone. In “A Heartbreaking Story of Elder Abuse” I outlined the plight of my friend’s fight for her mother’s rights to be restored. Whether you believe in the ability of mediums and psychics or not, that is generally what my efforts are put into. It was not something I sought, but rather given by a Power unexplained to me. Over the years it has allowed me to have helped thousands of people get focused on their life path, as well as to bring about a healing to most of them on numerous levels. The reason I am sharing this is that I have always tried to adjust to what is requested of me by the “inner drive” that often seems to differ from my personal concepts, wants and desires. That probably makes more sense to those of you who are on a good spiritual or religious path.
As my friend, Diane, continues to put up a noble effort to overcome court decisions that have consistently denied her of her rights, as well as violated her mother, Dorothy’s rights, it became evident that “someone” wanted me to take on a more active role in bringing this situation to light. In my circle, my abilities and strengths are fairly well-known. I have shied away from the spotlight for many personal reasons; most based on my own insecurities. That was one of the causes for me to be feeling a bit timid about this new push to bring attention to something well out of my cocoon of safety. However, I also knew how important it was to move forward.
Considering that bringing attention to another elder abuse case going on in this country has brought me numerous e-mails and messages asking for my assistance in similar situations that others are facing, I hesitated even more in writing this second article. However, if I stay silent, I am only adding to the problem and not helping it to be recognized. That would put me in the same cluster of others who know about elder and guardian abuse, but do little to stop it. Apparently, my personal phobias are being overridden in the hopes that some of what I share will help at least one person. I am as far from an activist as anyone could be, as the inspirations and teaching I do comes in the form of allowing others to be self-empowered.
It was curiosity that got the best of me. Diane, who I have known for closer to six years, has never showed herself to be anything but loving and concerned about others. There are some people who are natural magnets for ridicule by family and strangers alike. Usually, this is because those people are either jealous or feel threatened by those who are trying to do the right things in life. Many of them are judging without cause. It is a problem that runs unnecessarily rampant in society. For over two years, I witnessed Diane struggle to deal with a judge’s power and ego-driven attitude in making his decisions. His rulings were based on blatant lies by others, testimony and statements that in many cases would be seen as perjury, are what shaped his erroneous opinions of my friend. It is a dangerous precedent to disparage someone for their behavior when you have nothing more than the hearsay of the people you put in control of an elderly woman, and who is financially benefitting from having autonomy over her.
I decided to do more than just give Diane moral support and have made a conscious decision to let other people across the country know about her battle to save her mother from being unwillingly incarcerated in a nursing home. While I know many facilities are excellent, none of them are excellent enough to override the desire to want to stay in your own home of sixty years, or to stay the remaining years of your life with the one daughter (in this case) who loves and wants to take care of you. I cannot understand how the laws that are supposed to protect people--under the guidance of judges--are twisted so that the judges and lawyers can benefit, instead of protecting the citizens who need the help.
My career has me dealing with emotional situations amongst family members on a weekly, if not daily basis. One person would tell me things about their spouses, parents, children or siblings that would make them seem like monsters. The truth is almost always better, albeit in many cases somewhat true. Personally, Diane would tell me about the differences she had with her siblings, yet I did not ever hear her say anything horrid about them. While I totally believed her, in the last few days I have witnessed a side to them that magnifies their attitudes and the truth of my good friend. This came through comments they made on a Facebook page intended to shed some knowledge about Dorothy’s plight. One made comments that showed he was only thinking about himself, and not an inkling of concern for his mother. The other posted an angry, vile, run-on sentence of baseless accusations and name calling. Again, it showed me that Diane had every reason to try to legally protect her mother from them.
My assessment of what has been happening came more into focus. Dorothy is being used as a pawn by a judge, law guardian and healthcare manager who all seem to be benefitting from a rift in the family. While Diane’s siblings made it pretty clear that it is all about money or themselves (my viewpoint after reading and hearing about some of the courtroom escapades), they have done nothing, in my opinion, to have helped their mother to live with some dignity. I have no right to attack her siblings, and quite frankly am not doing that, nor do I have any interest in doing so. Had they not decided to oppose that their sister be given legal guardianship, none of this would have happened. Diane had already been made power of attorney and healthcare proxy by her mother, so the real fault lies in the lap of the judge, as he showed a lack of compassion and commonsense. Instead of setting up arbitration or having the family sit with a mediator, he seized control, thereby making sure that the differences amongst them would be inflamed. He did this despite the fact that the lawyer Diane wanted to use during the early stages of this trauma emphatically stated to the judge, law guardian and healthcare manager, that he had known the family for twenty years and that they were having the wool pulled over their eyes by her siblings. It appears that the magistrate already had a plan of control and seizure of Dorothy and her estate in his mind, because he not only dismissed the attorney’s statement, but also disallowed him from representing Diane any further.
I was shown some of the court papers about this case over the last week. There is one in the public record that states that Diane’s siblings refuse to speak to her, yet the judge always manages to blame my friend for the lack of contact. It is convenient for him to do that because he gets to keep controlling opinion of the small estate by openly defaming Diane. In two years, this judge has allowed the law guardian to run rampant in her spending; most of which directly went into the pockets of herself and her law firm. In addition, neither she nor the judge did anything to reel in the absurdity of expenses tallied by the so-called healthcare manager. In reviewing some of the public records, I found that there was approximately $12,500 spent on “medication pours” over about the course of a year or so. When I broke the numbers down, they were being charged $135 per hour to separate Dorothy’s pills for her. This is something that Diane used to do for her Mom and told the court she would still do, but was disallowed. That is just one example of the absurdity that is being authorized by this Nassau County, NY judge.
All I can speak to is my perspective of what is happening. At about the same time the judge ruled Dorothy into a nursing home, despite Diane’s home being cleared as suitable for her mother to live in, all physical therapy was stopped. Dorothy was lied to one afternoon by the law guardian, the healthcare manager’s associate and another person, and told she was being brought to a doctor to have a medical problem looked at. Instead, she was initially checked into a nursing home that had only substandard reviews about the medical care. Dorothy was then brought to a hospital that was inconvenient for her children, and especially for Diane. For eleven days, she was forced to stay without her walker, clothes or therapy. This systematic neglect was to ensure that there would be “lawful” excuses to remand her into the custody of a nursing home. What this law “guardian” did was to try to create a weakened body because that creates a weakened heart, desire and mind; not to mention hope. It was her way of trying to seize a firmer grip over the life and assets of a still functioning, aged woman. Regardless, the strength of the soul and person’s spirit will not diminish if loved ones fight for them. When people of power begin to think their word is invincible, they are the ones who are responsible for the pathetic demise of a country and system that was derived from Godly principles.
Society is run by a set of rules that man has made. Most of them are designed to keep people safe, as well as protected from thievery. It is when those who create the laws abuse them, that many “regular” people feel overwhelmed and hopeless. While the universe runs best under the Golden Rule, human failures will still run amuck by those of greedy hearts and minds. This is when you have to take a stand against the injustices that happen to genuinely good people. My hope is that someone who has some backbone and legal prowess, as well as the ear of the media, will take on this corruption. However, none of that will matter if other people do not take a stand against this legal abuse, and often enslavement, of our senior citizens and others who are challenged in physical or emotional ways. It is time to get the word out about a serious problem that always seems to be swept under the proverbial carpet. What steps will you take to make a difference, regardless of whether or not you are personally impacted by a similar situation or not?