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Elder Rights

Organized by: Leslie Geffen

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THE STORY:

Our 85 year old father was taken out of independent living in his retirement community after an episode where he got lost in his car, (before his dementia diagnosis) and his doctor stuck him in a locked Advanced Alzheimer's wing on the grounds of the community where he lives. He isn't allowed to go outside or do any of the things that bring him joy and familiarity: going to church twice a week, playing his trumpet and French horn, doing emails on his computer, etc. All he can do is lie in bed all day, as there is nothing for him to do all day in the hospital, no activities, nothing to stimulate his mind. He desperately wants to get out of the hospital but they won't let him out. He made several escape attempts. My sister and I started to advocate for him and try to help him get a better quality of life, as it looked like he was going to be there a long time with no plan as to his future. We live out of state, and our father put his "friend" of 6 years, who is 20 years younger than my dad, on his Power of Attorney just in case of emergency to have someone in close proximity. We had no reason to mistrust him, he was nice to my dad and helped him with things, and called our dad his "Substitute Father." As soon as our father began to decline, his POA Agent starting acting really bizarre...Here is what he did and why we need help: 1. Stopped returning all of our calls and emails. 2. Blocked us from all information about our father, including forbidding any health worker to talk to us if we ask questions. 3. Has wrongly accused us of stealing $7500 from our father's accounts (he has full control of our father's finances). At our request of him to prove it, he still has not come forward with any documentation that he claimed he had. 4. Has attempted to block my father's Christian Science Practitioner (spiritual/religious counselor) from having contact with us. 5. Is using our father's attorney to fight us on our guardianship petition, even though we are both on the POA as First and Second Alternates and Trust documents. We believe: 1. Our father's religious rights are being violated as he was forced against his will to take anti-psychotic drug "treatment" which is against his religious beliefs. He is a docile man with dementia who has tried to escape from being locked up, because he is miserable there and feels like a prisoner. 2. Our father's civil rights are being abused by keeping him locked up when he could have had a caretaker and stayed in his home. 3. The POA could be abusing his position as our father's financial manager as we are not allowed to see what he is doing with the finances. Our father is not a wealthy man, and any misuse of funds could be devastating for him. We are especially weary that he accused us of stealing large amounts of our father's money. My father trusted this POA agent as a friend and we had no reason to suspect that he would ever do anything like this. My father would never have placed him as POA had he thought he would ever alienate his daughters like this. He always wanted us to be involved in all the planning of his life, especially in his old age, and we have always had an extremely loving and close relationship with him. Our father is declining drastically in this situation and now the POA is trying to limit how often and for how long we can see our father. We know almost nothing about how he is doing except to talk once a day to his personal caretaker, and most days we can talk to him if he is awake when we call. The caretaker is not allowed to call us. Medically, we know nothing. If there was an emergency, we don't know if we would even be notified. We have no savings and live very simply. We do not have access to what we need to pay an attorney, but we are willing to do whatever we can to help our father and become his guardians.

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Leslie Geffen

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