Mr. Nelson/Ms. Getty:
I hope that you can read and digest the comments that I am about to make below because my voice is one of TENS OF THOUSANDS who have lost their parent under guardianship.
I lost my mother, who was still under guardianship last year when she died on May 24, 2015. My mother was murdered. I can honestly say this because I now have all of her medical records from the hospitals, doctors, and assisted living facilities where she was forcibly taken. I know what they did to her, so no one can lie to me and say “it was in her best interest” or that it didn’t happen…two statements that I have heard over and over again for four years.
That is nonsense. Nothing was done in her best interest. However, I did find dozens of petitions and motions submitted by all three of my mom’s guardians that contained so many lies that it made my head spin. They weren’t even good lies.
My daughter was my mom’s legal and designated health care surrogate. My mom had a will made prior to being “incapacitated”, a term that is pretty funny, and one which they use to imprison the elders. My daughter, a nurse practitioner, was NEVER, EVER contacted about any medical decisions regarding her grandmother. The guardians stated in their petitions that no will existed, yet when my mom passed, her will was entered as a legal and binding document.
And yes, I am “that” family member who fought the hardest to keep her out of guardianship. I also fought for the right to SEE her for four years. I fought against restrictive court orders that isolated my mom from her family, her children and her grandchildren, for her right to attend CHURCH, and for her right to be taken out for meals and holidays. I was prohibited by THREE of my mom’s guardians from taking her out to church or anywhere else for that matter. Her phone was disconnected and number changed, and her door locks were also changed. She was not allowed access to a phone in the ALs. When I offered to pay, out of my pocket, for a phone in the first AL, I was threatened with permanent loss of visitation if I did not disconnect the phone.
So let me ask you this…how would YOU feel if you could only see your mom for 4 hours a week if you were lucky, under scrutiny. For no reason.
My 2 sisters placed my mother under guardianship “just because” they didn’t want to be bothered with taking care of her. I took care of my mom for 13 years until she was placed into guardianship in 2011. And even though they did not want to take care of her, they wanted her money and for her to be “gone.”
Their primary claim to keeping me away from my mom was that I stole her money. I was investigated, re-investigated, illegal law suits filed against me, etc….all of them were thrown out, and none found any shred of truth to the accusations. I have all the documents.
However, ALL THREE of my mom’s guardians allowed her to be heavily drugged for no reason, and given medications that were not only counter-indicative of the illnesses she really had, but gave her drugs for illnesses she was never diagnosed with. Who gives a 90+ year old woman double and often TRIPLE doses of an anti-depressant, along with double doses of a narcotic? They had a chemical restraint order on her. She was never clinically diagnosed with depression or any other mental illness.
Her dentures, prescription glasses and walker were all taken away from her. She was left in urine and feces for hours, yet I lost visitation when I complained and was the only one that bathed her.
They kept saying my mom had Alzheimer’s. Between 2011 and 2015, the diagnoses ranged from end stage Alzheimer’s to mild dementia to just having age-related memory loss. REALLY? At least 6 people evaluated my mom and they were all different. ALL OF THEM. She never had an MRI or head CT, which is the primary way to diagnose dementia. But, they kept drugging her. They told me she had a number of illnesses, which included Parkinson’s, seizures, etc., again, she was never diagnosed with any of these.
And the competency hearing, of which she had the legal right to have her attorney present, did not honor her wish as such. Her rights were taken away from her PRIOR to the competency hearing. I laugh every time I read that document. Three strangers asking my mom, who was drugged going into that hearing, questions that were not even pertinent to capacity.
FAMILY PROBLEMS are not the issue here, because all three guardians played favorites. They were constantly emailing, calling and texting my sisters to find out what was the “next move” against me and my mom. If you think the families don’t know what is going on, you are really underestimating our intelligence.
I was NEVER, and I can say NEVER, allowed to be involved in any decisions regarding my mom. I was constantly threatened to have my visitations permanently taken away at a whim, and no court order to back this up. The guardians would write accusatory and threatening letters to the ALs DEMANDING that my daughters and I not be able to see my mom. Again, for no legitimate reason and definitely without a court order.
Do you REALLY think that isolating and restricting my mom from seeing her daughter and grandchildren is in her best interest?
The comment you made about the “ward” being upset after the visit is a total fabrication. Another excuse to isolate and medicate the elder. That was one of the trumped up charges against me. Well let me tell you WHY my mom was upset after some of my visits with her, which oftentimes included my children and people from our church (I always had witnesses). I was constantly harassed by the staff at both ALs, especially the first AL, at the request of the guardians, who would either instruct the staff to cut my visit short or not allow me to enter the “lock down” where my mom resided. My mother was witness to this harassment, as they always did it in front of her, then would call or text the guardian afterward saying that I had left my mother stressed and anxious.
She was stressed and anxious because she COULD NOT SEE ME or her grandchildren.
I was threatened with arrest at my own daughter’s wedding by the first guardian, even after she gave me permission to take my mom to the wedding. The story changed the second my mom and I got there. AT MY DAUGHTER’s WEDDING. And even worse, she gets paid for all the “emails and correspondences” from this weekend of threats and verbal abuse. The judge’s orders to have “paid attendants” with my mom at all outings was not even signed until AFTER my daughter’s wedding.
I offered to have at least 15 nurses, and other actual professional health care workers, who were attending the wedding, help with my mom FOR FREE, but the guardian refused because “she wanted to spend my mom’s money”, and instead pay herself for hiring the “help” who were fairly illiterate and undereducated people who didn’t even have the common sense to bring my mom’s medications and even one adult diaper to the wedding.
This harassment is not the exception, this is the NORM.
I would find my mom on a weekly basis with bruises, cuts, black eyes…all over her body. She repeatedly fell because she was constantly drugged and because she was ill. From 2011 to 2015, she was hospitalized with UTIs, falls, dehydration and other illnesses more than 30 times. And these were the times that the guardian “allowed” the staff to give her medical treatment. She had pneumonia and they waited FOUR days to take her to the hospital. The person who finally called the EMTs was a part time staff member. It sure wasn’t the guardian who called.
In the 13 years that I took care of her….she was NEVER hospitalized. ZERO times.
Guardians DO NOT CARE about their wards or care about following any laws, including FS 744. I know FS 744 like the back of my hand. The judges don’t care and the attorneys surely do not care. They care about the money and how much they can get to, and how quickly they can do it. And of course, how quickly they can dispose of the elder. Perhaps guardians are not all like this, but I haven’t met any guardian who was not like this. And it is a NATIONWIDE epidemic.
Even when my mom was suspiciously put under hospice care last year, the LAST guardian refused to allow me to speak to hospice. I was not “on the list.”
Before you decide to not communicate or react to what Dr. Sam Sugar has to say, or what those who belong to AAAPG have to say, be mindful of what is actually going on around you, of what is going on with the guardianship industry in Florida. Because it is an industry and you are a central figure in it.
What guardianship did to my mom is INEXCUSABLE. No law in the land should prohibit a daughter and grandchild from seeing their mom or grandmother. It was my mom’s constitutional right to worship, speak her language and have access to her family. She had nothing. My mom never had access to her mail or her OWN money. She couldn’t even buy a candy bar. I cooked for my mom and brought her food for three years. I never asked for one cent.
So yes, I don’t think there should be guardianship in the way that it is now. NONE, at all. My mom’s entire life savings, including my dad’s social security and pension, was GONE to the pockets of her guardians and their attorneys. They even disposed of my mom’s urn, and I had to buy another one after her death. I was never repaid.
But the money wasn’t even an issue, because in November 2011, I wrote the first guardian telling her that I would sign over any/all legal rights to my portion of my mom’s estate if I could just be able to take care of my mom in my house, and not have her sent to an AL. I would never ask for a penny to take care of her. Others, including my own daughter, a nurse, and people in our church offered to take care of her as well. The guardian refused.
She needed to put my mom through torture and abuse for the benefit of herself and her co conspirators.
So, excuse me if I’m a wee bit emotional and trying to fight for my mother’s and my own constitutional rights, but I’m assuming that you would never put your parents under guardianship.
So if you think guardianship works as is, then you are definitely not living in reality.
You can choose to ignore me, but you can’t ignore the countless voices that are out there and fighting.
I highly recommend that you sit down with us, especially with Dr. Sam Sugar and listen. REALLY LISTEN. If you don’t want to end up in the same situation as you put my mom through, and trust me, ANYONE can end up in guardianship, then you should listen and learn.
Thank you in advance for reading this and I hope that you can open your eyes and ears to what we are saying.
I am available if you want to talk about my situation.
Teresa Tozzo-Lyles, Ph.D., CHES