Explore these real-life guardianship case studies that exemplify unique aspects of advocacy that guardians encounter on a daily basis to best protect vulnerable people and enhance the dignity and quality of life of those served by guardianship.
Relationships and Wellness
Daisy has been clinically depressed since the 1990s and has not worked since the 1980s. She is now approaching 70 years old. She has no family, though her brother was living in NY before he died of COVID last summer.
4 years ago when we met, she was in a small ALF with no stimulation, no interaction with others, self-isolating and fearful of water/bathing. She had no contact with her brother. The ALF closed within weeks and we moved Daisy to a family care home.
In the new environment, Daisy came out of her shell, and established a trusting relationship with the family care home caregiver and guardian. She continued ECT treatments and had medication adjustments. She established friendships with the other residents and bathed on a regular schedule. Though there were setbacks and hospitalizations due to psychosis and medical issues, in general Daisy adjusted well to her new environment and her new ‘neighbors.’ She started weekly phone contact with her brother, which was very meaningful to her.
Her limited resources proved an impediment to transporting her to medical appointments and the payments to the family care home became a hardship.
With a stable baseline, we enrolled Daisy in the PACE program. PACE provided transportation to her appointments and after a year of medical services from PACE Daisy agreed to participate in its day program. She looks forward to the socialization, exercise program, meals and care she receives at PACE. She phones other PACE members on the days she stays home. She calls the guardian as well in between in-person visits.
Daisy handled her brother’s passing without crisis, a testament to her current stability. She has not had a mental health crisis for nearly 2 years. We have discussed restoration of rights and continue to do so.
Protecting and Suppotrting Those with Limited Resources
Jay was nearly 80 when he came under professional guardianship. His daughter was his first guardian but she had difficulty reporting to the court in a systematic way and Jay was randomly assigned a successor off the wheel by his judge. At the time Jay resided with his recently widowed daughter, her school-age children, several dogs and other pets. Almost immediately after the professional guardian was assigned, the daughter stated she was moving- we had 36 hours to get Jay to a new domicile.
Jay had dementia, probably Alzheimer’s Disease. He became a ward after driving against traffic on I4. He made a u-turn and decided to go north away from an accident, on the southbound side of the highway, to avoid getting stuck in traffic! Thus his guardianship journey began.
Jay had an infection that led to a hospitalization, which facilitated placing him in a SNF. He called it his retirement home. Prior to the Covid pandemic, he was a happy, Elvis- and chocolate-loving man who was flirtatious, ambulatory, disoriented, communicative and content. Though his infection was chronic, he was stable and happy. Then, when a scab in his nose wouldn’t heal, a dermatology consult led to a melanoma diagnosis.
With a team working hard to treat and remove the melanomas, Jay had several surgeries over three years and he maintained a quality of life. Then, during the isolation of the pandemic, his dementia worsened. He had little to no stimulation in his SNF and had to dine alone in his room. He started to fade away. His final melanoma surgery was cancelled as he lost his ability to communicate, walk, or make eye contact.
COVID was the last straw, and medical professionals reccomended a DNR order. His daughter attended the hearing. We lost Jay as he was unable to fight the virus. May he Rest in Peace.