When the hits just keep coming…
by Gail Arno, CMC, ECM Director of Care Management
This time we revisit the experience of our client BettyJean and the challenges she faced being vulnerable, alone, and aging with both physical and cognitive challenges. BettyJean was living in her own home, had hired caregiving support with a caregiver who was slowly taking more and more control of BettyJean’s life. The caregiver was exerting undue influence upon BettyJean to insert herself into a decision-making role and ultimately become the exclusive beneficiary of BettyJean’s hard earned assets.
Thankfully, Adult Protective Services and the legal powers involved continued to investigate and pursue support for BettyJean. While this can often feel like a slow-moving effort, the persistence of a system questioning what appears to not be in the best interest of our seniors served our client well. Eventually, temporary emergency conservatorship was put in place and legal battles began in earnest. The manipulative and insincere caregiver continued to take advantage of BettyJean by entering her into financial contracts, altering documents to her advantage, and even pursuing a rouse of a marital union that BettyJean was not capable of understanding or agreeing to. Through much legal wrangling, permanent conservatorship was granted to a professional entity. Elder Care Management was then able to engage an agency for full-time caregiving support, allowing BettyJean to live at home and be given the proper and attentive care that she needed. All legal matters were corrected and the work of making sure BettyJean was properly protected was accomplished.
With the absence of the predatory companion and the support of the appropriate legally responsible party, Elder Care Management was then able to focus on returning BettyJean to the life she had worked so hard to enjoy. We brought in cherished friends to visit BettyJean, took her on outings to see familiar sights, engaged her with her favorite activities, and attempted to envelop her in the best elements of her prior life. There was calm and comfort in her home once again as ECM supported BettyJean in every way possible, making sure that her needs were met, and her voice was heard, encouraging her to live a full life void of the trauma that had defined her life in the past year.
BettyJean made her way through the pandemic and fought a good battle against the ravages of cognitive decline, smiling for the most part and finding support, comfort, and greater ease until her life came to an end. BettyJean was vulnerable and fell victim to someone who put her own wants at the forefront and took advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, this is just one of the heart-wrenching examples we have seen of the vulnerability of an aging individual without proper support and advocates. In BettyJean’s journey, the combination of solid and persistent legal efforts, skilled and proper caregivers, and the expertise of Care Management, BettyJean found peace and calm through to the end. Elder Care Management feels honored to have been a part of her journey.
*names have been changed to protect the clients’ identity