What kind of advocate-entrepreneur are you? Or are you maybe a combination of these?
A – Analytical-Entrepreneur: You perform deep analysis of any new client to determine profitability of that case before accepting the client. You are a pessimist in thinking that there will not be enough funds to care for the client.
B – Risk Taker-Entrepreneur: You accept cases where there are no immediately available funds to care for the client. Or where the major assets are a mess, there are title problems or are in unsellable condition. You are optimistic that there are benefits or assets that will be found to pay for the client’s care and needs.
C – Administrator-Entrepreneur: You have created and keep a current, detailed written Policy & Procedures for the whole system you have created.
D – Social Worker-Entrepreneur: You have brought a client to your home for a night during an emergency or for a holiday meal.
As the years have gone by, we have learned the many twists that can come up when becoming the guardian for a person who has had dementia for years or decades. It is often surprising how deep and far back we need to go to resolve issues.
Case in point — we became the guardian for a windowed gal, Cynthia, in 2013. She was a retired civil servant who had worked for decades as a government contracts-comptroller and in an H.R. pension support position.
She was very astute to the business world, to how pensions worked and how life and health insurance worked. She was a very detailed bookkeeper who had appeared to be organized, disciplined and methodical in her personal business affairs by the old records we found.
However, we also found that in the more recent years, she wrote reminders to herself, hundreds and hundreds of reminders, for the same actions: pay a bill, call the tax office, file a claim form. But it appeared that she did not take those actions, she just kept reminding herself to-do’s, still leaving them undone.
So after many months of fighting with the pension provider to accept the letters of guardianship, we finally got a copy of her pension check stub with the gross amounts and the details of the amounts being withheld from her retirement check and for what.
We were shocked to find that there was an ongoing deduction, each month, for a spouse’s life insurance policy.
Why were we shocked? Her spouse had been deceased since 2005, and she had never remarried.
In speaking with her friends, they could not understand why she was still paying life insurance premiums for her husband, who had been dead for 8 years. Since she worked in H.R and in pension support in her career, she would have understood how this all worked.
This made us wonder: had she ever filed the claim on his life insurance(s) when he passed? We dug in and, as it turned out, NOPE.
So we filed the claim for $ 25,000, and then we started the fight to get the years of premiums (paid on a dead fella) back from the federal government.
So, back to the question: how far back and deep should you delve? You decide.
We were the guardian of a fella who lived in an independent community. He had agency caregivers most days and many nights.
It was a common problem that he would “lose” his spending money (his mad money authorized by court order for his personal spending). Sometimes he would say the caregivers took it; other times he would hide it for later; and sometimes he did spend it.
As his condition deteriorated, we slowly stopped giving him cash because of this lost/stolen pattern.
After we moved him to a memory unit, we cleaned out his apartment. To our surprise, this empty cell phone box was where we found the hidden cash.
As a reminder, some clients can hide stuff in very ingenious places. You have to open each box, every envelope, each bag, look under every drawer, in AC vents, in curtain’s hems, in the oven pan drawer, under loose carpet corners, in ice cream cartons in the freezer, in dog food bags, in toilet tanks, in a box of old rags in the shed… this list is just a short sample of some of the cool-creative places we’ve found hidden stuff.