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October, 2011 Newsletter
Chronicles of a Professional Guardian
Serving the community as a Professional Guardian for over 20 years, I’ve had to discover unique solutions to difficult problems. I’ve decided it’s time to give back, and share some of my solutions. It is my hope that this information can help others provide better services and care to our elderly and disabled population.
The Cat Has to Go!
Image Credit: hisks / stock.xchng
Remember our 98 year old lady who swore she couldn’t live without her cat, “Lovely.” (If you don’t remember you can read last month’s story here.)
We placed the woman and her cat at a facility and everything was fine for a year. However, a staff change resulted in two new caregivers, sisters, who come from a culture that believes cats are the devil reincarnate. Their beliefs caused the client’s care to suffer.
We were faced with a dilemma – what to do in this situation?
A few readers pointed out that regardless of the caregiver’s beliefs, the facility contract outlines the stipulations for care for both the client and her room, and the facility should uphold their agreement.
While this solution is great in theory, life isn’t always black and white. The facility is a small facility with only two or three caregivers total. They could not easily shift the care responsibilities to another caregiver the way a larger facility could. Trying to change the caregiver’s perspective about the cat wasn’t going to work either, because of the deep-rooted nature of their beliefs.
Additionally, we didn’t want to move the client because her rent was a fair rate, and the care was good outside of this new cat issue. And since the client had called the facility home for over a year, we didn’t want to move her because big changes can be detrimental to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
So what did we do?
In the end, we decided it was best to keep the client at her facility, so we tried an experiment. We arranged to have the cat stay away from the facility for a few days, to see how the client would react.
Since our client was adamant that she would not go on living without her cat we expected the worst – an outcry about the cat being removed, daily phone calls from the client, something. Instead, there was no reaction.
As it turned out, our client’s dementia had progressed to the point that she wasn’t even aware that Lovey was gone. Instead, she thought that the stuffed kitty on her bed was her real, live kitty.
But now that we had solved this issue, we had one more hurdle to jump – what to do with Lovey long term?
Turning an animal over to a shelter should always be a last resort. As animal lovers, shelters are never an option for our client’s pets. Instead we turned to the client’s family, friends, and once those were exhausted, our staff. Eventually we found Lovely a perfect place, and now there’s one more at the Barton home!
Our simple quick test turned out to yield the perfect results. In what ways do you experiment to obtain the best possible outcome for your clients?
Tip of the Month
Due to increased fraud, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is now performing Centenarian Reviews for individuals 100 or older.
Typically, the SSA will contact the Representative Payee to request a face-to-face meeting (if possible). If the centenarian cannot speak for themselves, a representative is allowed to attend the meeting to speak on their behalf.
For more information about the scheduling process and SSA’s procedure, click here.
Did You Know?
Palm Beach County’s clerk, Sharon R. Bock, recently announced the creation and launch of their Guardianship Fraud Hotline.
This service was setup to protect the elderly population of Palm Beach. They urge “anyone who suspects a guardian, family member, attorney or caregiver of improper activities such as stealing money from a ward’s account, selling off a ward’s property, or making suspicious loans or money transfers is urged to report it to the hotline.”
The service allows people to make reports via phone, email, or by reporting it online. Click here to read more about this service.
As active members of the community, you can often find us around town speaking and educating professionals on Guardianship, and obtaining care and services for the elderly and disabled. Here’s where we’ll be next:
10/06/11 Rotary Presentation – Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort
10/08/11 New Life Church – Health Event, Speaking Engagement
11/12/11 Central Florida Paralegal Association – Presentation
If you would like Theresa Barton to speak at one of your events, contact us at 407.786.6033. Don’t delay, call today as her schedule fills up quickly!
Do What You’re Great At and Love — Let Us Handle the Rest!
Guardian Care Management & Benefits Services, Inc. provides:
- Professional Guardianship Services
- Private Case Management
- Benefits Consulting & Medicaid Applications
- Full Guardianship Support Services
We can help, call us today!