Saturday, December 6, 2014

Linda Kincaid Reports: California conservatorship encourages widespread elder abuse and exploitation


The instrument of conservatorship was established to provide care and protection for adults who cannot care for themselves. The legislative intent of the probate code was for rights to be preserved and for conservators to be accountable to the courts. 

In practice, conservatorship receives little oversight from the courts. Law enforcement lacks adequate guidance and is apathetic about elder abuse. Social services agencies have inadequate training, little authority, and lack motivation to provide services. The situation creates a landscape where abuse is common. Victims and their families find no remedy under the current legal system.

Forced social isolation is a common form of abuse in conservatorship. Karen Jones, Coordinator of the San Luis Obispo Long-term Care Ombudsman, testified As soon as somebody gets in charge, the first they want to do is get rid of anyone they didn’t like in the person’s life. Leza Coleman, Executive Director California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association (LTCOA), spoke of an assisted living facility that isolated a resident simply because that resident was under conservatorship. The facility incorrectly assumed that conservatorship automatically equates with forced social isolation.

In San Bernardino County, Jean Swope was imprisoned and isolated at Wildwood Canyon Villa, a licensed assisted living facility. Under conservatorship of a private conservator, Jean was:

· Denied her right to phone calls for five months,
· Denied her right to visitation for fifteen months,
· Denied her right to attend court hearings and address the court,
· Denied her right to routine medical care for three years,
· Forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor for eighteen months,
· Sexually assaulted repeatedly for about a year, and
· Administered antipsychotic drugs to “control agitation” from sexual assaults.

In Santa Clara County, Gisela Riordan was imprisoned and isolated at Villa Fontana, a licensed assisted living facility. Under conservatorship of the Public Guardian, Gisela was:

· Denied her right to phone calls for two years,
· Denied her right to visitors for two years,
· Denied her right to attend court hearings and address the court,
· Denied needed medical care, and
· Administered antipsychotic drugs.

Media coverage and individual advocacy led to passage of Assembly Bill 937 (2013) to clarify that conservatees have the right to visitation, phone calls, and personal mail, unless that right is limited by the court. Abusive conservators and unscrupulous attorneys immediately crafted strategies to evade the legislative intent of AB 937. By making unsubstantiated allegations against family and advocates, a conservator can easily obtain a court order to “manage” visitation. The conservator then “manages” visitation by denying all request for visits.

In Monterey County, Margarita Zelada is imprisoned and isolated at Senior Paradise, a licensed assisted living facility. Under conservatorship of the Public Guardian, Margarita is:

· Denied her right to phone calls since March 2013,
· Denied her right to visitors since March 2013,
· Denied her right to attend court hearings and address the court, and
· Administered antipsychotic drugs.

In Alameda County, Elinor Frerichs is imprisoned and isolated at Lakeside Park, a licensed assisted living facility. Under conservatorship of private fiduciary Scott Phipps of Phisco Fiduciary, Elinor is:

· Denied her right to phone calls since summer 2012,
· Denied her right to visitors since summer 20102,
· Denied her right to attend court hearings and address the court,
· Denied her right to routine medical care, and
· Administered anti-psychotic drugs.

Attorney James Treggiari at Oakland-based Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS) speaks on mechanisms to “protect” conservatees from their loved ones. Treggiari praises Phipps for “protecting” Elinor by denying her contact with her loved ones and denying her needed medical care. Treggiari and Phipps both invoice Elinor’s estate for their “services.” Isolated in a locked facility, Elinor has no way to protect her estate or to secure her rights.

Families who seek assistance from law enforcement routinely hear that abuse of their loved ones is a civil matter. Yet, civil courts rule that family has no standing to protect a loved one during the lifetime of the victim. The only remedy available, monetary damages after the death of the victim, is poor compensation for years of seeing one’s mother abused with impunity.

Full Article & Source:
California conservatorship encourages widespread elder abuse and exploitation

6 comments:

Barbara said...

Linda, I just can't say enough how much I appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

You're a inspiration, Ms. Kincaid!

Sammie said...

Keep on pushing until you get results!

Anonymous said...

It's happening in all states.

Rosanna said...

I know we are in spiritual warfare. We are dealing with baal worshippers. Yes it is that simple.... This is too much evil. http://www.eldermurderabuseandexploitation.blogspot.com/2014/02/1-elder-murder-abuse-and-exploitation.html

Sylvia Rudek said...

Thank you Linda!

California is an example of the pattern of operation in the entire USA.

Your dedication and tireless efforts to exposing the truth shining the bright light on the failures of the system harming our loved ones under color of law are deeply appreciated.