Last month, July 2013, one of our precious Survivors heard a knock on her door and was surprised to find a stranger who wanted to ask her many questions. She had thought that he was an administrator from her Sarasota housing complex, but he turned out to be a psychiatrist who was surreptitiously conducting an examination of her in order to put her into emergency temporary guardianship, which did occur just a few days later (without notification to her closest family members).
As many of you know, my own Father, Al Katz, a Holocaust Survivor, was likewise put into emergency temporary guardianship here without any notification sent to me as his next-of-kin, which notification is required by law. My Father’s emergency temporary guardianship was court ordered on Erev Rosh Hashonah 2009.
Today, another Holocaust Survivor would have been similarly forced into permanent Florida State guardianship shortly before Rosh Hashonah; however, Jews from across the United States worked for many days to prevent this unnecessary confinement of a Survivor, separation from her beloved family members, and isolation from the Jewish community.
The attorney that was appointed by the court to represent the Survivor was the same attorney that was responsible for my Father’s placement into the Baker Act illegally for three weeks without any court hearing, his lockdown for three additional weeks in an abusive nursing home, and his inability to come home from the nursing home, which traumas and medical neglect nearly cost my Father his life.
I urge you to be very careful when you encounter anyone or any experiences that could pose a risk to you in terms of elder abuse or exploitation. In today’s case, the Survivor lives in a luxury housing complex and has very significant assets. Once a person is forced into guardianship, all of his or her assets are under the control of someone appointed by the court, who may not have any relationship with the Ward at all, in other words, a total stranger. The results to the person and property (asset seizure) of the Ward can be disastrous. I ask you to begin this Rosh Hashonah safely and please feel free to contact The Al Katz Center any time you are faced with a troubling situation in which we can assist you.
At The Al Katz Center, Survivors are treasures, the backbone of the Jewish people, to whom we all owe an inestimable debt of gratitude for their extreme sacrifices. The Al Katz Center is a refuge and resource for Jews young and old, observant and non-.
Beverly Newman, Ed.D.
The Al Katz Center
713 South Orange Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34236