The invasion of the entire body and mind snatchers or Aunt Irene vs. New Jersey Social Services.
There was a show on 60 minutes or, one of the “tell all the horrible things that can happen to you” tv shows, about senior social services in Florida. These horrible service people had themselves declared guardians of a number of senior citizens, who were living out their lives in comfortable housing even with their families involved in their care. These human nightmares gained control of the seniors’ money, homes and lives. They moved them into substandard housing and milked them dry financially. OK you say, but that’s not going to happen again because now we know about it. This is certainly not the case, with so many of our beloved elderly family members. Take for example, my Aunt Irene. A few weeks ago one of her “friends” called NJ social services and reported that my aunt was not being cared for and something had to be done.
Imagine my surprise when i read the note (hand-scribbled on notebook lined paper -no logo, nothing remotely official), from the ever vigilant Danielle , which said she wanted to meet with Irene and evaluate the care she was getting. Danielle was testy on the phone. She wanted to know what was wrong with the note she left, and did I want her to travel back to her office to get letterhead. Not necessarily, but a card or something official would have been nice. Anyway, Danielle, our own personal mind and body snatcher, said she needed to come to the house, look around and talk to Irene — and I, the niece and holder of the POA (power of attorney) couldn’t be there. They apparently can do anything they want to do.
We called Danielle’s supervisor to find out who this idiot was and here’s what she said. “She’ll only be there for a few minutes. She’ll look in the fridge to make sure she has food and look around the apartment to make sure everything is OK.” This was a lie. After an hour and fifteen minutes of asking Irene questions she didn’t want to answer, and Irene saying that she didn’t know why this woman was in her apartment because she paid her bills and just wanted to be left alone to make her own decisions — which by the way she does. When she started to administer an alzheimers test, it was enough, and I insisted she leave. So leave she did with my Aunt in a total meltdown, still wondering why Danielle had been there at all.
Best I can figure, here’s the problem. Her friends want her to be who she was, with her hair always done and dressed to the nines. That is their priority. It’s not who she wants to be anymore. Really. My priorities are that she is healthy and safe. I don’t care if her hair is colored and poofed, and she doesn’t either. OK, Im not crazy about the long hairs on her face but she doesn't seem to mind them. She has the food she likes in the fridge. She doesn’t use the stove or the microwave or any appliances so there is no danger of fire. She has a life-line and her gerontologist is in her building. The friends think she can’t take care of herself and we don’t take care of her either. This is not the case. She has help seven days a week and her aide, who has become her friend, lives a half mile away. She is 95. She gets a pass on hair and clothes.
Anyway, Danielle is still on the warpath. On advice of counsel, I don’t have to talk to the yahoo from the state and she is not allowed to talk to Irene without me present. You remember the old song, “friend friend friends, we will always be”, that is not the case when one friend gets old and the others do not. In this world of “everyone has a rule you cannot break, sicko’s can carry assault machine guns. People who shouldn’t be driving due to old age or not having a license, still drive. And Children find a way to get drugs and alcohol and don’t use them responsibly. Hey NJ, there are real problems out there. Leave my Aunt Irene alone. We’re just sayin’....Iris