I have gotten stories from every state of our country, but recently I've been flooded with a large amount of stories from residents of the state of Washington who are experiencing isolation and abuse of the vulnerable. Because of their great need to be heard, I'm spotlighting one story a week from Washington State for a month's time. I will continue to do this each month for each state.
As many of you may know, Kerri Kasem, as well as myself, lost our father's, who both suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, in Washington State, after months of isolation and elder abuse. Hopefully the truth of abuse mentioned in these letters, by the citizens of the state experiencing this treatment, will encourage those in power to serve and protect their constituents as they agreed to do when they were voted into office.
My friend Larry is now 83. The last 3 years of his life has been that of a captive because the Kitsap Superior Court put him into guardianship. It was obvious that his “best friend” was stealing his money and lying to him about his health and friends, but they gave the. “Best friend” the guardianship. He brought charges against me when I tried to get Larry help. The APS agent told me; “We can't let Larry talk to his friends or that will make him sad” and then she filed to put me on the statewide abuse list with a list of false charges, some not even abusive.
Larry was given a court appointed GAL who did not tell him he had rights. He had asked the APS agent for help and she refused. (per court records from Feb 28, 2014).
Larry was transferred to a dementia ward at Park Vista because Stafford Suites heard him telling someone on the phone that he wanted to go home and would escape. [*RCW 11.92.190-holding a person against his will in a residential facility unlawful.*] Park Vista was told Larry had dementia and quickly placed him in “memory care” (lockdown ward.) He was not allowed visitors or calls and they started over drugging him. Larry does NOT have dementia. Larry had no lawyer to represent him. Any friend who reported the abuse to APS was labeled “meddling and manipulating” and was no longer allowed to talk to Larry.
(It is unlawful, but there is no punishment for doing it.)
Later that year we called the long-term care Ombudsman of Kitsap County. (It takes a while to learn what can be done and people are busy with their own problems.) After talking to Larry's “best friend” (now guardian) she declined to help Larry at all. After I contacted the State Ombudsman she was forced to help Larry and he got his right to return to his house in Woodinville. Then the real torture started.
The caregivers were told to try to keep Larry isolated from his “manipulating” friends. They would refuse to take him to his Parkinson's therapy (because “bad people” might show up there) and would screen calls from his friends and discourage visitors. One got dragged into court for “helping” Larry after talking to him on the phone once and others were threatened. They set burglar alarms inside his house to keep him under control and finally on his bedroom door. When he got up in the middle of the night 120 db screamed in his ears. He had a visitor (his last) the next day and told her about it. He had 24 hour “caregivers” who were basically bodyguards. They took his phone away. They thought that someone might be talking to Larry at night, so they hired a night watchman at Larry's expense. Finally they locked him in his bedroom. He escaped and ran down the street yelling for help, so they told the police that he
had dementia and the police allowed him to be taken back to Park Vista, Port Orchard again.
Back in Port Orchard he was again locked in the isolation ward without the ability to contact anyone but APS. In the APS records it states that he called asking for help and then “records closed.” Someone had, however, managed to get a lawyer for him while he was home. He was appointed a Certified Professional Guardian (CPG) who allowed the first guardian (whom Larry was wanting to get rid of) take care of Larry's health care. The CPG proceeded to charge Larry outrageous fees and uses Larry's money to hire his own firm to bring Larry to court to take away his home and money. He charges $1000 a month for “property management” when all he does is have the yard mowed once every 6 months. No one was allowed to visit Larry except Larry's “best friend” who takes him to medical appointment and convinces the doctors Larry needs more drugs. (Easy to so with Parkinson's medications.)
Larry's lawyer? Oh, she quit. She got bought out by Larry's CPG to keep her mouth shut and the new Kitsap court appointed lawyer won't do anything for him. She had witnessed the overdosing and the financial embezzlement and wouldn't tell the court. The problem is that the court rubber stamps fees without looking at them. When the guardian does something bad the court can't do anything for fear of getting exposed. King county defense for the elderly, Page Ulrey, told me that once the court signs for fees, no matter how outrageous they are, there is nothing that can be done to the guardian. It is doubtful that the courts even know guardianship law.
By 2015 Larry was so over drugged he could hardly get a sentence out. Because of fast turnover of caregivers at Park Vista 3 friends got in to visit and witnessed Larry's body swinging and contorting from the drug over dose. His arms and legs flailing all over. Even though he was in a wheelchair because of breaking his hip (due to the excessive body movement) he could hardly stay in it. He couldn't get out a complete sentence because of the drugs had such a terrible effect on his mind, yet they brought him more right there while he was already being overdosed. Larry can't remember Park Vista.
I went to court with testimony and court records showing his being overcharged and over drugged and isolated- 400 pages of backing documentation. His guardian had even written in documents (#108) that he was forcing pills on Larry and “had to” lock him in the dementia unit because someone gave him a copy of his right and a book on healing. The Kitsap court judge said she would not do anything. Motion to stop abuse of VA- DENIED. She did tell the guardian to get Larry out of Kitsap before the month was
over. (Elections are coming up.) Sometime later the over-drugging stopped. We think a doctor must have found out.
Larry was brought to West Seattle and put in a care house with people from Russia. Foreign caregivers believe that it's OK to take old people's rights away. They were told that there were “evil people” out there and Larry was only to have approved visitors. None of his friends were allowed to talk to him. Visitors were turned away. Larry tried to escape in 90 degree heat.
I brought the court papers to the state Ombudsman and told her what was happening. Shortly after Larry was moved to Shoreline with APS agent and social worker in tow. All are being told by Larry's guardian that Larry has evil friends and it is important to keep 24 hour watch on Larry. Larry's new care-givers are also foreign born and gullible. Larry didn't have a phone and they were “protecting” his address, so they were not in the court records. I told the state Ombudsman and Larry got a cell phone for one month. He is not allowed to go out of the house without a care-giver driving him (except his “best friend.”) Did I mention that Larry's best friends had written a Trust for Larry giving himself all of Larry's $1 Million in assets and the wife is the one who can decide if Larry's Trust money should be “handled” for him? Larry wants his money to go to women's charities.
The cell phone only lasted one month. They decided to “save Larry money” and he could use the caregiver's home phone. Now his friend's calls are being blocked so that Larry's friends can't even ring the house.
Larry's lawyer helped write the CPG manual for WA state and knows that guardians are not allowed to hire their own firms with their ward's money. Conflict of interest. She knows it, but refuses to help Larry get a different guardian. He has other wards whom he uses to fund his firm with also. I have heard that he sells his ward's property to his friends at below cost. He is so well known that the courts don't even check his records anymore. He itemizes everything, including charging Larry for general filing. He charges to talk on the telephone to Larry or anyone else, which is supposed to be covered by his monthly guardianship fee of $1200 - over 3 times the state maximum.
Larry's guardian probably has 20 wards under his guardianship at $1200 per month ($24,000 per month) plus the money he collects from using his own law firm to “represent” them in court. $360,000 plus $375 per hour should exceed half a million per year “protecting” the elderly from abuse. Good
Please call or write if more information is needed.
Thank you for caring.