Amanda is a Special Olympics gold medal swimmer and diver. If the ferry boat ever sinks, she is, “under contract to save my sorry cement block butt.”
She started out young — Dad wanted her to be confident in the water so he taught her to swim when she was just a tot. When I got old enough to drive, I used to take her to the beach. I found this old photo of her from 1979 — she would have been eight years old. This was a couple of years before her hair started falling out.
The drawing is in oil pencil.
Amanda has Down syndrome and is currently being held by her guardian, who is abusing her by not allowing us to have contact. On March 27 it will be 8 months since I have spoken with my sister. I am doing a portrait of her every day until I hear from Amanda.
A few warning signals of guardianship abuse:
- The guardian and/or conservator treats you as an outsider instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.
- Your loved one doesn’t get his/her mail.
- The guardian/conservator sees to it that your loved one doesn’t have a phone.
- When you visit, the guardian “hovers” or even employs someone to hover so you’re not alone with your loved one.
- If your loved one is in a nursing home, you’re only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room.
- Your loved one appears to be more sluggish, perhaps even dazed.
- You start seeing questionable documents and realize financial accounts are closed or changed and the statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.
- You discover the taxes haven’t been paid — or even filed.
- The nursing facility tells you when you visit, you “upset” your family member or upset the staff.
- You are denied input about your loved one’s care – the doctor won’t talk to you – you are shut out.
- Items are missing from your loved one’s home.
- The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.