When Amanda was a little girl, she spent long hours sitting with me in my room, watching and keeping me company while I wrote stories at my desk. She didn’t learn to read and write until she was 21 or 22, and I got a Hooked On Phonics program to help her. But I think she always wanted to learn.to write. Indeed, as soon as she could form sentences, the household virtually exploded with spiral notebooks. She practiced constantly. Even into her forties, her safe haven was upstairs at her desk, writing page after page, either practicing her penmanship or writing letters.
It is very strange that now I don’t get letters from her. I write to her frequently: At least once a week. I don’t know if she is receiving them.
Not receiving mail is one of the warning signs of guardianship abuse.
Amanda has Down syndrome and is currently being held by her guardian, who is anot 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:
1. The guardian and/or conservator treats you as an outsider instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.
2. The guardian/conservator sees to it that your loved one doesn’t have a phone.
3. When you visit, the guardian “hovers” or even employs someone to hover so you’re not alone with your loved one.
4. You are denied input about your loved one’s care – the doctor won’t talk to you – you are shut out.
5. The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.
6. Your loved one doesn’t get his/her mail.
7. If your loved one is in a nursing home, you’re only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room.
8. You start seeing questionable documents and realize financial accounts are closed or changed and the statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.
9. You discover the taxes haven’t been paid — or even filed.
10. The nursing facility tells you when you visit, you “upset” your family member or upset the staff.
11. Items are missing from your loved one’s home.
12. Your loved one appears to be more sluggish, perhaps even dazed.
The days of guardians’ world domination are coming to an end. There is help available. Click the link below: