This is the document that I wrote for our court hearing in hopes that the Judge would consider this carefully in his decision making. I have to wonder if he even read it?
Court Plan for Guardianship
Rebecca Adams, Ramona Burnett and Teala Mainzer, three sisters, are requesting joint guardianship of our mother, Pauline Williams. We are all three willing and able to care for our mother. Pauline is presently living in the home of Ramona and Rick Burnett where she has been for approximately a year and a half. She trusted Ramona when she was of sound mind enough that she entrusted her with her Power of Attorney. We are filing for joint guardianship due to the fact that we are all three willing to have our mother live in our home and be in our care. We want to be able to provide respite for Ramona if her care becomes more demanding. We also desire to fulfill the request of our father and our mother to keep Mother from being placed in a nursing home. We want her to be in the least restrictive environment necessary for her care. We also know her desire is to be with her daughters who love her, so we want to care for her as long as we are willing and able. We have seen her in a nursing home for a brief period and do not believe this is the best environment for her as it causes her great stress and anxiety. She needs reassurance from those who love her and know her as she is still struggling with the loss of our father and her continued confusion from Alzheimer’s. It would seem that considering she has three capable, willing and able bodied daughters who want to care for her there is no need to burden the State with her care. We would like to state clearly that we do not want our Mother in a nursing home as long as we can care for her. It has been her desire to NEVER have to go to a nursing home and we would like to fulfill her desire. We have heard our mother say our entire lives ‘please don’t put me in one of those places.’ If that was her desire when she could make that decision, then we would like to honor that when she is now incapable of expressing that. Our grandmother (in her 70’s) cared for her third husband in her home when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s until the day he died. We have GREAT respect for her willingness and ability to do that. If she was able to care for him, then we are certain we could do the same for the Mother who cared for us. Another problem for Roy and Carla to move Mother out of Rick and Ramona’s house for ‘field trips’ is that (as we learned from the doctor’s caring for our grandmother’s husband) it is very unsettling for an Alzheimer’s patient to be moved from place to place.
Physical, Medical and Emotional Needs
- Mom needs to be watched 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Meaning constantly watched. Never left alone. Nursing homes can not do this for Mom and she can not afford to have someone come in to just sit and watch her and visit with her. That is what we do every single day and night. We have a security camera in place along with a bed alarm and a baby monitor, all aids for 24 hour care. Mom most certainly can NOT be left alone long enough to get up and walk by herself. She is very unsteady on her feet sometimes. And yet again, we are there constantly watching her, so we make sure we are beside her, holding onto her, and making sure she stays on her feet to walk and not on her back on the floor.
- We do not want her drugged to Zombie state. Meaning Xanex, etc. This is what they had her on when she was in the nursing home before with Daddy for a couple of weeks. She was just a Zombie then. She is not a Zombie now. However, at least when she was in a nursing home with Dad, she thought she was in her bedroom with her husband of 63 years. If she were in a nursing home now, she would be sharing a room with a strange female and be very disturbed that a stranger is in her bedroom and she would want this strange woman out of her room. Needless to say, the docs would medicate her even more to keep her from kicking the poor stranger out of her room! If the Hippocratic oath requires doctors to “do no harm”, allowing my mother to stay in her home is the only way they can honor their oath.
- Urinary Tract Infections are a problem for her (and were even before she had Alzheimer’s). She needs antibiotics, and a catheter put in twice a day, Morning and Evening (which can also CAUSE a UTI) to drain her bladder because she can not empty and does not seem to know how anymore. We encourage her to go to the bathroom by taking her regularly about every hour. Who else would do that for her?
- She appears to have stroke like symptoms when she is getting a Urinary Tract Infection. This could cause her to fall and get hurt if she is not being watched all the time. We know HER signs and symptoms of an oncoming UTI because we watch her constantly and have become aware of what to look for. She is never alone.
- We also have ContinuCare come in 11 hours a week to help us with Mom and to give us a bit of a break. She bathes her, sings with her, and jokes around with her. The VA helps and pays for this service because of Daddy’s service in the Army.
- She needs to be with family every minute, that knows her family history. She asks the same questions constantly all day long. When she is with someone other than us, she constantly asks them when Rick and Ramona are coming to get her. She has Alzheimer’s, which does not allow her brain to remember and comprehend things for more than a couple of seconds. We answer her questions a million times a day per question. Maybe not that much, but it sure seems like it. So what can we do? Answer her questions. Yeah it gets a little old. But what else can you do? Nothing. Answer her questions – why, because it helps calm her.
- We have a wheelchair ramp that was built and installed at our house for Mom along with the purchase of a handicap van so we can transport Mom to her medical appointments.
- We are very careful and knowledgeable about how we prepare her meals. This is to keep Mom’s gout from flaring up. It is really bad and painful for her and since we know what foods and drinks can cause her gout to flare up, we do NOT fix them for her. We are flexible enough that we can prepare meals for her the way they need to be prepared to keep her as pain free as possible.
- Letter from Dr. Rebecca Smith
Rebecca Adams, daughter, has been taking care of her finances for the last year and a half. She has been appointed Fiduciary over our mother’s VA benefits by the Federal Government. The VA visited Mother in Ramona’s home to make a determination that she was being cared for and was in a safe environment. They also conducted background checks on Rebecca and Ramona in order to make this appointment.
Mother is an elderly, sick and fragile woman. She is not capable of being taken out of the home for others enjoyment. Due to her Alzheimer’s, she has lost the ability to go to the bathroom when she needs to. She has to wear Depends and often has accidents. This is difficult to say the least and embarrassing for her when she is in public. She has very little control over her body. Ramona and Rick try to limit trips out with her because of the state she is in. She also prefers to be at their home where she feels safe, stable and allows her the consistency that Alzheimer’s patients need. She has been hospitalized or taken to the emergency room six times in the past 10 months. The most recent time she was taken by ambulance from her doctor’s office because she passed out. Clearly, this is not a woman that needs to be running around town.
Roy has contacted us two times to visit Mother and both times he was able to pick her up and take her out (where they met Carla Williams, daughter and Tara Estes, granddaughter). Carla has never called and asked Ramona to visit. She has made phone calls to Mother on Ramona’s phone as if she was speaking to Mother and says things about picking Mother up to take her some place. When Mother is asked if she wants to go somewhere with Carla or call her back she says NO! We have not forced her to do that because we have seen her stressed out from hearing Carla’s name or after she has seen Carla. The memory of what Carla did to her home still haunts her memory even though she has trouble recalling things. We desire to keep Mother as peaceful and calm as we can given her present state. Not to mention that she has been hospitalized for heart problems. We certainly would like to try not to stress her out and cause her to be hospitalized (or worse) more than she has been in the last ten months.
We are willing to have Roy and/or Carla come to Ramona and Rick’s home every weekend either Saturday or Sunday to visit with Mother in her place of residence. Let me again state that Roy requested two visits and received two visits on the exact days he requested. Carla has asked for none. (I, frankly, find it shocking to find myself in court facing an accusation that she has not been able to visit her mother when I have never received such a request from her!)