It is an often occurrence, that My Elder Advocate is called to Advocate for a resident in a Nursing Home who has been placed there against their will by a court-appointed guardian, and generally is being abused or neglected. In many of these guardianship cases (in New York Called an article 81 proceeding), close family members have been banned from visiting their loved ones by guardians. In other cases, nursing homes have been declared guardians and they have pillaged the personal accounts of the people they are supposed to protect. As an elder advocate, it can be heartbreaking to watch these cases. As the number of seniors increase, so will the number of individuals with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This trend has produced an increasing demand to invoke guardianship on behalf of incapacitated seniors. However, guardianship – a legal tool which gives one person or entity the power to make personal and/or property decisions for another – has the potential of harming older adults rather than protecting them if not carefully administered. The rising incidence of elder abuse in this country and continuing reports of the failure of courts and the states to prevent exploitation of incapacitated adults by their guardians have long been of concern to My Elder Advocate and other advocates across the country. Take the case of a former cab driver who befriended an 87-year old customer with Alzheimer’s. The cab driver was also a convicted bank robber. Somehow, he was granted guardianship of the elderly...

Citizens of the United States would like to believe that our Government is being honest with us especially when it comes to regulating the type and quality of our healthcare. An honest regulatory system should especially be in place when our frail and vulnerable elderly are concerned. That’s one of the prime reasons we have gotten involved in elder advocacy. I have been involved with the elderly in one way or another or the last 42 years, both as an employee in Nursing Homes, or now as an elder advocate for a company called My Elder Advocate, the leading elder advocacy company in the world, and now a franchising company. In all those years, I’ve watched laws protecting elders in nursing homes become stronger, and regulation of these same laws become weaker, to the point where many nursing homes, the Federal Government, and State Government ignore them completely in some cases. These days, elders need an advocate they can trust. A case in point is the annual surveys that the Federal Government is required to do in every one of our 16,000 Nursing Homes in the country. To be part of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must meet certain requirements set by Congress. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has entered into an agreement with state governments to do health and fire safety inspections of these nursing homes and investigate complaints about nursing home care. In this post, I will discuss the law that requires that annual surveys be...