Our c urrent programs include
1.Guardianship/Conservatorship (court appointment as surrogate decision-maker) , the first non-profit corporate program of its kind in the state and
2.Guardianship Diversion (advocacy, care monitoring/case management and financial management).
We first introduced our highly successful Guardianship Diversion program in 1989, with the intention of delaying or avoiding the need for costly court intervention such as Guardianship/Conservatorship. This program helps vulnerable adults remain independent and free from abuse, neglect, self-neglect and exploitation. Eighty percent (80%) of the persons referred to this program have been determined to be vulnerable to abuse or have already been victimized and may be frightened, intimidated or simply unaware that they have been exploited. They may have diminished cognition, memory deficits, physical disabilities or mental illnesses. They are isolated, lonely and very trusting, making them easy targets for those who feel an inflated sense of entitlement- you have what I want and you will give it to me.
Abuse, neglect and exploitation affects and is perpetrated by persons from every demographic group imaginable. Guardianship Diversion client demographics are broad in range, covering a multitude of races, ethnicity, educational backgrounds and socio-economic groups. Seventy five percent (75%) of the clients we serve through this risk intervention program have incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. They can ill afford to meet their daily living needs of shelter, nourishment and medical care let alone to contribute towards the costs of our services from which they so greatly benefit.
Your neighbor, one of your loved ones or even yourself might well become one of the statistical "1 in 9" vulnerable adults to become a victim of the almost silent epidemic of Elder Abuse. Imagine, if you can, being 87 years old and blind, granting a Power of Attorney to one of your few living relatives only to have that trusted relative sell your all of your "treasures" and wipe out your bank accounts while you are hospitalized for a life threatening illness which you survive. Or can you conceive of being a 72 year old with an Alzheimer type dementia spending 10 hours a day tied to a chair so that you are "easier" to care for? Or can you envision being a 75 year old veteran with advanced dementia and critical medical conditions living with a relative who uses your meager income to satisfy their drug addictions instead of purchasing the medications you rely on to keep you comfortable. Or can you visualize being 60 years old with an advanced neurological disorder which causes you to be total dependent on care, with absolutely no income and no assets left because your children went on a spending spree. Where would you go and would anyone care?
Senior Citizens Council stands up for these clients and others like them who have suffered indignities and disrespect or have no one trustworthy available to support them in their challenging time of life. They are referred to us by other social service agencies, community gatekeepers, law enforcement and the legal community and each referral is as important to us as the one before and the one to come next. We provide our clients with financial management or we assist them in self-management with budget development, bill-paying and bank reconciliation services. We advocate for the benefits to which they are entitled and assist them in accessing community resources, thereby ensuring their housing, nutrition, medical care and safety.