Guardianship Success Story: Eleanor

Eleanor raised a family and lived among them for many years. Unfortunately, most of her family and friends had alcohol and drug issues. Eleanor managed reasonably well until she started developing some dementia. When she started becoming forgetful, money would go missing; sometimes so much money went missing that she couldn’t pay her bills. She started drinking too much herself to try to deaden the fear and anxiety that growing within her. There was no one she could count on to look out for her. One day she had a medical crisis and ended up in the hospital.

Once the hospital stabilized her, Eleanor was moved into a long term care facility. Because she hadn’t regained her ability to make medical decisions for herself, the facility petitioned a guardianship and a professional guardian was appointed. The professional guardian monitored Eleanor’s continued improvement and after several years, Eleanor expressed a wish to live independently again. The professional guardian felt that moving into an assisted living facility would be the best alternative. Eleanor visited some assisted living facilities but didn’t feel that they would allow the level of independence that she wanted. Eleanor wanted the total independence of living in an apartment by herself. The professional guardian was reluctant to do so because of the history and when Eleanor continued to be adamant, the professional guardian resigned and the Court appointed a different professional guardian.

The second professional guardian assisted Eleanor in finding a place to live. The area Eleanor chose was not in a neighborhood that the professional guardian would have chosen for her but Eleanor gave a reasonable explanation regarding her choice and the professional guardian made the arrangements. At first Eleanor needed caregivers for additional emotional support as the transition to living independently after so many years in long term care was quite a dramatic change but over time she felt more comfortable with her independence and the professional guardian discontinued the caregivers.

Eleanor also found that she liked having a professional guardian managing most of her money. She and the professional guardian worked out a monthly budget so Eleanor had weekly discretionary money. If she needed more money for a special purchase she just called the professional guardian, who would supply it. Eleanor found that when family or friends tried to “borrow” money from her, she could let the professional guardian be the person saying “no” allowing Eleanor to shrug her shoulders and say “sorry!”

After more time elapsed, Eleanor had improved so much that the professional guardian asked the Court to reinstate Eleanor’s ability to make her own medical decisions. She continues to do well with minimal assistance from the professional guardian and emotionally healthy family and friends. Should Eleanor have a medical emergency, the professional guardian will be there to assist Eleanor according to her stated preferences.

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