39 States and Counting: Caregiving Across State Lines

I was a long-distance caregiver for my parents for nearly 15 years. Through illness, surgery and rehabilitation, I helped them stay out of institutional care, like a nursing home, and instead remain at home - where they wanted to be. During this time, I purchased my house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with my parents in mind – hoping that Mom and Pop could come to the Cape from New York, enjoy time by the seashore, and get some rest and …

Guardian Angels: Volunteering to Make an Impact

Nobody knew much about Roger. His niece had dropped him off at the nursing home one day, saying there was a family emergency. Could they keep him overnight? Days passed, and then weeks. Some thought that Roger’s niece had been pocketing his Social Security checks, and when authorities started catching on, she bolted. Whatever the reason, she never came back. Enter Mark Desmond, Roger’s volunteer guardian. Mark, a newly retired sales manager, was determined to find out all he could about Roger, …

Building Family: How Guardianship Can Create Community

The Post-it note on the box said, “Little things. Wanna look?” I found it in my grandparents’ dining room, tucked alongside the candles and platters they used on special occasions. At that point, my grandmother, whom I called Dibi, had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. Ever the charmer, Dibi could hide it well, but those of us who knew her knew the battle was just beginning. I love to think about that box and imagine what was …

Choosing Home for Someone Else

I am my husband’s guardian. I was appointed by the Vermont probate court after a court hearing over 13 years ago. He had suffered a severe stroke, was disabled and could no longer manage his affairs. Although he had lost his speech, he developed his own sign language and could make his wishes known, at least to those of us who were close to him. And he clearly wanted to go home, and to make sure, he celebrated leaving the …

Caregiving Across State Lines

Meet Lynn Achter, a Wyoming resident, who was granted guardianship of her brother in Oregon after he suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident.   From a thousand miles away, she managed his money, made medical decisions, and coordinated the resources and services he needed. The distance made Lynn’s caregiving responsibilities even more difficult, and she decided to move her brother to Wyoming.  That’s when Lynn discovered that Wyoming did not have a uniform guardianship law, and she would have …