[The Netflix movie I Care a Lot] is fiction but the story all too familiar to thousands of Americans whose elderly parents have been entrapped by little scrutinised guardianship programmes. Many speak of a sense of helplessness in the face of system rife with the abuse, neglect and profit-driven exploitation of vulnerable people.
An estimated 1.3 million adults are under the care of guardians who control about $50bn of their assets. The little understood system has long suffered a lack of oversight, transparency and basic protections.
Karen Buck, executive director of the SeniorLAW Center in Pennsylvania, said: “It is the state coming in and taking away your most fundamental decisions, your fundamental right to autonomy, and giving those decisions to someone else who may be a total stranger to you. So it is a very drastic measure and it just simply doesn’t get that much attention until there is crisis and scandal.”
My father had dementia and I was his caregiver. Here’s what I wish I had known
In 2007, I was suddenly plunged into the role of caregiver for my then 75-year-old father, who had vascular dementia. His short-term memory was...