July 28, 2012
Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas County was there when I needed them at a time when my neighbor and friend showed serious signs of dementia. She had lived alone for years following her husband's death. One of her passions is dogs and she had a small number of friends and neighbors who asked her to babysit their dogs--a great fit for all. As she began to forget dog-sitting appointments, dog names and owner names, it was evident something was wrong. The last time she babysit my dog, when I paid her she said she needed to get some food. She opened her refrigerator and it was almost empty except for some pickles and a few leftover scraps. She told me of a letter from the IRS asking for more money. I asked her if I could help her and she trusted me to do so. As we worked together to file important papers and stock some food in her refrigerator, it appeared she was having difficulty writing checks, recording them or even taking checks to the bank. She needed someone to help her on a long term basis. You see, she had no relatives that she knew of and no close friends to step in and help her. I contacted the County of Clackamas, however they were limited in the assistance they could give. They mentioned the Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas County which perhaps could help me. When I contacted the Senior Citizens Council and spoke with Louise Marsh, she quickly understood all the signals and behaviors that my friend was manifesting. She gave me some excellent advise. Louise was as concerned as I was about the safety and vulnerability of my friend and agreed to meet with me and my friend at her home. We discussed the pros and cons of my friend remaining in her home and Louise was a compassionate listener and helpful advisor to us both. After another meeting we had convinced my friend to relocate to an assisted care facility nearby. At this point I knew that becoming a legal guardian for my friend was more than I could handle. The Senior Citizens Council helped advise me about the need to contact an attorney to petition the courts for establishing a legal guardian/conservatorship for my friend. When I went to an attorney specializing in senior issues, I was told that I must assign a trustee in my petition. I was elated to find out that Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas County could be named my friend's trustee. At that point, I phoned them to see if they would consider it. Since Louise Marsh had already interviewed my friend, they would discuss it further and bring it before their board for consideration. How lucky my friend was when they accepted her in their trusteeship as her guardian and conservator. The help and guidance of the Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas County, Louise Marsh and Christi Bird made it possible to get safety and asset protection for my friend and neighbor. My dog and I visit our friend often at the living center where she has found a safe and caring home. Her new friends from the Council drop by on a regular basis to see her also and make sure she is happy.
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MY ROLE:General Member of the Public