While many millions of Floridians and tourists from afar are celebrating the 2021 holiday season amongst family and friends, many thousands of Floridians are in lockdown terror inside of nursing home guardianships, wherein they are deprived of contacts and communications with the outside world, including their own spouses with whom scores of precious years were spent together. Floridians who bear the extreme weight of court-ordered professional guardianships alone cannot attend their own religious services ever again, rejoice in family events ever again, or even embrace their lifetime mates ever again.
Elder advocates say that this is not America; naturalized immigrants having fled to this land do not recognize her any more; military families cannot comprehend how their sacrifices were for naught in their old age; and patriotic homes grieve endlessly for their missing loved ones trapped inside of tiny rooms, like cells, without telephones, computers, envelopes and stamps, and any means of sending and receiving messages.
Families and marriages are torn asunder every day by guardians’ decisions and corresponding judicial actions. In rural Suwanee County, Richard Herring has been separated and isolated from his wife for more than four years, suffering from medical crises alone in his forbidding cell. Near Tallahassee, capital of the Sunshine State, there is no sun shining and no Christmas visits or gifts for 92-year-old Victor Lambou. For Jews in professional guardianships, there are bitter isolations, restrictions, and religious and sensory deprivations – no contact orders, no kosher foods, no Jewish holiday observances, and court-ordered cremations instead of proper Jewish funerals and burials. Jewish Wards Al Katz, Jan Garwood, Marie Winkelman, and Idelle Stern all suffered such pronounced deprivations of their rights to freely practice their religion. Bradenton Guardian Anne Ridings took Alice Yaniscavitch’s adored rosary and cherished wedding rings from her before her death alone in guardianship lockdown, as her family begged to bring Alice home from Anne’s COVID-infested forced nursing home placement for Alice.
Beloved husband Hershel Harber died alone in guardianship lockdown forcibly separated for months from his wife, who ordered an autopsy of his body marked with multiple level four bed sores open to the bone. Beloved father Dr. Dale Kewitz lost his life to gangrene in a Manatee County guardianship, with photographs recording Dale’s excruciating last months of his life.
While it takes but moments for a probate court – completely unfamiliar with a potential Ward – to overturn a productive lifetime of achievements and familial relationships, it would take the rest of a lifetime to recover from the emotional traumas, medical neglect, and financial excesses and exploitations inherent in masses of Florida’s thousands of guardianships proliferating from coast to coast at the expense of human dignity and success.
Is this America? Is this the New Year 2022 for our truly “Greatest Generation” whose lives, loves, and limbs were lost to preserve our human rights to freely practice our religions and to protect the integrity of the American family? Let us pray for forgiveness of our collective sins in letting human blood spill from bed sores and gangrene that kill and all other manifestations of needless suffering through neglect, abuse, and exploitation of our elders. Let us pray steadfastly that no Floridians know any further heinous guardianship realities blood-staining the State of Florida.
©Beverly Newman. All rights reserved.