Catholic Charities Helps Adults Retain Dignity and Independence
The Adult Advocacy Services arm of Catholic Charities helps adults 55 and older who are deemed incompetent by the courts and who have no family resources to call upon. The aim is to provide people with an appropriate level of care and guidance so their living arrangements can be stabilized and their dignity upheld.
Martha had been hospitalized more than twelve times in a six-month period of time. She needed medication to help her cope with her mental illness, so that she could take care of her physical health and her living situation. Catholic Charities was named Martha’s guardian after an emergency referral from a local hospital. She was placed in a nursing home and, in time, submitted to all treatments, including medication. This was a major improvement.
“At Catholic Charities, we try to concentrate on the appropriateness of the assistance we’re providing,” David Moebius, Operations Manager, said. “We expect something from just about every person we serve. It’s about empowerment, accomplishment and independence –and not simply handouts.”
Martha is now living with her sister in her sister’s home. She has improved to the point that her sister now believes she can take care of her, so the sister has applied to the court to become Martha’s guardian.
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Jim was suffering from dementia. He’d begun wandering away from home at night, and his 70-year-old nephew was having to go out at all hours to find him and bring him back home. At times, Jim would become agitated and shout at family members who were helping him. The family also reported that when they would bring Jim food, he would often feed it to his 15 cats. He wasn’t bathing or eating regularly, and his clothes were hanging off of him like curtains.
Clearly, Jim was having problems caring for himself, so local authorities called Adult Advocacy Services for assistance. Staff interviewed Jim in his home, saw the situation and decided an emergency guardianship should be sought. This was secured the following day. They took Jim to the local emergency room to have him checked over. He was eventually placed in a nursing facility near his home, which he came to enjoy very much.
“Everyone deserves to live in dignity, in clean, safe surroundings,” Moebius said. “For a lot of people, Catholic Charities is the curbstone at the edge of the abyss.”