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By Attorney David Engler

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Yesterday, an ICU physician gave me the concept of “The Documentation of The Demonstration of Love.” It is a beautiful concept and especially useful when trying to determine at the end of life, who is truly acting as the next of kin.

This came up because I am litigating a case for two adult daughters and adult son-in-law who were taking care of their father at the end of his life. To their shock, Adult Protective Services jumped in without a court order and took the ailing father off to live with a longtime “lady-friend.” The father, completely incompetent because of long term COPD, told APS and hospice that he wanted to go back to a friend’s home outside of the county.  The man was being loved by his only daughters and son-in-law as well as his grandchildren.  The government brought in a local police officer and literally strapped the dying man to a stretcher and carted him away.  The scene was emotionally charged as Father and Grandpa was being loaded into the back of an ambulance.  They would never see him again.  He would die two months later, but not before the lady-friend changed the life insurance, power of attorney and will.

Is there a value for losing the presence of your dying parent for the last two months of his life? How do you measure the loss of ability to provide loving care for your dying parent? Maybe the better question is, whether a value can be placed on this sacred time.

But, back to the Doctor’s comments about “The Documentation of The Demonstration of Love.” His thought was brilliant.  Just being related by blood. as opposed to friendship, does not mean your loss of time with a dying person has value.  The physician who sees life and death on a daily basis had a keen intuition as to the relationship between the patient and those who have come to be near at the moment of death.  Some might be there looking at their smartphone in the lobby dealing with the guilt of not having been there enough for Mom. There is the family member who is counting down the minutes to inheritance, big or small.  They are there to make sure the troublesome sibling isn’t getting one over.  There are those who are inconvenienced by the process of death.  Imagine the mind of the Doctor whose sole interest is the patient. He is looking for the Documentation of the Demonstration of Love.  Was the family member at the rehab center every day?  Was Mom’s hair brushed by her daughter no matter what meanness came out of the Mother’s mouth controlled by a progressing dementia? Did the family turn their family room into a hospital room?  Was money spent? Are there pictures of smiles and a hand being held?  Or was the grieving “lady-friend,” twenty years his junior, constantly on the receiving end of money from the older man? Were his clothes clean?

Now, the government agency should never have come in and taken a dying elderly man from his only daughters without some court order. It was a screw up when it happened and that is why we have a lawsuit. But having a legal point is not the same as proving the damage that comes from not being their when your Dad is dying.  We have to dig deeper.  We need proof to show; where was the love?

And as we go through life, maybe it’s not a bad idea to live as if you were preparing for a jury trial.  One day there will be a judgment day and someone will ask to see the documentation of the demonstration of love. If it is important to you that you be seen as having loved, then make sure your life is filled with proof.  Did you leave a smile? Did you sacrifice your time? Did you do the tasks that were difficult; like changing a soiled sheet or holding a person’s hair back when they were sick? Did you bring gifts? Did you send cards? If we live our lives knowing that we will be asked to document our love then we will live in peace with our self and the ultimate finder of fact. 

I have always talked about getting grandma on Facebook or have yiour father look up guys he knew in Korea.  Socializaion helps.  Tim Cearfoss shared these texts for the over 60 set:

Teens have theirs, now Seniors have their very own texting codes.  I thought the following listing was appropriate …

After all the kids have all their little codes..like
BFF, LOL
, etc.  So here are some codes for seniors:

  • ATD – At      the Doctor’s
  • BFF – Best      Friends Funeral
  • BTW –      Bring the Wheelchair
  • BYOT –      Bring Your Own Teeth
  • CBM –      Covered by Medicare
  • CUATSC – See      You at the Senior Center
  • DWI –      Driving While Incontinent
  • FWBB –      Friend with Beta Blockers
  • FWIW –      Forgot Where I Was
  • FYI –      Found Your Insulin
  • GGPBL –      Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low
  • GHA – Got      Heartburn Again
  • HGBM – Had      Good Bowel Movement
  • IMHO – Is      My Hearing-Aid On?
  • LMDO –      Laughing My Dentures Out
  • LOL –      Living on Lipitor
  • LWO –      Lawrence Welk’s On
  • OMMR – On      My Massage Recliner
  • OMSG – Oh      My! Sorry, Gas
  • ROFL..CGU –      Rolling on the Floor Laughing…Can’t get Up!
  • TOT –      Texting on Toilet
  • TTYL – Talk      to You Louder
  • WAITT – Who      Am I Talking To?
  • WTFA – Wet      the Furniture Again
  • WTP –      Where’re the Prunes
  • WWNO –      Walker Wheels Need Oil

Hope these help. GGLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in!)

By Attorney David Engler

Golf on your mind?

In Florida if you punch a guy over 65 in the nose it is a felony. No matter what.

A Sheet and Tube Mill retired mid-level executive and his retired school teacher wife moved to a Condo golf course townhouse near Naples. A boy who had grown-up in Brier Hill during the forties, went to Korea, worked at a mill in purchasing, was now taking it easy. He would visit the grandchildren every winter holiday back in Youngstown, Ohio, play golf and sometimes drive over to see the dogs race. Brier Hill was a melting pot of immigrants and their children. Everybody had a church…Poles, Italians and the Irish like him. Mac learned to play golf at the nine-hole-public course, up Fifth Avenue, closer to where the wealthier people lived. You could not spend more than $20 for a season. The beer gardens were nearby for after a round, where everyone knew who was a golfer or a sandbagger.

Down South, where he and Lorraine now lived, just outside his very modest townhouse; the sliding glass patio door was just 10 feet away from the practice putting green. Every day another retiree from New Jersey who had worked in retail clothing and lived at an even more modest condo further away from the Ocean, practiced his putting and very little chipping. The 30 by 30 green was close to one of those many man-made drainage ponds that courses gussy-up and call a lake. Herb, the guy from Jersey, apparently suffered from a BiPolar Disorder and retired early and moved to Florida. He was 69. His wife was happy anytime Herb was out of the house. So Herb joined the closest golf course at River Wind and obsessed over putting. He was on the practice green for more than three hours a day, 10 feet from Mac. Mac was getting older by the day and had always been an unreasonable man. And it is suggested by research, that early onset dementia can start to turn a cranky person, even crankier.

Day after day Mac either sat in his condo looking out the screen door, past the small concrete slab of a porch, at Herb, the skinny guy from New Jersey putting hour after hour. Or if it wasn’t too hot, Mac would sit on his porch and look at him. Mac believed that a man ought to be able to sit on his back porch drink Buds, eat grapes and spit seeds and not have to look at Herb. So after Year 3, Month 4 of the incessant putting, Mac starts with the comments. Mac had no idea of Herb’s ethnic background, place in life or mental history. He decided to call him everything and anything for days under his breath, but loud enough for a 69-year-old guy to hear. The day In August was hotter and stickier than most Florida days; and the war began. Herb mouthed something back and Mac arose from his canvas-back camp chair, strode 7 f feet and landed a blow to Herb’s nose. Down goes Herb. One of the dozens of other old people simply looking out their screen doors for amusement and a chance to spot the book club girls making the turn at 10, called the Police.

Herb was okay. But since he was a senior (someone over 65 in Florida) it was more than a misdemeanor assault; it was a felony. Herb could care less than he got decked by a guy 11 years older than him with two replacement knees. No, Mac had to be stopped. A couple of the condo ladies agreed and let the Judge know it. Mac was too proud to hire an attorney. The Judge would have to be a fool to see that a man should not have to look at the same lame golfer taking thousands of putts all within the reach of a grape seed spit. Maybe one of the condo commandos had some clout because the Man in the robe came down heavy on Mac. He was given a death sentence. Five Years reporting probation and HE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO GOLF! The $500 dollar fine and court cost was nothing All those years paying a silly HOA fee and paying off the mortgage so he would never had to see another house payment in his life; and “this is what he gets?”

If he wants to go back North, he needs the permission of his probation officer. He stills sits on the porch and reruns the injustice in his mind. None of his kids bring it up at family celebrations, because they know Dad won’t stop talking about it. Herb no longer plays golf at River Wind anymore. In fact someone thought he had died. Two more years of probation and maybe he’ll play again. Or maybe he won’t since that would be a good way to show the traitors that turned him in that he could hold a grudge.

There is no real moral other than 1) get an attorney, 2) older people can get cranky and could use the help of a therapists 3) the law shouldn’t apply if you are an older person hitting a younger person and 4) do not in any manner, piss off a guy from Brier Hill!

As with all of our stories, the people and stories are real, but the names have been changed. In every case we have received the permission of our client to tell the story.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

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