Community Guardianship manages the personal and/or financial affairs of an individual who cannot manage for themselves due to physical injuries, mental illness, developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, or other age-related dementia.
Clients Served Last Year:
Funding Generously Provided by:
Suffolk County Department of Social Services and private donations.
Michele Morley, Esq.
Kristin Lhuillier, Esq.
As the number of seniors increase, so does the number of individuals with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as other mental illness or disabilities. These elderly and vulnerable adults, as well as younger adults who are mentally and/or physically incapacitated, especially those with little or no income, are all too often abandoned and unable to maintain their affairs, or fall victim to abuse, financial exploitation, victimization, health issues, and loss of property.
Manage the affairs of incapacitated adults to allow them to maintain their independence as much as possible.
How We Do it:
EAC Network serves as Guardian for incapacitated adults who do not have a capable friend, relative, or responsible agency willing to serve. We ensure that the individual’s needs are met through a comprehensive assessment, service planning, regular visits, ongoing support, and reporting to the Court. Services include, but are not limited to, making arrangements for food, clothing, shelter, safety, health care, and social needs, as well as managing the individual’s property and financial affairs. Our Case Managers assist with eviction processing, short-term hospitalizations, establishing repayment plans with utility companies, and participation in treatment meetings at nursing homes. We provide consent for medical treatment and offer legal support including advocacy for entitlements, public benefits, and other services. In addition, we serve as surrogate decision makers, visit clients, coordinate all care, advocate for appropriate treatments and services, and are available 24/7 for emergencies.
The Outcomes of Community Guardianship
Prior to the appointment of EAC Network as Guardian, the majority of our Community Guardianship seniors are at risk of losing their residence.
90% of individuals in our care have been able to continue to reside in the place they call home while 10% require a higher level of care.
We have successfully secured financial benefits including pensions, Social Security, and SSI for 50% of our seniors, and are working diligently to secure benefits for the remainder.
What People Say About Community Guardianship
I would like to express my satisfaction with EAC Network. EAC Network’s Guardianship program provides me with groceries, toiletries, and household needs, which are funded through my own finances that EAC Network budgets. EAC Network has these items delivered to my home. In addition, they have arranged Prime Time meals to be delivered to me on a daily basis. EAC Network finances my monthly expenses including my mortgage, oil, electricity, telephone, cable, internet, water, home insurance, and my steamfilters union dues. Thank you for allowing me as much independence as possible.
Through the Community Guardianship program I act as the guardian of two mentally-challenged adult siblings and their elderly father who were removed from their home by Adult Protective Services for deplorable living conditions while residing with an older sibling. This abusive sibling was also taking the trio’s social security benefits. EAC Network as guardian has worked on numerous occasions with doctors at a neighboring hospital, on a 24-hour basis, to allow the elderly father to receive necessary surgical procedures to sustain his life. We have also worked with the local D.A.’s office to assist in providing medical information in connection with a criminal investigation against the abusing party. EAC Network continues to work with the nursing home where the trio are residing to allow them to have as much access to social stimulation (such as outside day programs) as possible.
I believe EAC Network’s Community Guardianship program has had an effect on the surrounding community of West Babylon by helping our client Mr. H. remove squatters from his home. Prior to EAC Network receiving Mr. H.’s case, his home had become the neighborhood drug house. While still living in his home, squatters forced their way in and began to squat, steal his property, and abuse and sell drugs from his home. Not only was Mr. H.’s home lowering the surrounding property values, but it was also bringing prostitution, violent crimes, burglaries, and vandalism to the neighborhood. Through hard work and determination, the Community Guardianship program was able to have the squatters evicted from Mr. H.’s home. Although there are many other challenges in Mr. H.’s future, our presence in his life has given him and his neighbors the opportunity to live in a crime-free environment.
My client is an 84 year-old woman who lives in Center Moriches. She currently resides in a home by herself and suffers from severe mental health issues. She has been living on her own for over 15 years. Prior to the appointment of EAC Network as her guardian, she was living with no running water or electricity. She was receiving socials security; however individuals were cashing her check and spending her money, leaving her with only a small allowance. These individuals were also stealing electricity from her home and running up a large bill that caused her electric to be shut off. After the appointment of EAC Network as her legal guardian a lot has changed in the life of our client. We have since turned back on her water and electricity. We have also established a payment plan to get her accounts in good standing.We have established a bank account for her and her social security check is now being directly deposited into her new bank account every month. We also applied for a grant, which was approved, and this grant provided the funds for a new water pump and new electric outlets to be added to her home. She is now receiving SNAP benefits, Meals on Wheels, and was recently approved for Medicaid. Although the condition of our client is still a work in progress, she is no longer just surviving.
My first client is a 24-year old male who has Down Syndrome. EAC Network is his partial guardian. Since working with him we got him in day program that allows him to learn, play, and socialize with other people with Down Syndrome. His girlfriend is also in the afternoon part of the program. The client loves going to the program so much that he gets up two hours before he is needed to and waits for the bus! I take the client out to get ice cream and lunch, provide a fulfilling Christmas for the family, assist the family with any needs, and see him every month to make sure he and the family are doing well. My second client is a woman in her 60’s who is a paranoid schizophrenic. I work with her by paying her monthly bills, seeing her at least once a month, and talking to her on the phone daily. Since working with her, we have done repairs on her home, provided Meals on Wheels, worked with her ACT team, provided monthly groceries, made her birthday and holidays special, and advocated on her behalf. The client is very grateful for our services and I enjoying assisting her with her everyday needs!
EAC Network became the guardian of a 74 year-old female whose primary prognosis is dementia and secondary is Alzheimer’s. She was residing in her home with her children where it was deemed both structurally and personally unsafe. There was suspected drug use, a multitude of interlopers, and consistent police intervention needed that made it an unsafe living environment. Her well-being was being hindered and she was also being taken advantaged of financially. APS was contacted and she was taken via ambulance and hospitalized for two weeks for increased symptoms of depression, agitation, and confusion in the home and minor medical issues. In addition, due to the strains the family members presented, her previous guardian had just resigned. Since EAC Network has assumed guardianship, we established a permanent stable living arrangement for our client. She is currently residing at an assisted living facility and receives HHA services three times a week to assist her with ADL skills. Since residing there she is no longer underweight and routine medical care for her has been established. We manage her finances, opened a bank account, and had her pension and Social Security benefits directly deposited to her new bank account. Her home has been secured and her children were evicted from her home. The application and repairs to sell her home have been completed and a court-appointed real estate agent has been selected to sell her home. Being a Guardian you have to have your heart in it. It isn’t a 9 to 5 job. I often have a scheduled appointment with my ward and other things come up. She does not want to go to the appointment until I assist her with her hair; she accidentally went to the bathroom on herself; she wants assistance picking out and changing her clothes or helping her put sunblock on; and her favorite: buying her snacks. It’s the little things that make them happy and can make the quality of life better for our wards. Often we receive phone calls from the facility and family members all times of the day and we answer with compassion. If our ward is in the hospital we sit in the hospital as well. There is not a limit of what we would not do to ensure their needs are met.
My client is a 49 year-old woman who currently resides in a temporary shelter. She use to live in a home with her brother; they both suffered from mental health illnesses. She was removed from her home due to a hoarding situation and the property was deemed as hazardous and unlivable. When they removed her from her home they were unable to locate her brother who was considered a recluse and never left the home. There was speculation that the brother may have passed away in the home. However, due to the condition of the home, officials were not able to locate him within the home. Also, her mental state limited her from assisting officials to locate her brother, as she believed he was staying with friends. Thus, her brother was placed on the national missing persons list. Since the appointment of EAC Network as guardian, we were able to make contact with a hoarding company who specialized with this type of situation. The hoarding company was able to locate the brother who had passed in the home, where his remains were eventually found. We were also able to locate some benefits for my ward that had been pending with Social Security, and we are now in the process of becoming the representative payee, so we can acquire the money that will help her with the establishment of a more permanent living environment.