by Diane Wilson
Definition: verb abused, abusing. 1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one’s authority.
2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way
Noun wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
Every human being on this Earth is born with inalienable God-given rights; no man or woman has the right to take these away from another human being. Those who commit such heinous actions deserve to be punished for it. Crime does not pay, or does it??
All across America, in every state, in every city, in every town, we are seeing the horrific abuse of our most vulnerable citizens; the elderly, the disabled and the children in a country where we once believed we were all free. These crimes are being committed by strangers as well as family members and so-called loved ones and friends.
I grew up in a loving home with two parents who worked hard, obeyed the law, paid their taxes and taught their children right from wrong. We went to Bible school and church on Sundays. I was told that the police were good and would protect you from criminals; that the courtroom was where justice was always served and if you lied on the stand under oath you were committing perjury and would go to jail. I would learn much later in life that those teachings were not true, that the land of the free was indeed not free, that crime paid handsomely and lying under oath despite evidence to the contrary did not mean an automatic jail sentence, not if you were in cahoots with the judge and his cronies.
So I no longer believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy. I no longer believe crime doesn’t pay or that justice is served in the courtroom. I no longer believe that America is a free country, free from tyranny and a protector of human rights. Yet I do believe in a much Higher Power, God, our Prime Creator, Master of the Universe. My faith in Him is very strong and completely unshakeable. With that knowledge, I also know that God doesn’t judge us. I know He forgives us when we sin. I know we are here to learn life’s lessons and to learn forgiveness. We need to learn to forgive ourselves and others as well.
Forgiveness is something I am seriously struggling with right now. I applied for guardianship of my mother to protect her, her home and her assets; to make certain that she would always remain in her home and never end up in a nursing home. This was what my siblings wanted for her and what my mother did not want. No one wants that. I was naïve about court. I was unaware that judges and lawyers and other so-called professionals conspired together to play family members against each other in order to gain control of the elderly person’s assets. I was unaware that they all benefitted monetarily from their actions. It took me a long time to forgive myself for bringing this to court in the first place. I know that I saved my mother’s life by doing what I did, but was it ultimately worth it? After all, the last three years of her life were made a living hell under the “watch and care” of the late Judge Joel Asarch, a Nassau County Supreme Court judge; Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY and Anne Recht, a geriatric care manager with AMRecht Associates in Plainview, NY.
“Forgiveness is Divine.” I struggle with that too. I understand what forgiveness means. I understand forgiveness frees you to live life without holding on to anger and resentment. Forgiveness of ourselves and others for the wrongdoings we have caused ourselves or suffered because of another’s actions also has tremendous physical and psychological effects. I am completely aware of this. I am no longer angry at those who took my mother’s life. The judge passed away shortly after my Mom died. I heard rumors that he committed suicide. Was it his guilt? Guilt for sentencing so many others besides my mother to life imprisonment in squalid nursing homes with no hope of ever getting out? Can I forgive him? I don’t know.
Anne Recht went on to get her own home health care license. This allowed her to hire home health aides through her own company and not rely on other home health care agencies. So now instead of insisting that a nursing home was the only way out for a person, as she did in my mother’s case, she now insists that they are better off in their own home. Money always seems to make people change their set of beliefs. Can I forgive her? I don’t know.
That leaves Mary. Mary Giordano is still being assigned guardianship cases of the elderly through her law firm, Franchina and Giordano. From what I have been told nothing has changed. I received a phone call last year from an attorney who wanted to speak to me about Mary and the crimes she committed against my mother. It seems she had a client whose mother had the ill fate of having Mary assigned as her guardian. The daughter did not like Mary at all and did some research on her. She came across all of the stories about Mom. This lawyer was hired to get Mary removed as guardian and hopefully replace her with her daughter, someone who loved and cared about her mother, not a stranger. I spoke with her a number of times and then the calls stopped. I never did find out if her mother was saved from the same horrific fate as my mother.
The most recent case has to do with a friend of Mary’s, Joan Bebry, who was a very wealthy woman. Apparently Mary wrote her will and when Joan died, Mary became guardian of Joan’s disabled son. It wasn’t too long before Mary was removed as guardian and a family member is now in charge. It is now in the courts. From what I “heard”, there was a substantial amount of overcharging on Mary’s part and missing funds. Is that true? What I do know is that the same thing happened in my mother’s case.
So now getting back to forgiveness and the fact that forgiveness is divine. Does that mean that I am not capable of doing what mankind is sent here to do? I struggle with forgiving the people who abused my mother. How do I forgive someone who kidnapped my mother from her beloved home? How do I forgive the person who locked my mother up in a nursing home against her will? How do I forgive someone who knowingly signed off on giving antipsychotic drugs to my mother that eventually killed her? How do I forgive this woman (who was supposed to protect her and follow the law) who committed perjury on the stand against me time and time again, who took her money and her peace of mind, who locked my mother up in her own home with strangers, isolated her from her own family, from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who denied my mother the simplest request of a warm sweater when she was cold? How do I forgive her? Can I forgive her? Does she deserve forgiveness?
I know that I can forgive the person and not condone their actions. I teach that to others all the time. I struggle with forgiving Mary for so many reasons, one being that she is not at all remorseful for what she did. I know this because she continues to do the same to others. She never once said she was sorry.
Does an abuser deserve forgiveness? I don’t know the answer to that question.
For those of you who have endured a similar experience, how have you handled forgiveness?
Staffing, whether insufficient in labor force or hours of care provided, was a common thread among 96% of states cited for poor nursing home care, according to a first-ever state-by-state analysis.
Only seven states provided more than one hour of professional nursing care per resident per day, notes Families for Better Care’s Nursing Home Report Cards.
With the goal of applauding states that provide good quality care, while motivating improvement for those that score poorly, Families for Better Care’s survey also ranked the top states for nursing home care as well as those posting “failing grades.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the South accounted for much of the survey’s lower scoring states for nursing home care, with Texas (51), Louisiana (50), Indiana (49), Oklahoma (48) and Missouri (47).
Adequacy of staffing played a key role in determining state rankings, noted Brian Lee, Families for Better Care’s executive director.
“A distinctive trend differentiated the good states from the bad states,” he said. “States whose nursing homes staffed at higher levels ranked far better than those with fewer staffing hours.”
The analysis, which scored, ranked and graded states on eight different federal quality measures—ranging from the percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies to the number of hours provided by caregivers per resident—found that states whose nursing homes employed an abundance of professional nurses and frontline caregivers translated to higher quality scores.
Ranking states according to this criteria, three states (Alaska, Hawaii and Maine) scored a “superior” grade in all staffing measures—each ranking among the nation’s best nursing home states.
Conversely, the four states receiving below average grades overall for failing staffing measures were Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.
“The data reflect what academicians, residents, families, and ombudsmen have heralded for years; the higher the staffing levels, the better the care,” Lee said.
Widespread abuse and neglect was another area of concern recorded in Families for Better Care’s analysis, as 1 in 5 nursing homes abused, neglected, or mistreated residents in almost half of all states.
- Eleven states get failing grades for nursing home care (khou.com)
- Eleven states get failing grades for nursing home care (cbsnews.com)
- Alabama’s nursing home care receives a D ranking in national review (al.com)
- New Report Gives Illinois Nursing Homes Failing Grade (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Oklahoma 48th worst in nursing home care (koco.com)
- Nurse Next Door Simultaneously Launches Two Seattle Area Locations to Address Needs of Seniors (prweb.com)
- Nursing homes’ financial reserves (japantimes.co.jp)
- 2 file complaints against Ormond nursing home already on fed’s watchlist (news-journalonline.com)
- Benefits of Availing Services of Nursing Homes (notarohomes.wordpress.com)
This is Part Three of Joan Pezzollo’s story about the guardianship abuse of her mother, Marilyn Ingrasani, and the tragedy that befell her family.
As of the last court hearing, overseen by Judge Knoebel of the Nassau County Supreme Court, Joan was given “permission” for a total of four “supervised” visits with her mother before the next hearing in August; this despite the protests of Virginia Belling, George Esernio and Joel Kaplan. These visits will be supervised by Virginia Belling, the geriatric care manager assigned by the late Judge Joel Asarch.
As of yesterday, July 10, 2013, Marilyn lies dying in a hospital bed. Joan is forbidden to see her Mom.
By Joan Pezzollo
“Every day I try to wrap my head around this nightmare. I look back and wonder how I was made out to be the villain when my mother and I truly adored each other and I did everything I could to care for her. I ask myself and others over and over again, how can a woman, an uneducated illegal immigrant, posing as a home health care aide and medical student, manage to “fool” a litany of so-called “legal experts” with a combined total of over 150 years’ experience in the law? Did she really fool them or were they working together with her? According to experts that I have spoken with who are very familiar with the criminality of the court system, the judge and these attorneys knew exactly what was going on. The consensus of my family and friends and every other person whose loved ones are/were victims’ of guardianship/elder abuse, this case is simply about money and the looting of my mother’s estate.
The late Nassau County Supreme Court judge, Joel Asarch, who was the presiding judge over this case and at the helm of this abuse, had been practicing law since 1979; he was also a judge for the past 12 years up until his death.
The guardian attorney, George Esernio of Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, New York, has been practicing many different facets of the law for the past 45 years. His bio states that he is active in community and charitable organizations and has served as an officer, director and general counsel of the North Shore Boys & Girls Club among many other foundations. Shouldn’t a person involved with children be kind and compassionate and knowledgeable? George has refused to allow me to see my own mother for the past four years. In fact, I provided Mr. Esernio with a stack of pictures showing me, my mom, the twins and the rest of my family all together before she met Rachel. Before he wrote his report, that no one is allowed to see, he sent these back to me via courier. He was not remotely interested in the fact that Rachel Jones was lying, that she was the one committing elder abuse.
The lawyer who started this mess, Joel Kaplan, a partner in Kaplan Belsky Ross, LLP in Garden city, NY is also the guardian-ad-litem (GAL) for my mother and assigned by the court to “watch out for her needs.” His bio states that he is “an experienced litigator in all fields of law” and president of B’nai Brith International. Well, B’nai Brith International touts the fact that “advocating for seniors” is a prime agenda item. If that is true, how has he allowed the abuse of my mother to go on for so long?
Judge Asarch, when I applied for guardianship of my mother to protect and save her from Rachel Jones, denied my application. But he did assign a geriatric care manager, Virginia Belling, of Virginia Belling Senior Placement Services, Inc., in Massapequa, NY to “oversee” my mother’s care. Virginia’s website states that she is “chair of the advisory board of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, and has worked with the foundation since 1987. SENIOR PLACEMENT SERVICES specializes in assisting those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and in improving the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.” So here is a woman who supposedly knows about this disease and yet ignored my pleas for help and never investigated Rachel’s background. Virginia allowed a non-certified home health aide to live with and care for my mother, allowed her to give my mother medication and never checked on the conditions of the home or my mother’s hygiene. She refused to do a mini-mental status on Mom from the beginning. It took two years of going to court before the judge finally ordered Virginia to obtain a safe return bracelet, which is crucial for patients with Alzheimer’s. The elaborate alarm system in my mother’s home, including cameras, was disabled by Rachel Jones. This system was installed for the protection of my mother after her home was burglarized. It also allowed anyone who was caring for her to know if she opened the door to leave which is very beneficial for the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient.
I hired private detectives, at my own expense, to investigate Rachel and what was truly going on in Mom’s home. It was discovered that she had no home health care training, no specialized training caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s, that she was not a medical student, had no driver’s license, and was in this country illegally, Once Virginia was notified about all of this, she simply ignored these facts and still allowed Rachel to stay on as Mom’s caretaker and drive my mother around. I was flabbergasted! Every one of the attorneys, including the judge, had a legal responsibility to report Rachel to immigration and to the police and not one of them filed any report or called any agency. Virginia also knew that Rachel took my mother to the DMV and had her sign over one of her cars to her, a Toyota Camry. And when the lease was up on her Mercedes, despite the fact that Judge Asarch denied my mother the right to drive, Rachel brought her to the dealership to buy the car out. I found that out when the salesman called me to find out what was going on and why this woman Rachel was arranging for this. This was done despite the fact that neither had a valid drivers’ license nor could legally drive. Virginia knew about that also.
Rachel was also paying herself weekly out of my mother’s checking account. Sal, my mother’s power of attorney, acknowledged that Rachel was doing this. She took whatever she wanted each week; no one cared or reported what Rachel did. When Rachel became pregnant, Virginia still allowed her to live there and raise her child. George Esernio was the guardian at that time and also allowed this to go on. Rachel and her son and her friends took over the entire house. Rachel hired one of her friends, Glynnis, to watch my mother while she was going to her prenatal visits and Lamaze classes. She paid Glynnis out of my mother’s checking account as well, without the approval or knowledge of any of the “legal team members”; and even when I made them all aware of this fact, they still did nothing. ”
Next—the report from the private investigator
- Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens (judicialdestructionofdorothy.wordpress.com)
- Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens-Part Two (judicialdestructionofdorothy.wordpress.com)
- Selected Memory: Is it Alzheimer or is it Mom? (judilevita.com)
- Alzheimer’s disease claims the lives of many (blogs.seattletimes.com)