LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Senior citizen abuse at the hands of a court-appointed guardian is being addressed by a two-year-old state task force that has new recommendations on how to combat the problem.

Whenever a senior citizen is unable to make decisions for him or herself, the probate courts step in and can appoint a non-family member as a guardian over that senior.

Sally Blond had relatives in Macomb County who were victims of a court-appointed professional guardian when the family wanted one of their own to oversee the couple’s lives.

“Things went from bad to worse. First, [their] home phone was disconnected. Their cell phones were confiscated. Mail was forward to the guardian so we literally had no way to connect with them nor them with us,” said Blond.

The State Attorney General and a bipartisan group of legislators are promising to make sure that does not happen again with these proposals.

(1) State Guardian Certification (and that includes minimum training and adherence to professional standards.

(2) Home Removal Protections (so that guardians can not unilaterally decide to move seniors from their homes.

(3) Courts Explain Decisions (to exclude family members from being guardians)

VO shot of sally pung.second speaker after cavanaugh

The state’s senior citizens advocate Sally Pung outlines other forms of abuse

“I’ve talked with many residents who have never met their guardian or can not reach them in a timely way. Residents report guardians fail to meet basic needs like getting socks, or haircuts. They don’t follow up on basic medical care.”

The GOP chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary chair promises quick action on these new safeguards.