Just as Child Protective Services and a judge have almost omnipotent, unchecked power to decide unilaterally that the relationship between a parent and a young child is not worthy of being preserved, Adult Protective Services and a probate judge have the same power to sever the relationship between an adult child and their elderly parent.
Sometimes the relationship has endured for longer than the judge and social worker combined have been alive, yet with the stroke of a pen, a senior citizen can be completely torn away from their own children.
The wishes of the elder can be completely ignored, and documents assigning power of attorney to a trusted adult child can become meaningless. Medical and financial decisions are placed into the hands of a court-appointed guardian who is often a stranger to everyone in the family.
Nancy Scott, a retired English teacher from south Alabama, wrote to Health Impact News describing the medical kidnapping of her 102-year-old mother, who is also a beloved retired schoolteacher known to her former students as "Ms. Gregory."
St. Vincent's Hospital and the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) seized custody of Marian (Gregory) Leonard in February 2018. She is being held against her will, forced by a Jefferson County, Alabama, court into Hospice care, even though she has no terminal illness or disease. She is elderly, but her mind is sound. She is being drugged against her will and has told her daughter that she doesn't want the drugs.
Nancy has always enjoyed a close relationship with her mother, but she has not seen her since midsummer. At that time, Ms. Gregory begged to go home. She told Nancy:
"If you don't get me out of here, they're going to kill me, and they're going to kill you."