Help Keep Grandma Safe at Home

Help Keep Grandma Safe at Home

From Chyvonne Cruz

I am seeking donations to help with legal costs for guardianship of my 90 y.o grandma who lives with me. Her children do not help with her care and want to put her in a home even though she is happy & healthy with me.

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Update #2

13 days ago

Good morning! Thank you all again for your support. It means the world to me and Grandma.

Good news! We have met the $2500 goal, which was my original guess for total cost. More good news....I spoke with a law firm yesterday that has an attorney reviewing the docs for my case. I should be hearing from him later today to set up a plan..

Bad news...The attorney's fee is $325 per hour, which is from what I've been hearing somewhat of a deal compared to others. Unfortunately, crowdfunding platforms take a cut from funds raised for using their platform and it appears that my original goal may be a drop in the bucket by the end of this case.

With the attorney's hourly rate in mind, I'm going to keep the campaign up a bit longer. Please keep spreading the word and sharing the link to the campaign.

Have a great rest of your week and thank you again! It is comforting to know that Gram and I have so many amazing people in our corner.

More Info

RELATIONSHIP

Anyone who has ever met me knows right away that my grandmother Marie is my heart. She and my grandfather made countless sacrifices to not only provide for their three children but also their first grandchild (me). My grandfather passed away unexpectedly at home when I was 11 years old. From that point on it was just me and Grandma. She is not only my mother and grandmother. She is my best friend, avid supporter, and number one fan. My love, admiration, and appreciation for her knows no bounds. I am beyond grateful for her. She has had my back my entire life and now at 90 with Alzheimer's dementia needs all the support she's given returned. My grandmother is not in a position to fight for herself so it is on me to ensure her remaining years are happy, healthy, and safe. 

CAREGIVING/FAMILY CONFLICT (2020-2021)

Prior to my move to Delaware from California, I would constantly ask her children (all lived within driving distance on the east coast) about her care. Gram and I have talked at least once a day for the past 20 years whenever we were not living under the same roof. She was unhappy and not doing well. I tried to get her out to California with me a few times, but her children refused. I was told to live my life and that they had her covered. However, I visited for a week for her 89th birthday in October 2019 and found her living conditions to be subpar and unsafe. It was clear they did not have her covered. 

I thought about it long and hard and how my grandmother was looking and feeling did not sit well with me. I then informed her children that I was going to move to Delaware to help with her care and improve her quality of life. I secured an apartment prior to my arrival and drove a 16' truck with a car carrier from California to Delaware with my furbaby. I arrived January 4, 2020. 

About a month or so after my move two of her children informed me that they made her oldest daughter her legal guardian in December 2019. This is the same daughter who constantly fights with her and lived in her apartment rent free for a couple years. The same daughter who moved out and left my neat and tidy grandmother in a dark, smelly apartment by herself. The same daughter who my grandmother wouldn't even give her bank card to run to the store. I immediately objected, but they had executed it without my knowledge and did not list me as an interested party even though I have been actively involved in her care for the past 20 years. 

I hit the ground running upon my arrival and was constantly going back and forth between our apartments. I expected to be busy, but I did not expect to be doing everything completely on my own. I spent time assessing her situation and needs, attending doctor appointments, and spending quality time with her to improve her mood. I quickly became the liaison for all of her caregiving needs. I asked her children to share the load, but everyone had excuses as to why they couldn't and were pushing to place her in a nursing home. That's basically why they did the guardianship prior to my arrival. They knew I would object. 

The constant back and forth was too much and became riskier once the pandemic hit. I suggested getting rid of her apartment and moving her in with me but her son refused to break the lease as he was the guarantor. I felt she was already in an unsafe environment being in an apartment by herself 18-19 hours a day, so I brought her to stay with me by mid-March. 

Throughout the year I collected information, learned more about Alzheimer's and dementia, and continued to assess the situation to see what needed to be done and how to handle it. I already handled her finances, bills, and groceries prior to moving to Delaware. My attempts to get her children on the same page regarding her care failed. I would inform all on anything going on with her and they were welcome to pitch in at any time, but participation was minimal if it happened at all. 

Over the past year I have taken care of existing health needs that were neglected and have created a happy, calm, healthy, and safe home environment for her. She has her own room and bathroom and a special spot on the couch that she likes. The kitchen is always fully stocked and she can have whatever she wants. We spend time chatting, watching tv, playing games, doing puzzles, reading, and listening to music. Her doctors have commented on the drastic improvement in her care, appearance, and mood. Each has told me on numerous occasions they are so glad I moved here for her. She is smiling, laughing, eating more, and enjoying her days. She hasn't had a hospital visit in over a year. Of course, there are tough days, but the random dementia-related issues have reduced significantly, and her symptoms are more manageable with a happier and healthier environment. 

GUARDIANSHIP

After a year of failed attempts to get help from her children, I finally released that anchor of hope that folks would care enough and step up. In order for me to continue to provide adequate care for Grandma and be able to move forward with my life as well, I need to eliminate unnecessary obstacles. I have been unable to work as she cannot be at home alone and her children refuse to help with caregiving gaps. I do have 42 hours a week of caregiving help through her insurance, but the remaining 126 hours in a week is on me. 

Guardianship would allow me to continue addressing her healthcare needs without "permission" from absent parties. It would also enable me to apply for resources for caregiving help which would then allow me to find stable employment so the two of us can move forward with our lives and enjoy whatever time we have left together. 

In early March 2021, I informed one of her daughter's that I was going to submit a petition for successor guardianship as her current guardian stated she doesn't want to be and has been absent over the past year. Neither of her other two children stepped up and at this point it made sense for me to go ahead and do it so I can continue taking care of her. It has been a year of 24/7 care. I know what is needed for her care and am willing and capable of doing it. She said ok and did not vocalize any objections. 

However, the following Monday revealed exactly where all of her children stand. I went to the courthouse to file the petition. While sitting in the waiting area I heard familiar voices laughing and talking in the conference room next to my seat. I knocked on the door and there sat her three children and daughter-in-law with smiles on their faces. They once again were going behind my back regarding my grandmother's guardianship. Not only are they trying to transfer guardianship from one child to the next, but they are trying to transfer guardianship to Maryland where her son lives. He's stated on more than one occasion that she could never live with him. That means they plan to take her away from me despite her improved mood and health and will throw her into a home. It's obvious her health and happiness are not a priority. 

I stated that what they are doing is evil in my eyes. What they are doing is cruel and taking her away from a home she is comfortable and safe in to put her in a nursing home would devastate her. Her son's response to me, "You will lose." A statement like that shows that this is not about a person's life to them. They see it as a competition of them vs me and yet another one of their attempts to break the bond my grandmother and I have that they have resented my whole life. 

This is NOT a competition. It is a person's life. The life of the person who sacrificed so much for EVERY one of us. This is about my grandma's health and welfare. My grandmother has so many smiles and laughs left and I will do everything I can to make sure she gets them.

MOVING FORWARD

I filed my petition with the court as well as an objection to the petition they filed to transfer guardianship from her daughter to son out of state. We have a hearing scheduled on April 13, 2021. 

Financially, I have been on unemployment for the past year due to 24/7 caregiving and the pandemic. I have managed my money well enough to cover my expenses as well as provide for my grandmother. Although I have managed to stretch funds over the past year, unemployment will not last forever and I would like to get back to working and have a regular paycheck. My savings is gone and unemployment is on hold at the moment as my benefit year is up and I had to reapply.

I initially was not going to seek legal counsel, but her children are making things more difficult than necessary and I know they plan on hiring an attorney. I need to ensure Grandma and I have all of our bases covered and proper representation as well, which is why I have decided to ask for donations to help cover costs. 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic many law firms are not taking on new cases as they are backlogged. I contacted legal aid, but they do not handle guardianship cases. I contacted a Delaware legal pro bono group, but they do not handle contested guardianship cases and therefore will not help me. As the pro bono route is no longer possible I have to try and secure funds to hire an attorney. I am still trying to find one that will take on a new case, but need to be prepared for the cost when I do find counsel. 

Any funds donated will be used for attorney and court costs. Anything left after that would be used solely for my grandmother's care. I have no intention of using any funds for myself. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our story. All help is welcome, but please do not sacrifice what you cannot afford to give. Times are rough for everyone and every dime counts. I have been there and know what it is like to not have a dime to spare. Positive vibes, prayers, thoughts, and anything you practice is welcomed and appreciated as well. 

Have a blessed day and stay safe. 

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Help Chyvonne raise $5,000 by making a donation.

Chyvonne Cruz posted a new update:
13 days ago

Update #2

Good morning! Thank you all again for your support. It means the world to me and Grandma.

Good news! We have met the $2500 goal, which was my original guess for total cost. More good news....I spoke with a law firm yesterday that has an attorney reviewing the docs for my case. I should be hearing from him later today to set up a plan..

Bad news...The attorney's fee is $325 per hour, which is from what I've been hearing somewhat of a deal compared to others. Unfortunately, crowdfunding platforms take a cut from funds raised for using their platform and it appears that my original goal may be a drop in the bucket by the end of this case.

With the attorney's hourly rate in mind, I'm going to keep the campaign up a bit longer. Please keep spreading the word and sharing the link to the campaign.

Have a great rest of your week and thank you again! It is comforting to know that Gram and I have so many amazing people in our corner.

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Chyvonne Cruz posted a new update:
15 days ago

Update #1

Thank you to all who have donated and passed this campaign on. I really appreciate your kindness and support. It is comforting to know we are surrounded with such loving and supportive people. I wish happy, healthy, and prosperous lives for all of you.

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