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August 31, 2009

Incredible story: 'Elderly Couple Forced into State Custody'

Topics: Human Interest, National News, Political News and commentaries

How can this happen in America? If this can happen to Jean and Michael Kidd, it could happen to any of us:

Via Fox News:

[...] DALLAS - They're not criminals. They've broken no laws. But they're being held against their will by the State of Texas. Why? It's a tragic story about what can happen when you are alone in the world and lose control of your rights, your money, and your ability to complain.

Jean and Michael Kidd never imagined their retirement would play out like this. "I feel like I am not in America," said Michael Kidd. "I can't believe I have been hi-jacked off the street, virtually from the hospital, and imprisoned," Kidd told FOX 4.

Michael Kidd and his wife Jean have been living out of a tiny room for months. They have lost control of their money, their home, even their car. They say they've been robbed of their dignity and their voice. And who do they say is responsible? The State of Texas.

"It is a shock to our system," says Kidd. "We are still kind of in a state of shock," Kidd told Reporter Becky Oliver.

Michael Kidd worked as an engineer at KDFW for 23 years. He retired in 2001 with a pension, retirement account, and social security. Last month, he called the station for help. The Kidds have no children or relatives nearby. In November Michael fell and broke his hip. He was taken to a Plano hospital and into surgery. After a few days, the hospital called the state Adult Protective Services to report Jean had been in the waiting room for days and wasn't eating. What happened next is a complicated, legal tale told in hundreds of pages of documents filed with the Collin County Probate Court.

Caseworkers paint a picture of two incompetent old people, age 67 and 70, suffering from dementia. Reports say the Kidds have mismanaged their finances and used poor judgment, that Michael is verbally abusive and even attempted to assault Jean. Michael says Jean has memory trouble but denies everything else. A judge determined the Kidds were incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. The state took over the Kidds lives, sent them to the Countryside Nursing Home in Pilot Point, and is now burning through their money to pay for their care.

"You have no idea how much money you have?" Oliver asked Michael Kidd. "None at all," Kidd responded. "I know what my income was and I know it was more than enough to take care of my bills. Now, I am deteriorating instead of getting better," Kidd continued.

[...] Nick Shiek is Jean Kidd's former boss. He went to court with the Kidds and says it was clear no one was advocating for their position and for them to be allowed to go home. "There was no defending, per se." Shiek told Oliver. "The procedure went through really quickly."

The Kidds say the state has tried to paint them as troublemakers who are incapable of making their own decisions about their own lives. And they're frightened that it appears to be working.

"Having help is one thing," says Jean Kidd. "Having someone come in and take over the whole ball of wax and say you will do what I say, and you have no control over your own life..." she says, is another.

Continue reading the entire incredible story here.

As the article goes on to point out, indeed the state has the responsibility to make sure the Kidds are safe, but is a nursing home the best answer? Why didn't the state consider other less expensive and less confining options such as assisted living or home health care?. Shockingly, the Kidds say such options were never discussed with them.

Posted by Abdul at August 31, 2009 10:58 AM

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