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Idaho Statesman – Couple charged with neglect, exploitation

My husband found this article in the newspaper yesterday morning. I’ll give my thoughts at the end.

MOSCOW, Idaho — A northern Idaho man and woman have been charged with neglect and exploitation counts after a 67-year-old man in their care was found on a kitchen floor covered with dirt and bedsores and wearing a dirty adult diaper, according to court records.

The Lewiston Tribune reports ( ) authorities say that 67-year-old Lee Pohrman died after being found Nov. 3 in a trailer in Moscow.

Pohrman lived with 21-year-old Lindsay M. Winter and 24-year-old Charles W. Wright, his caretakers, authorities said. Authorities say tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of checks from Pohrman’s bank account were made out to Wright and Winter.

Wright told police, according to court records, that he didn’t do a very good job taking care of Pohrman toward the end of Pohrman’s life.

“But I can’t force him to do anything and that’s what I tried to explain to most people,” Wright told police. “If he’s not going to be willing to let me help him, then there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Winter declined to be interviewed by investigators, court documents said.

Wright told police that Pohrman said he was being kicked out of Good Samaritan Village in Moscow and asked Write to be his caretaker. Wright said his girlfriend, Winter, knew Pohrman through family friends and that’s how he met Pohrman.

About $58,000 was deposited into Pohrman’s bank account between Dec. 30, 2010, and Nov. 1 of last year, court records say. About $49,000 was removed between March 1, 2011 and Oct. 4. Authorities say the withdrawn money included $40,450 from 72 checks made out to Wright or Winter.

Police said that the rent Pohrman would have paid for 33 months at $400 month would have been $13,200. Wright said monthly expenses were about $700 or $800.

Winter and Wright are being held in the Latah County Jail on bonds of $5,000 and $10,000, respectively. A court date has been set for July 31.

Link to article:

My thoughts: What a terribly sad situation. Here are a few of my ideas that could’ve helped to prevent this situation from becoming what it did. First, if you are a paid caregiver, a person needing care, or a family hiring a paid caregiver you should have a contract outlining the amount you are to be paid and what your duties entail. Ask a third party to be involved with that. If the person requiring care doesn’t have family involved to help with the contract, find an attorney. Often people believe they can’t afford an attorney however one must consider the cost of NOT having a contract. In this scenario $40k+. A contract created by an attorney would have protected all parties.

Secondly, it is most ideal to have a neutral, third party handling the money. Red flags are raised when the person providing the care is paying themselves without oversight.

Thirdly, Wright told police, “If he’s not going to be willing to let me help him, then there’s nothing I can do about it.”  While it can be true that a person with dementia or a mental illness can be difficult to care for that is not the end of your efforts. In fact, it is probably the beginning of a new path.  If you are unable to provide the care that is obviously in someone’s best interest it may be time for a guardianship and/or conservatorship. That is where CFS can help. Call us to help brainstorm and educate about this new path.


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