Margarita Zelada has been confined and isolated for months at Senior Paradise. The Monterey County, California assisted living facility has management practices more akin to a prison than a paradise.
Margarita is allowed almost no visitation with her family. Phone calls are often restricted.
Elder advocates attempting to make contact with Margarita found multiple locks on the front door. Administrator Margaret Eldred Camara told advocates she would call the police if they did not leave. Camara said her instructions to unlawfully confine and isolate Margarita were issued by Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis.
The National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse (NASGA) is a human rights organization that opposes abusive guardianships. NASGA president Elaine Reniore sent the following open letter to Deputy Public Guardian Empasis.
October 24, 2013
Ms. Jennifer Empasis
Deputy Public Guardian
2620 1st Ave.
Marina, CA 93933
Dear Ms. Empasis:
NASGA is a civil and human rights organization formed by victims of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships. Our purpose is to protect Wards and their families - both physically and financially – through education, outreach, and advocacy – and seek reform of the protective statutes.
This letter is very straightforward, Ms. Empasis. Two elder advocates attempted to visit Mrs. Margarita Zelada at Senior Paradise on Sunday, October 20, 2013 and were refused visitation by two administrators, both of whom claimed they were acting under your strict orders that no one was to see Mrs. Zelada without your approval.
NASGA considers isolation of a ward without a court order a very serious form of elder abuse.
If you did not give this specific instruction to these administrators, I would ask you to immediately give them written directives that Mrs. Zelada is to receive visitors of her choosing. If you did give said instructions, I would suggest you review the Nursing Home Bill of Rights in which all residents are guaranteed the right to socialize, which right you have egregiously violated. I would also suggest you review the conservatorship statutes which you’ll find do not give you the power to make such a serious deprivation of Mrs. Zelada’s civil rights without court approval.
Please advise you have attended to this serious matter and immediately corrected it.
ELAINE RENOIRE, President