To the Editor:

Every senior citizen should be aware of what could happen to them.

My friend lived independently in senior housing for many years. He was still taking care of his personal needs, always neat and clean, and still driving his car to my house every day.

However, the court and attorneys allowed his family, who have never made an appearance in his life until they had to, to take this poor soul and put him in an assisted living facility, away from everything familiar to him.

Recently, I discovered he had been moved to a different facility.

Before Valentine's Day, I wanted to send him a gift package. When I called the facilities, I was rudely informed he was not there, they did not know where he was and, if they knew, they wouldn't tell me.

I got this from both facilities. I could not send the package.

From day one, the family has not allowed me to visit my longtime friend and companion and, more recently, his caregiver when he was diagnosed with dementia.

The family showed no interest all those years, the holidays, Father's Day, his brthday, but it now apears they have moved my friend again.

Imagine the confusion he must be experiencing. I call it mental abuse.

All his rights have been taken away. He cannot use a phone. He tried to call me one night but a staff member hung up the phone as soon as she found out who he was talking to.

He always enjoyed his daily paper, the sports page and TV.

He has nothing now.

This alone would drive anyone up a wall. Most people benefit from having friends in their lives when they have an illness, but he has no one.

I was the only one in his life all those years. I am 84 years old, trying to take care of my own family, and help my friend.

We need laws to protect seniors from disinterested families for as long as the seniors can function with a little help.

This is not the middle ages. We are still human beings.

Carol Smyrski

New Milford