Frolik and Mannix on Elder Self-Care

Professors Lawrence Frolik and Martha Mannix were quoted in recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article about the perils of taking elder care into your own hands.

Laura Stewart's heart was in the right place when she and her boyfriend attempted to move her 86-year-old sister from a trash-filled apartment in the Hill District to Stewart's duplex in a Cleveland suburb, her family said. But police and legal experts said Stewart had plenty of law-abiding alternatives to binding Evelyn Poynter's wrists in duct tape, forcing her into a car wearing only her nightgown and a blanket, and driving her around for eight hours Sunday. "I have some sympathy for these people if they were trying to do the right thing, but obviously, kidnapping was the wrong way to do it," said Larry Frolik, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Elder Law section.  . . . "If the woman was competent, she has the right to live however she wants to. This is sometimes difficult for families to accept," said Martha Mannix, another Pitt professor who runs the university's Elder Law clinic. A third option would be getting the person to sign over either full or partial power of attorney, Frolik said. Documents to do so can be downloaded from the Internet, or an attorney could be hired to do it in a few hours, he said.