By Kimberly Jensen
Senior Resource Advocate 

Power of Attorney, Gleaning Seniors, Staying Together Despite Dementia


Last updated 3/2/2024 at 4:57pm | View PDF

Question: My friend wants me to be her Power of Attorney. Why is it so important to have one and are there any pitfalls that I need to be aware of if I do become her Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorneys are very important to have in place before a crisis occurs. If you are not able to make your own health and financial decisions, your Power of Attorney can step in and handle your medical and financial decisions for you.

They can manage your finances, medical care and legal issues that might arise if you are incapacitated. For example, if you get dementia and can no longer make decisions on your own behalf, they will step in and handle your affairs. A Power of Attorney should be drawn up by an attorney to make sure it is done correctly.

The potential disadvantage of being a Power of Attorney is that it takes a lot of time and thoughtfulness on your part. You will be responsible for your friend’s estate (or liquidation of it), their health decisions, bills and finances.

There could be legal damages brought against you if you breach your duty and do not do what is in the best interest of your friend. If your friend needs assisted living or memory care, it will be up to you to search for the best one for them with the funds that they have available. If they don’t have assets to sell for their stay in an assisted living, it will be up to you to find permanent long-term stay placement at a skilled nursing that can provide 24/7 care for them. Many skilled nursing facilities do not have Medi-Cal beds available.

Take this very seriously. Speak with an attorney to find out all the legal responsibilities you will have and what will be expected of you if you take on this role.

Question: I am a senior and I am finding that the cost of food is so expensive. I am struggling just to put food on my table. My friend told me about the Visalia Gleaning Seniors. What do they do and how do I reach out to them?

Everyone is feeling the pinch of inflated food costs, especially seniors living on a fixed income. The Visalia Gleaning Seniors' website (http://visaliagleaning states that they "provide food assistance to seniors in Farmersville, Exeter, Dinuba and Visalia by providing them with fruits, nuts and vegetables contributed by farmers, ranchers, packing houses and other organizations."

Their purpose and objectives are to help overcome economic hardship for their senior citizen members. I understand they are starting to reach out to the Goshen area. I have also seen meat donations come in from grocery stores that are very beneficial.

There is a membership fee of $60 a year. If anyone would like to sponsor a senior for a full year, please reach out to the Visalia Senior Gleaners. The organization is run by volunteers who care about seniors in our community.

Visalia Senior Gleaners is non-profit and can only function because of the donations and generosity of businesses and people in our community. It is an amazing organization that is truly making a difference in seniors’ lives.

They also have a thrift store on-site filled with furniture, kitchenware, home décor, books and so much more. Proceeds from the thrift store go back into the non-profit. Contact them if you have items you would like to donate or if you want to find out more about their food program. Call them at (559) 733-5352 for more information or mail them at Visalia Gleaning Seniors, 28600 Road 156, Visalia, CA 93292.

My parents are currently living in their own home and my father is the caregiver for my mother who has dementia. It had gotten too difficult for him, and he almost dropped her in the shower. Is any assisted living allowing for couples to remain together if one of them has dementia, or do we have to place mom in memory care and have dad visit? They really want to stay together.

Some assisted livings will allow couples to remain together if the person with dementia is not a wander risk and doesn’t have risky behaviors. Call around to the different assisted living communities and see what their stance is on this subject. Quite often a person with dementia will stick like Velcro to the side of their spouse. It makes the person with dementia feel safer and more secure.

Other times you might have someone with dementia be constantly exit-seeking. This is a huge danger, because most assisted living facilities that are not memory care facilities do not have secure exit doors. It will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, or not permitted at all at some of the communities.

Kimberly Jensen has been working with Quail Park as a Senior Resource Advocate for over ten years and has helped hundreds of families find solutions to their senior problems. If you have a question, you can send it to her at or call (559) 737-7443.


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