Vulnerable senior fights back


Stella Wasiuk is a prime example of what can happen when vulnerable and isolated seniors become involved with predatory “caregivers”.

Ms. Wasiuk met Pauline Reid in January 2009 at a rehabilitation centre following knee surgery. Ms. Wasiuk was concerned that she would end up in a nursing home. Ms. Reid offered to look after her and the senior moved in with Ms. Reid.

In May 2010, Ms. Wasiuk and Ms. Reid entered into a complicated agreement whereby Ms. Wasiuk would provide to Ms. Reid an interest free loan to purchase a home in exchange for Ms. Reid promising to look after her for the rest of her life. Title to the home was put into Ms. Reid’s name and Ms. Wasiuk held a right to live there for the rest of her life.

The agreement did not go as planned. Ms. Wasiuk claims Ms. Reid manipulated her into entering the agreement, isolated her and mistreated her. Approximately one year ago, Ms. Wasiuk complained to a neighbour and that neighbour assisted Ms. Wasiuk in reclaiming her home and her life.

Ms. Wasiuk was forced to go to court to have her home returned to her. In early October, the Ontario Superior Court ordered the caregiver’s name be removed from title to the home and only Ms. Wasiuk’s remain. She now lives in a care home.

While this story has a happy ending, were it not for the assistance of her neighbours, Ms. Wasiuk may have been unable to apply to Court to have her home returned to her.

This is a cautionary tale to ensure that your end of life wishes, be they a power of attorney, representation agreement or a caregiving arrangement, are conferred on someone you trust and know well.