Faithful Great Places visitors may remember the tragic story of the elderly farm couple who last August inadvertently got caught up in the jaws of the Minnesota social services and criminal law systems.
The husband, Jennings Sunderland, was jailed for chaining his Alzheimer’s-addled wife, Clarice, to her chair as a way to wake him if she attempted to wander away as she had done several times during the summer. Jennings, you’ll recall, was jailed on a charge of false imprisonment, and Clarice was hauled off, first to a local hospital, then to a nursing home, and finally to a locked memory-care unit.
During the nearly three months she was away from home, Clarice suffered a fractured wrist brought about by frequent falls, got an unexplained baseball-size bruise on her left breast, became incontinent and largely unable to feed or dress herself, and accumulated $20,000 in nursing home bills.
The Sunderlands’ home is now outfitted with a smoke- and door-alarm system graciously donated by a local vendor. Clarice wears a GPC tracking device, and the couple is enjoying some in-home care.
Stay tuned: a Minneapolis attorney who specializes in nursing home cases has recently threatened the county with litigation.