N.H. man to challenge his kids, says he doesn’t need supervision

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NASHUA, N.H. (AP) – A longtime Nashua resident will get his day in court on his claim that he doesn’t need to be in a nursing home and is being held there against his will.

“I’ve been an independent person all my life. I’m not compatible with nursing homes,” A. Richard Tuniewicz said in a phone interview from his room at the Nichols House Nursing Home in Fairhaven, Mass.

Tuniewicz, 68, is scheduled to go to court Monday in Nashua to challenge a guardianship order that gives control of his affairs to his two adult children, who say he’s in the nursing home because he can’t take care of himself.

A Hillsborough County probate judge found Tuniewicz to be incompetent and unable to meet his own basic needs a couple of years ago and approved the family’s guardianship petition, Mark Tuniewicz said.

Mark Tuniewicz said he and his sister arranged for their father to live independently in February 2005, two years after the guardianship began, but moved him back into a nursing home after several months, on the recommendation of the Veterans Administration hospital where Tuniewicz was receiving care.

The son wrote in a statement to The Telegraph that his father “has disagreed with the need for guardianship from day one.”

He also said that he views the petition “as a very positive thing, in terms of his spending more time on constructive activities.”

He said his father “has clearly made some progress at his new facility” and “deserves his day in court.”

Tuniewicz, a patient in the nursing home’s geriatric psychiatric unit, was booted from two other nursing homes for combative behavior.

Tuniewicz, who suffers from diabetes and heart disease, had worked on and off as a machinist in the past, but since he was in his early 50s, he has depended on Social Security disability insurance.

Tuniewicz says he monitors his diabetes and has never had a heart attack in spite of his weight, which is more than 300 pounds, and having had bypass surgery more than a decade ago.

Tuniewicz said he is soothing his anxiety as best he can until the hearing.

“The computer and TV occupy my mind, so I don’t dwell on negative thoughts,” he said. “You have to give it your best shot.”

AP-ES-04-27-06 1449EDT

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