HOA should accept grandson as caregiver - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

HOA should accept grandson as caregiver

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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:35 pm | Updated: 2:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: One sign of a bureaucracy out of control is when a rule is applied in a way that defeats the entire purpose for the rule to exist in the first place.

One sign of a bureaucracy out of control is when a rule is applied in a way that defeats the entire purpose for the rule to exist in the first place.

So managers of the Sunland Village homeowners association in Mesa should ask themselves what they really would accomplish by evicting Greg Campbell, a 37-year-old man who cares for his 87-year-old grandmother, Virginia Campbell.

Sunland Village is an age-restricted subdivision, and generally any resident must be at least 55 years. But as Tribune writer Garin Groff reported Friday, the HOA does have a compassion exception that allows adult children of homeowners to be live-in caregivers.

Such a rule provides a reasonable alternative for elderly residents unable to afford an assisted-living center, or for anyone who simply wishes to spend their final years in familiar surroundings.

At the same time, the rule limits who can be a live-in companion to those people most likely to care deeply for the resident and, by extension, to respect the qualities of this community that attracted the resident there in the first place.

For Virginia Campbell, Sunland Village has been home for nearly three decades. And her grandson has been at her side for the past three years, quietly helping her with daily chores and keeping her active.

When their living arrangement came to Sunland Village’s attention, it made sense the HOA wanted assurances that Virginia Campbell isn’t just providing shelter for a more distant family member.

But the threshold for allowing another exception should have been rather low. The number of women in their mid-80s who can live safely in a private home by themselves are extremely small. Plus, the Campbell family has presented two letters from doctors verifying she needs live-in assistance.

Sure, the HOA can drive the grandson out and defend the rule as written. But forcing Virginia Campbell to live alone would severely restrict her world and possibly hasten her death. That outcome couldn’t possibly benefit the other residents of Sunland Village in any meaningful way.

Instead, all of Sunland Village would be better served if the HOA focused on the intent of the rule and its underlying compassion.

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