The daughter of the late Hollywood TV star Peter Falk, who starred in the 1970's detective show Columbo, testified in front of the South Dakota Legislature Thursday.
Catherine Falk asked lawmakers to amend a bill that was named after her father - the Peter Falk Elder Care act. Falk died without his family knowing where he was or where he was buried until long after his death.
So now, she's hoping to keep something as devastating as that from happening to anyone else. The daughter of Peter Falk has made it her life's mission to make sure other families don't have to go through the trauma she did during her father's final days in 2011.
Without legal rights, Catherine didn't know which nursing home Peter Falk was in or even where he was buried until long after his death. SB Bill 168 would change that with a durable power of attorney as well as appoint a guardian or conservator.
"It basically allows access for visitations, telephone calls, letters; basic relationships to continue when a person is under protective guardianship and being wrongfully isolated by an unscrupulous guardian who is isolating a loved one," Falk said.
Falk's written testimony spurred South Dakota lawmakers to enact the Peter Falk Elder Care Act last year.
She says what happened to her is a quiet epidemic across the nation where a parent can't speak up for themselves.
"Nothing prepares you between a parent and a child or between loved ones that you have to have this conversation at the end of life to say, 'In the event you are isolated this is what I need you to do,' so you're not prepared for that, so it blindsides you," Falk said.
In the end, the bill was amended, but despite her star power, it died in Senate Judiciary committee Thursday. If you'd like to read more about the Catherine Falk Organization, click here
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