Disclaimer

**** DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

November 30, 2007

Supportive Services for Elderly Victims

Supportive Services for Elderly Victims
by Trudie Gregorie

Crisis intervention for elder abuse victims can include counseling about available options, emotional support, assistance in making arrangements, and the provision of information and referrals to supportive services in the community.

Crisis intervention may be provided by special geriatric crisis teams, social workers, family violence programs, victim service professionals, or law enforcement personnel. Because it is usually easier for people in crisis to rely on old coping behaviors rather than to learn new ones, crisis intervention in elder abuse cases often involves encouraging victims to build on their strengths and past experiences to cope with the abuse situation(s). This may be accomplished by asking them to describe past crises and how they handled them. If the action or coping behavior worked in the past, it may be applied to the current situation.
Working with elderly clients in crisis often involves being more directive than in other situations. When an older person is overwhelmed by a situation, it may be helpful to break down what seems to be overwhelming obstacles into manageable parts. Addressing the simple, non-emotional, factual aspects of a situation first, and then proceeding into more sensitive areas of concern is often effective.


Support groups provide an encouraging environment for victims of elder abuse and other crimes to share their experiences in a safe and confidential environment. A number of communities have established such support groups through elder services programs. Elderly victims meet regularly with a trained facilitator to discuss and address their concerns, fears, and safety issues, and to work collaboratively toward solutions that promote safety, security, and a sense of hope.


In preventing and responding to elder abuse, collaboration is key to success, combining the skills and resources of law enforcement and justice professionals, state-level elder advocacy and adult protection agencies, legal services, victim service providers, and community-based and non-profit organizations.

Abridged Article: SOURCE
---------------------------

November 29, 2007

Financial Elder Abuse - Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself from financial abuse means conducting your own financial affairs as much as possible. It also means planning ahead for when you might not be able to do this. When choosing someone to help with your affairs, it is important to trust that they will respect your wishes when making decisions. Planning ahead can make your wishes known about how you want your personal, medical and financial affairs handled.

Making plans for assistance such as joint bank accounts, power of attorney and advance health care directives should all be done with the help of a lawyer.

As an older adult, you can help yourself by:

· Staying in touch with family, friends, and neighbours.
· Keeping track of your property, bank account and belongings.
· Having cheques deposited directly into your account.
· Saying “NO” when someone (even family members) pressure you into giving them money.
· Remember … it is your money and no one else has any rights to it.

As family members or friends, you can:

· Stay in touch with the older person.
· Learn about changes that are part of the natural aging process.
· Talk to an older adult about future plans in case he or she should become unable to manage finances alone.
· Talk with the older person about scams and frauds.
· Listen to the older person’s concerns.

PREVENTING FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION

Preventing economic crime, means becoming informed about how scam artists operate and taking steps to do business safely. While some of the newer practices such as internet banking and purchasing can make life easier, they can also be risky. Frauds and scams can be carried out through the mail, on the telephone, over the internet and email, and by door-to-door ‘salespersons’. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure your questions are answered.
If you don’t understand the offer, do not buy anything.

Nova Scotia Publication (pdf)

------------------------------
Other government agencies and Elder Abuse Prevention organizations have tips on how to prevent Financial Exploitation. Please check the sidebar links for information relevant to your country/state.

Stop Financial Elder Abuse

Stop relatives from taking money
Rachel Emma Silverman and Ashby Jones
The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 28, 2007 10:51 AM

Sadly, Brooke Astor is making headlines again. But there may be a lesson in the indictment of the late philanthropist's son and a lawyer close to the family's affairs: It can be risky to hand off financial responsibilities even to someone you think you can trust.

Estate lawyers say older people are often making use of a tool known as a durable financial power of attorney. This legal document authorizes an agent - usually a spouse, another family member, or a trusted adviser - to make financial decisions if you become unable to make them yourself. But naming someone to take control over your money has the potential for serious abuse, and lawyers are increasingly devising strategies to help safeguard their clients.

Among the tactics: Lawyers are including provisions requiring regular accounting statements from agents. They also are naming co-agents who can serve as checks on each other, or naming a supervisor who has the power to fire an agent.
"People want to make sure when they sign the document that they do what they can to protect themselves," says Bernard A. Krooks, a lawyer with Littman Krooks in New York, who specializes in elder-law. "When the power of attorney takes over, you're usually no longer in a position to supervise it."

According to the indictment in the Astor case, made public Tuesday in Manhattan, Ms. Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, abused his power of attorney in order to "unjustly enrich" himself and others.
"What I tell people is that if you don't trust someone one-thousand percent, don't grant them power of attorney," says Ronald Fatoullah, an elder-law specialist in Great Neck, N.Y.

Another key point: Make sure to carefully lay out exactly what powers you want your agent to have. For instance, you can limit the agent's power to make gifts of your property, so they can't just give money to themselves. Spell out under what conditions gifts can be made, how much and to whom.

Also, if you sense wrongdoing, contact your local district attorney's office, many of which have elder-abuse units, and let them investigate.

Abridged Article: SOURCE

Massive Elder Fraud Case

Defendant in massive elder fraud case testifies
By: JOHN HALL - Staff Writer

Daniel Heath says he believed his companies operated legally.
CORONA -- Daniel William Heath, at the center of the largest case of elder fraud in Riverside County history, calmly told jurors Monday how he started and ran various investment entities after first consulting with attorneys who, he contends, led him to believe the firms were legal.Prosecutors, however, contend that an estimated 1,700 victims nationwide -- including many from the Hemet and Sun City areas -- lost a total of about $190 million after investing in those entities, which include D.W. Heath & Associates, Private Capital Management Inc., also known as Private Collateral Management Inc. -- both called PCM, and PCM Fixed Income Fund I LLC.
Many of the alleged victims are seniors, some of whom have previously testified that they invested their life savings with Heath. Prosecutors say Heath was involved in a Ponzi scheme in which money coming in from new investors was used to pay earlier investors.

Heath, 51, of Chino Hills; his father, John William Heath, 81, of Covina; and Denis Timothy O'Brien, 53, of Yorba Linda, face a variety of felony charges, including selling unqualified securities, elder abuse, violating a court order to stop selling securities, selling securities by misrepresentation, grand theft, burglary and money laundering. Each has pleaded not guilty to all the counts and allegations.Daniel Heath took the witness stand on his own behalf Monday in a Corona courtroom, where jurors have heard testimony and viewed documents for nearly two months. The trial started in late August.

Heath also described for the jury how he started his marketing company that conducted seminars, something he said was "sort of cutting edge" in the early- to mid-1990s to find investors. They also made "cold calls" to people and purchased lists to do direct mailings, he said.

"Age wasn't an issue," Heath said.

The criteron was that the people the company was looking for had money to invest, he said.


Abridged Article: The Californian

-----------------------------------
Another case of Financial Elder Abuse. Obviously, there are laws to see that the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished.
The more important questions:

  • Will the victims see the return of their life-savings?
  • If there were no laws to protect their life-savings, why not?

Brooke Astor's Son, His Lawyer Indicted

By Jen Chung The Gothamist

Dare we say that Brooke Astor is rolling in her grave? Yesterday, it was reported that her son Anthony Marshall and his former lawyer Francis Morrissey would be indicted for criminal activity over the handling of her will. And this morning, Marshall turned himself in at the Manhattan DA's offices, to face charges of fraud, forgery and grand larceny. Or, as DA Robert Morgenthau said, "The indictment charges that Marshall and Morrissey took advantage of Mrs. Astor's diminished mental capacity in a scheme to defraud her and others out of millions of dollars."

Marshall and Morrissey, who was actually disbarred over the mishandling of another client's estate, are accused of forging a codicil to Astor's will (which benefited Marhshall) and selling a beloved painting of Astor's without permission (Marshall got a $2 million commission). The indictment marks a climax in the saga of the socialite's estate ever since Marshall's own son claimed his father was mishandling Astor's care (the claim of elder abuse was later found by a judge to be unfounded) last year that then led to suspicions Marshall was mishandling Astor's estate - and denials from Marshall.

After various challenges about who should care for Astor, a settlement put the guardianship of Astor and her estate into the hands of JP Morgan Chase and her friend Annette de la Renta until Astor's death in August. Marshall, however, had the final say as he secretly buried his mother and said there was a "malicious jihad" against him.

Astor's estate is worth $162 million; just days after her death, challenges were made to her will. New York magazine recently had a feature about drama and the bottom line is that everyone seemed horrible.

Source

--------------
Money - the root of all evils? One thing for sure - There are no boundaries, when it comes to the perpetrating of elder abuse.

400 Pensioners Abused Each Year- Belgium

22 November 2007

BRUSSELS - The agency that deals with reports of elder abuse says that around 400 elderly people are abused in Flanders each year. In most cases the abuser is the victim's own flesh and blood.

Some of the results of a recent Free University of Brussels study into the problem have been published in Thursday's edition of the daily 'Gazet van Antwerpen'. Many of the victims of elder abuse are elderly widows. In three-quarters of all cases, the abuse is perpetrated by the victim's own child.

Ten percent of victims are over 90. The survey also does away with some of the clichés surrounding elder abuse.

It is often believed that most victims of elder abuse suffer from dementia and/or have little social contact outside the home.


However, this is not the case and 71% of victims are mentally and physically fit with only 10% of them suffering from dementia.

The study also revealed that sons are more likely than daughters to abuse their parents. Most abusers (66 percent) are over 50 with only 3 percent of elder abusers being younger than 30.

The figures quoted in the study refer to all forms of abuse and not only physical violence.

SOURCE: Flanders News



---------------------------

Another report that echos many, many others from around the world. This is the reality folks. Check them out yourselves. Elder Abuse is not just in the minds of some elderbloggers.

November 28, 2007

New Book Exposes Elder Abuse in America

New York (PRWEB ) November 14, 2007 --

Deception, corruption, exploitation and manipulation collide in Paradise Costs: A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse, the heart-wrenching story of an infirm, 80-year-old man with Alzheimer's who was taken from his family, stripped of his assets and exploited despite the pleas of his next of kin. What makes this story even more compelling? It's not fiction.

Mario Masiello, a hearing-impaired, honorably discharged, World War II veteran retired from the New York City Transit Authority and relocated to the quaint town of Walterboro, South Carolina to realize his life-long dream of utopian living. Twenty years later, his blissful life was ravaged by the death of his wife and by several illnesses including diabetes, Alzheimer's and depression. Paradise Costs tells the chilling true story of the last years of his life when he was "grandpa-napped" from his family by neighbors and "friends." "I never thought this type of betrayal and brutality could happen in my family," says Irene A. Masiello, Paradise Costs author and Mario's daughter. "My experience has made me realize how little people know about the deadly American pandemic that is elder abuse."

In this gripping personal narrative the author gives a voice to countless victims who suffer and die in silence while the staggering issues paint a gruesome picture. Driven by more grim statistics from national elder advocacy groups stating there may be an additional 25 million cases of elder exploitation, Irene shares her family's story. In a bold stance, she drives home the pervasiveness of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation by offering her father's suspicious forensic report to readers to exemplify a terrifying reality. Even more important, she offers a viable solution to the problem that allows every American to be pro-active in helping to eradicate this social ill.

In an effort to create a reality-writing campaign, prefabricated "tear-out" letters and petitions to government officials are contained in Paradise Costs, and are available as free downloads at the book's website, http://www.paradisecosts.com/. Readers can follow simple directions on how to e-mail legislators right from the site.

Masiello is urging national reform addressing elder issues and continued support to implement, amend and enforce the EJA. A portion of her proceeds from her book will be donated to a non-profit organization supporting that cause.

--------------------------
Please support the author and our great cause of highlighting elder abuse. More importantly, we should be united in our efforts to make our politicians take notice of our call for changes to laws affecting our valued seniors.
Do not wait till you or your loved ones need the protection of the law, for your well-being in your senior years.


Unwilling Ward of the State - Australia

Article from: Margaret Wenham
Courier Mail

A MAN who spent $200,000 over 10 years on phone sex lines had his affairs taken over by the state after relatives claimed he was suffering dementia.
The 76-year-old retiree is now fighting the long-term guardianship and financial administration orders under which he was placed by the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal in June.
"They have kept me under orders without (sufficient) medical proof that I'm not capable of making my own decisions," he said.
The case raises more concerns about Queensland's guardianship system – which is already the subject of a review by the Queensland Law Reform Commission – including whether the tribunal should be required to seek expert medical opinions when placing people alleged to have diminished capacity under long-term orders.
Carers Queensland, one of two advocacy groups now trying to help the man, said it remained concerned about a number of aspects of the guardianship regime, "particularly about procedures that declare an adult incapable of making his or her own personal and financial decisions".
"It is the most extreme and serious action that can be taken by the state . . . There must be extreme caution taken in exercising such a power," the agency's Brendan Horne said.
In the man's case, the orders made by the tribunal mean the Office of the Adult Guardian and the Public Trustee can control every facet of his life, from where he lives and who he has contact with, to what he can spend money on.
The tribunal's reasons for the November 2006 decision show members of the man's family variously alleged he'd made $20,000 worth of 1902 calls a month over two years, or that he'd spent $200,000 over several years, that he was delusional, had mood swings, practised poor personal hygiene, was incapable of looking after himself and that he had been diagnosed with dementia.
After he was placed under orders, the man contacted a professor of neurology and a respected neuropsychologist and subjected himself to extensive clinical and cognitive testing, including brain scans.
Both specialists, who subsequently provided reports to the tribunal, said he did not have dementia and that he was not of diminished capacity.
The neurologist's report said the neuropsychologist's findings "support my diagnosis that (the man) has no form of dementia and that he is competent to manage his personal and financial affairs".
"But at the last hearing in June, the tribunal said that if I wasn't demented, maybe I was psycho – that's the offensive term the woman chair of the tribunal used," the man said.
"So now I'm arranging to be examined by a psychiatrist and because I don't have control of my finances, I'm putting a bit by each week out of the allowance the Public Trust gives me to live on to pay for it."
Tribunal documents from the April and June hearings show the tribunal members raised the possibility of the man having a psychiatric illness, ruling he was of diminished capacity and extending the guardianship order for two years and the administration order indefinitely.
In its reasons it said: "Whilst the tribunal accepts that (the man) does not have a diagnosis of dementia, there is evidence of cognitive dysfunction which impacts on the nature and effect of his decision-making in respect of the 1902 calls."
The reasons do not show the tribunal recommending the man undergo psychiatric testing to back that finding.
A spokesperson for the family said they supported the tribunal processes and the appointment of the Adult Guardian and the Public Trustee.
Adult Guardian Dianne Pendergast, when asked whether she had concerns about the tribunal's decision to place the man under orders, said she was unable to comment about individual cases because of confidentiality provisions.
The man said he could not remember when exactly he began making the 1902 calls, which can cost up to $5 a minute.
"(It was) 1999 I think. It started out as a bit of fun for me," he said. "It averages, for around 40 years of married life, about $5000 a year and that's a pittance because I never spent any money on myself and I was a very good provider to my family."
When the Public Trustee arrived to physically take his cheque books and freeze his bank accounts, he said he was "shattered".
"I cried all night that night – I had been writing out cheques for 50 or more years and I just couldn't believe this was happening to me," he said.
The man, who is now estranged from his family, said he felt "foolish" about his use of the 1902 numbers. "Look where that's got me," he said.

----------------------------
This is an unusual case. It is not the "usual" elder abuse case. I was very much mistaken that guardianship abuse occurred only in the USA. Another call for reform to the law that was set up to protect the vulnerable in our society.

November 27, 2007

Guardianship Abuse - USA

Today, Napa County's Judge J. Michael Byrne has declared that the Golins are "vexatious litigants" and barred them from further action unless they put up a $500,000 bond because they are suing to get their autistic daughter back from state officials who may have allowed her to be raped. Moreover, the Golins’ names are to be put in a statewide registry for seven years that among other things prevents them from any further advocacy on behalf of their daughter.

"In thousands of documented cases across the country, the standing of a caring relative or committed advocate to represent the interests of the ward may be challenged by a defendant, as part of a defense strategy that almost invariably proves successful . "

"Once the defense removes the family member, the ward is helpless, because no one other than the alleged wrongdoer can supposedly represent the ward. And a reasonable person never sues himself. "

"Critical Issues at Stake in Elder Law"

One critic of probate abuse has recently referred to a “white collar crime wave” involving handicapped persons in involuntary conservatorships, due to lack of effective court oversight, and due to the so-far undefeatable tactic of such defendants to smear anyone, whether family or friends, that attempts to intervene to rescue their loved ones from what would otherwise be considered kidnapping, abuse and false imprisonment.

"In each of these thousands of documented cases across the country, the standing of a caring relative or committed advocate to represent the interests of the ward is attacked as a defense strategy. Once the defense succeeds at removing the family member, the ward is helpless, because no one other than the alleged wrongdoer can represent the ward. And a reasonable person never sues himself. Thus, the ward is left with no rights at all. "

"The History" On November 15, 2001, 31-year-old Nancy Golin was taken by Palo Alto, California police from her family, never again to return. Up to then, she had depended on her parents, Jeff and Elsie Golin, to protect her. They had unhesitatingly undertaken the task of raising their autistic child at home since birth, with love and quality care. Nancy’s parents had fought against California agencies they saw as irresponsible, uncaring and incompetent, after attempting for years without success to obtain appropriate school services . Their efforts had won them the admiration of many in their local community.

"This whole incident began when Nancy wandered away as is her habit and her parents reported her missing, but upon her independent return to her parents’ home, the police requested that she be taken to a medical facility for examination to insure that nothing had happened during her absence. Yet when the Golin’s tried to reach Nancy, the nightmare began, with a series of clearly illegal confinements. Police had taken Nancy to the nearby Stanford psychiatric ward on a ruse, without warrant, emergency or probable cause, and attempted to involuntarily institutionalize her .

When the grounds were legally rejected and they could show no probable cause, they chose instead to “place” her in a group home at a secret destination chosen by the local Regional Center, San Andreas (SARC) and Adult Protective Services (APS), via a forged signature to her IPP constituting “consent” to institutionalization .To cover up their mistake and to squelch press reports , the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) and Adult Protective Services (APS) appealed to the Santa Clara County DA to trump up malicious abuse charges the parents, Jeff and Elsie, who were falsely arrested, and spent a night in jail facing felony charges. The local police produced a falsified police report which was immediately discounted by Nancy’s doctors and the parents’ supporters . It took 14 months for Jeff and Elsie to get the district attorney to drop and expunge the charges. Meanwhile, State attorneys from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) pursued Nancy’s conservatorship by DDS Director Allenby and SARC, proceeding at first in secret , and then opposing the parents own petition in a David versus Goliath mismatched 2003 probate trial (which did not address the illegalities of the removal and confinement). The parents attempt to appeal was thwarted by procedural barriers caused by their inability to procure a complete record of the trial.

Recent evidence has surfaced concerning terrible abuses she suffered at the hands of the state conservators that were concealed before her conservatorship trial and did not come to light. All of these injuries occurred while in SARC’s and APS’s care.
Raven West said...

Jeff Golin's tragic case against the state is only one of the over 250 guardianship abuse victims who are members of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, an organization I formed in May of 2006 after my father Ruby Cohen, from Ellenville, was victimized by a Florida guardian who wiped out nearly his entire life savings in just under 18 months. The court system in this country was suppose to protect our most vulnerable citizens, but in more and more instances, the cards are stacked against the families and the innocent suffer. The Golin's have had their daughter ripped from their loving home and thrown into hell by a heartless government. They have been threatened and abused by the system, as have a great many in this "land of the free". Please visit our website Stop Guardian Abuse for information on Nancy Golin and the other victims. Robin C. Westmiller, J.D.President NASGA

-----------------------------

This is really frightening. As Australia and other countries start to enact new legislations to protect our vulnerable citizens, particularly, the elderly; let us learn from the mistakes of others. We MUST NOT go down that road.

The Special Needs of Elder Abuse Victims

By Trudy Gregorie

It is unlikely that many people in America envision that their senior years will include abuse, neglect, exploitation, or other types of victimization. However, with estimates that more than 2.5 million older people are victims of some form of reported or non-reported maltreatment each year, with 90% committed by a perpetrator known to the elderly victim, this seems to increasingly be the case. Their economic situations often make them easy prey for those determined to be predators for personal and economic gain. Abusers seek those who appear to be less capable of defending themselves and their property.

If seniors' position in society is closely examined, it becomes clear that they are easy targets for abuse and misuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates the incidence of specific types of elder maltreatment (based on reports from 39 states) as follows: physical abuse, 15.7%; sexual abuse, 0.04%; emotional abuse, 7.3%; neglect, 58.5%; financial exploitation, 12.3%; all other types, 5.1%; and unknown, 0.06%.2
There are certain crimes for which the elderly are specifically targeted. An extensive undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation operation.

There are certain crimes for which the elderly are specifically targeted. An extensive undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation operation found that older consumers were specifically targeted by fraudulent telemarketers. The study showed that people who have already been victimized are at the greatest risk of being victimized again. Offenders reuse and sell victim information, targeting the same victims repeatedly until their assets are gone. Seniors are also targeted for get-rich schemes, home improvement and mortgage scams, investment fraud, and exploitation by fiduciaries and family members.

The Impact of Victimization on the ElderlyThe elderly are more at risk than other age groups to suffer serious consequences of victimization. The effect of physical or sexual assault can result in more serious injuries to older people whose bones break and tissues tear more easily. The ability to recuperate or recover from injuries also diminishes with age

The emotional impact of crime on elderly victims can also be extremely serious. The psychological trauma may be particularly profound for older victims since the ability to recover from trauma is influenced by pre-victimization coping patterns and support networks.

Special Needs of Elderly Victims
Elderly victims have many of the same needs as their non-elderly counterparts. In addition, many older victims have special needs and face a variety of additional obstacles to accessing existing services as a result of common conditions related to aging or disability. These include:

  • Dependency on Caregivers;
  • Problems with access services or courts;
  • Need for Supportive Services;
  • Fear of losing Independence.
  • Lack of knowledge of Victims Services;
  • Distrust of Criminal Justice System;
  • Fear of Retaliation

Supportive Services of Elderly Victims

Crisis intervention for elder abuse victims can include counseling about available options, emotional support, assistance in making arrangements, and the provision of information and referrals to supportive services in the community

Support groups provide an encouraging environment for victims of elder abuse and other crimes to share their experiences in a safe and confidential environment. A number of communities have established such support groups through elder services programs. Elderly victims.

In preventing and responding to elder abuse, collaboration is key to success, combining the skills and resources of law enforcement and justice professionals, state-level elder advocacy and adult protection agencies, legal services, victim service providers, and community-based and non-profit organizations.

If you know someone who is being neglected, exploited or abused, report it to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-564-1612For information about services or referrals, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119

National Resources
Adminstration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
(202) 619-7501

American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging

National Center on Elder Abuse

National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Abridged Article. SOURCE

November 26, 2007

Elder Abuse - Fighting Back

Violent elder abuse is a crime of cowards and bullies, so we often cheer when a senior turns the table on the abuser. Last February, a 70-year-old retired soldier defended his touring group in Costa Rica by killing an armed robber with his bare hands. In June, a former Marine killed one robber and critically wounded the second one after they tried to rob him at a Subway Sandwich Shop in Florida. That same month, a retired police officer helped subdue a psychotic airline passenger in Boston and, in April, a former Miss America in Kansas shot out the tires of burglars who were attempting to leave her farm with stolen loot.

Smart people will take precautions. If you are a senior, seek impartial financial advice before investing money. Get professional advice before you change title in your property or put someone else’s name on your financial accounts. Take advantage of education programs to help you avoid scams and other problems. Look for trusted friends who have no interest in your money or property.

If you are concerned about loved seniors, check on them regularly at the nursing homes, monitor their expenditures, find out who is hanging around them and possibly exerting undue influence on their decisions. Most of all, don’t ignore them.

And if you are a potential abuser without a shred of decency, you might want to watch out for former soldiers, cops and beauty queens.

Abridged Article: SOURCE
-------------------------------

I would add to the "watch out" list for potential abusers -'Watch out for ElderBloggers who will expose your inhuman deeds, to the world.'

Please check the sidebar Links for information relevant to your country.

November 25, 2007

Elderly Suffer Most In Their Homes

Jo Revill, health editor Sunday The Observer

The full extent of the abuse of vulnerable elderly people taking place in their own homes and being inflicted by members of their own family will be revealed in a report published tomorrow.
The study, commissioned from a leading charity by the Department of Health, looked at 639 cases referred to the authorities for adult protection over a six-month period last year. Well over half involved people above the age of 65 and a fifth involved those over 85. More women were victims than men.

Just over 20 per cent of perpetrators were family members such as a partner, son-in-law or daughter-in-law. A further 18 per cent were carers in nursing or residential homes. Other abusers included friends or paid carers coming into the home on behalf of local authorities.
The ill-treatment ranged from failing to feed old people properly to injuring them so badly they needed hospital care. Other forms of abuse included sexual acts, stealing or making threats. However, only five cases led to a prosecution. The charity, Action on Elder Abuse, found many victims were too scared to go ahead with the statements needed to mount a full legal case against relatives or carers.

Daniel Blake, author of the report, said: 'This report shows that many older vulnerable adults are being harmed in their own homes by people in the family. Most of the abuse will remain unreported because people are too frightened, ashamed or embarrassed to do so.'

This week the social care minister Liam Byrne will announce the creation of 'dignity guardians' to do more to protect the most vulnerable adults who have learning difficulties or disabilities. He wants to see it being taken as seriously as child abuse and domestic abuse.
'It is clear from this report that we need to enlist the help of everyone in society to be vigilant for signs of older people being abused at home,' he said. 'It is only together that we can tackle this shame in our society,' he said. The report also showed that many adults were abused by care workers. More than 1.6m people work in social care, but only one in four has formal training.

SOURCE

Group Educates Seniors Against Scam Artists


Group educates seniors against scam artists
By Carolyn Tyler ABC7 NEWS Anchor



According to financial experts the nation's senior citizens have now become the primary target of scam artists trying to rob them of their retirement nest eggs. In California there is a group fighting back, using seniors to educate other seniors.

Morris Krow is 85, his wife Sarah is 83 -- what happened to them might serve as a warning to other seniors.

"I was interested in a living trust. I have four children. I wanted them to be protected as far as probates and things like that," said Morris Krow.

Love for their family led the couple to attend what was billed as a free lunch seminar with information on living trusts. A salesman talked them into buying an insurance annuity as well.

"He had a long - to go through that thing you'd have to have a legal mind," said Morris Krow.

What the Krows failed to understand were policy terms denying them access to their money without any charge until they were well into their 90's.


Tom Banzhof spent nearly 40 years in the investment industry before retiring. Now he volunteers as a member of SAIF - Seniors Against Investment Fraud, an organization sponsored by the State Department of Corporations.
Banzhoff uses his knowledge of the legitimate business world, to educate others about the schemes, scams, and cons taking place over the phone, via the internet, through the mail or in person.
"These people are pros, they are asking about how's the grandkids. Next thing you know, they have an appointment to come out to the house -- once that happens it's all gone, it's over," said Banzhof.
Karr and the other SAIF volunteers tell seniors:
· Be skeptical
· Don't rush into signing documents
· Don't give out personal information
· Don't send money to receive "winning" lotteries or sweepstakes
· Consult with someone you trust.


Abridged Article: SOURCE

November 24, 2007

Role Reversal - Your Aging Parents and You

USA TODAY ran a week long series on caring for elderly parents. A wonder series that touched many people. The following shows only a couple of stories from that series.

By Mindy Fetterman
USA TODAY

This is the story of millions of Americans caring for elderly parents and trying to maneuver the murky worlds of medicine, law, hospitals, nursing homes, guilt, fear and family ties.

First you get phone calls that seem kind of strange. Mom is quitting her bridge club because "they think I'm stealing from them."
A week later, she mentions an old boyfriend from the war who's coming to take her to dinner. You think, OK, it could be true.
Then the police call from her house. "Your mom thinks there's someone hiding under her bed."
Now you know. The forgetfulness, the fantasies, are dementia, Alzheimer's, something like that. Your sister suspects the worst.
This isn't just the story of one petite brunette wtih terrific legs who was called "Shorty" by her husband, granddaughters and daughters, including me.

Proposed Legislation would help Caregiver
By Mindy Fetterman USA TODAY


Recognizing that millions of Americans are caring for elderly relatives for free at some financial risk to themselves, members of Congress have proposed legislation over the years to try to help.
Most of the bills would grant tax credits of up to $3,000 a year to caregivers. The money would offset some of the out-of-pocket money people spend when they care for relatives, whether those relatives move in with them or remain in their own homes.
One bill proposes that if you quit your job to care for a relative, you would qualify for Medicare health insurance at age 55 instead of 65.

Another says that if you quit to become a caregiver, your Social Security payments, once you retire, would be based on your highest-earning years, even if those years occurred before you became a caregiver. That would make sure you wouldn't be penalized with smaller Social Security payments because you quit work or worked part time to become a caregiver.
But Congress hasn't passed any of the proposals in final form.
---------------------

Congratulations to USA TODAY and Mindy Fetterman for their efforts in doing this wonderful series. Many of us are in similar situations described in your stories. Carers in those situations often suffers in silence. They have their needs too.

ELDER ABUSE a Growing Problem - CANADA

by Charlie Fidelman
Montreal Gazette

It was the building's janitor who found the elderly tenant in difficulty after her electricity was cut for non-payment.
Health officials later determined the woman was suffering from dementia, as well as being malnourished and dehydrated; food left for her consumption had rotted on the counter.
"The adult child supposedly taking care of her had left her alone for days on end," said Francine Cytrynbaum, a consultant with the Quebec Elder Abuse Consultation Centre, based at the Centre de sante et de services sociaux Cavendish in Notre Dame de Grace.

It is a major health issue when an elderly person has no money for food or medication because someone in charge of their finances has depleted their bank account, Cytrynbaum told a public health conference in Montreal on Tuesday.

Mistreatment of the elderly includes flagrant abuse of finances, aggression, violence, rape and neglect. Abuse also includes use of diapers in long-term care centres for seniors who do not need them, baths given once a week and meals served cold.
With the population aging, gaps in the care of vulnerable seniors are expected to widen, health officials warned.

According to a recent study, abuse victims have a much higher mortality rate than those who are not maltreated, Cytrynbaum said.
"It's difficult to look at the impact because it's an under-reported problem," she said. "Sometimes, those living with abuse are not physically or mentally in a position to come forward."

Or they are terrified of being abandoned by kin or fearful of revenge at the hands of a caregiver, she added.

Isabelle Merizzi, press aide to Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard, said the government has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy concerning mistreatment of seniors in the province's 38,000 long-term care centres.

Also, Quebec's privately run seniors residences will have to be certified within two years, and then subject to regular inspections, she added.
Abuse cases are not isolated incidents, said Dr. Denise Gagne, a consultant to the Quebec Health Department.

According to surveys, mistreatment is widespread in some public and private long-term facilities, group homes and seniors' own homes, said Gagne, a Quebec City doctor specializing in seniors and community medicine.
The problem will increase sharply as more private homes open in response to growing demand because of a shortage of staff and beds in the public system, she warned.
The abuse rate in the general senior population - classified as age 65 or older - is about four per cent, Gagne said.
"But in seniors getting services from institutions, whether home care or in long-term residences, the abuse ranges from four to 12 per cent, and even up to 15 per cent," Gagne said.
The public system has flaws but at least the checks and balances in place, Gagne said.
"There are no such mechanisms for private residences."
Coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier's investigation of the death of five seniors in private residences in 2002 and 2003 raised concerns about dangerous neglect of seniors in their care. Rudel-Tessier recommended private institutions caring for aging seniors be evaluated regularly and systematically.
The Elder Abuse Hotline can be reached at 514-489-2287 or 1-888-489-2287.

November 23, 2007

Aged Care, Elder Abuse and Politicians

Politicians are elected, in a democracy, to represent their fellow citizens. If they continuously ignore the pleas of the masses for changes, they WILL be voted out at the end of their term of office.

No amount of money can buy votes, if politicians are found ignoring the pleas of their fellowmen.
We are more informed of our rights and will no longer tolerate arrogant politicians.

It is also sad, to note that both major parties in the Australian election, made promises and 'throwing up money in the air, like confettis'. One party "saved" a suburban hospital from closing. What about the whole hospital system for the rest of the country?

It is extremely disappointing that both major political parties in Australia continue to pay lip service to the Aged Care Crisis. I think we should remind them that the dissatisfaction about Aged Care situation in the country is not just the concerns of the elderly. Often, it is the close relatives of the elderly who are speaking out for the frail elderly who cannot voice their concerns.

Those who are touched by any case of Elder Abuse or Aged Care inadequacies will never forget the hurt, the wasted life or injustice done to a close relative or friend. Often we are the ones who will continue to call for changes, because what we witnessed and experienced will haunt us forever.

Join us in working towards better Aged Care. You and your loved ones need that change!

by Andrew

Please note that I am just an Elder Rights Advocate. I do not have any association or affiliation with any political party. I must confess to suffering from 'low tolerance to human rights violations'.

Caregiver Crisis USA


by Dean Mosiman
Wisconsin State Journal

To countless elders, paid and unpaid caregivers provide companionship and invaluable help with eating, taking medicine, bathing, toileting and safety.

But sometimes, those caregivers abuse, neglect and steal in the ultimate betrayal of the most vulnerable among us.
Government's efforts to support good caregivers and protect the elderly from bad ones fall short, the Wisconsin State Journal learned in an eight-month investigation of elder abuse in the state. Among the findings:

• Government has no system to check for abuse by volunteers, who bear most of the caregiving burden in the U.S. And they don't get enough support, training or respite, which increases the chances of stress and harm to elders.
• Professional caregivers, such as nursing aides, get poor pay, benefits and inadequate training, which leads to high turnover, poor screening and bad care.
• The system to oversee professional caregivers has gaps. There is no national system for background checks, and state rules give some abusive caregivers a chance to again work in long-term care facilities.

• Communities will face shortages of professional caregivers due to expected changes in the work force, and their role will grow as the population of frail elderly balloons in the coming decades.
"I don't know how it can't be a crisis at this point," said John Schnabl, chairman of the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Workforce Alliance, a group of private and public organizations that advocates on behalf of caregivers.

Newer research suggests that elder abuse, like many other forms of abuse, is usually motivated by a desire for power, control or money.

Case study

The state added 20 more names to the Caregiver Misconduct Registry in August, the most recent posting. Over the summer, listings included: a caregiver who got upset with a client, forcibly grabbed her by the arm and took her to her room; another who made $950 in unauthorized purchases on a resident's credit card; and another who cursed at and threatened to kill a resident. About 10 names are added to the list each month and, since 1992, at least 1,560 names have been added to the registry.

Caregiver training and workloads vary widely among agencies and facilities — the care ranging from poor to excellent.
And some caregivers have no business in the health-care field, Hanrahan said. They lack the right temperament and patience, are abusive or exploitative opportunists, or are "simply indifferent to the suffering of others," he said.
The state routinely inspects nursing homes only once every nine to 15 months and assisted living every two years or longer — a long time for a bad caregiver to do harm, experts said. Although the state responds quickly to complaints, elderly victims are often afraid to speak up because they are afraid of retribution, they said.
There's also no comprehensive, national system for checking out caregivers, though a system was recently proposed by U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis. Its prospects in Congress are uncertain …..
* Please Click on image above, for more information provided by WSJ
Source: Wisconsin State Journal


-----------------------------------------


Instead of waiting for another local report, our own government must learn from the difficulties and mistakes of other countries. Politicians are elected in a democracy, to represent the interest of the population. If they do not take heed of the citizens needs and 'pleas for change' ; they WILL be voted out at the next election.


Aged Care in Australia - Pardon Me?

Invisible aged care
by the Columnist Aged Care Crisis.Com
[Tuesday, 20 November 2007]


The election is almost upon us and it would hard to know that there was such a thing as aged care. Frail Australians have barely had a look in – in spite of the billions of dollars being thrown about. Residents of nursing homes have missed out yet again.

The best on offer is $458 million in funding and loans to help create an estimated 4,500 extra permanent and transitional care beds (ALP). And $1.6 billion for 7,200 more community care places and 2,000 more aged care beds (Coalition).

So some much-needed extra funding has been promised by both sides of politics. But aged care needs much more than this. The basic problem of how best to provide for people at the end of life with at least some respect and dignity remains unresolved.

While there has been endless hours of talk about the economy and the ‘working family’ little, if any, debate about aged care has occurred.

Few solutions to critical funding, staffing and care issues have been proffered. How are more skilled staff to be attracted to work in aged-care - work that is generally undervalued and underpaid? How can greater accountability, transparency and confidence in this stressed system be created? Who should pay for aged care- families, governments, not-for-profit agencies or should we just leave it all to the market?

The issues are huge, most families are confronted with them at some stage and yet there is little community debate. Who wants to think about becoming old, frail and dependent? No-one really!

What sort of aged care do we want in Australia? Is the current move to huge facilities on the outskirts of cities what people really want? I thought we were against putting people into institutions in this country! But perhaps we don’t want slummy little cottage- industry places either. But where is the debate? Where are the alternatives? Who is to decide? One might have thought that election time might be just the very time to put thoughtful, innovative policies before the people and to talk about these things.

Instead we are confronted with a government and a Minister for Aged Care who exhibits little interest in the issue at all and an opposition which can only talk about ‘working families’.

Pity the frail, the old and the dying in this country.
Source: Aged Care Crisis.Com

-------------------------------
We are missing out again! It is obvious that we have a lot more to do, in order to make politicians take notice. Is it difficult for them to understand that Aged Care is a major issue? Politicians are very good at calling for reports and studies. Various reports and researches from around the globe have "echoed" the same thing. A lot more has to be done to ensure that the vulnerable elderly are protected; and, be given a safe, peaceful and dignified place for them to see out the last few years of their lives.

November 22, 2007

Elder Abuse and the Media - Part II

  • We cannot totally blame the media and those that work in that industry regarding the lack of coverage of elder abuse cases and issues.

    It must be every reporter’s dream to break new stories, especially those that involve glamour, Hollywood stars, the rich and famous. It is unpalatable to write on issues that reveal the darker sides of the human race. Although, there must be some who really relish in writing on matters of gore, guts and blood.

    How can Elder Rights Advocates and Elder Abuse Prevention organizations get their concerns and issues publicized?
    Let us look at difficulties faced by reporters:

Victims of EA are often reluctant to talk about their experiences?

  • If the abuse involve a financial scam, the victim is often too ashamed to review the extend of the abuse.
  • If family members are involved, the victim feels ashamed that their own family member could do that to them. They may even question their upbringing of the children, if adult children are involved.
  • Fear of losing their independence. Staying with ‘the devil I know’ is better than going with ‘the devil I do not know’ – e.g being removed from an abusive family member; only to be put in a nursing home.

Why reporters from various media outlets are reluctant to run stories on EA?

  • Difficult to get the victim of a case to review the facts. The victim may be suffering from dementia. Or, that the victim may be so traumatized by the abusive event that he/she ‘blocked’ out the event, in order to exist.
  • Difficult to get collaboration from others involve in the case. Workers in a nursing home are often reluctant to ‘blow the whistle’ on their superiors or colleagues. Again, the fear of retaliation is a strong deterrent.
  • Privacy laws may also prevent the publication of names or photos. Thus, making the reporting process more difficult.

    The above lists are not exhaustive, but I believe it is a starting point in attempting to understand why it is often so difficult to get the attention of the media regarding EA issues.

    Unlike child abuse, elder abuse victims have a shorter go at “recovery”. Victims of elder abuse often are unable to voice their views. Sadly, many victims often blame themselves for whatever happened in an ‘elder abuse situation’. In serious elder abuse cases involving the very frail ones, the victims often passed away before anything can be done for them. This would definitely put an end to the case. “Case closed. Next…..”

    In relation to the under-reporting of EA, there is certainly a big gap to be filled. It will require the re-awakening of the human desire for justice and compassion for others, that should be innate in all of us.
    With the tide of ageing “baby boomers” adding to the growing problem of aged care and elder abuse; one thing we can be sure of – The problem is not going to go away.

    Have we become so de-sensitized to the sufferings of others that we no longer care?

    For the majority of us, old age is unavoidable. What are we doing today to ensure that we live out our twilight years in comfort, safety and dignity?

    Act now! We need to unite in this quest. Politicians are not doing enough to ensure the needs of the vulnerable elderly are met.

Aged Care in Australia

Vulnerable Elderly Deserve Better Care
By Lynda Saltarelli, The Age
Australia
November 18, 2007


Several years ago my father suffered a debilitating stroke and was admitted to hospital. No longer classified as needing acute care by the hospital, we were told that dad should be moved to a nursing home. The hospital began to pressure my emotionally and physically exhausted family to do the impossible and find him a bed.Fourteen weeks after entering hospital, my father contracted bedsores and died as a result of septicaemia.

Our Government boasts about the "booming" economy, but many frail Australians live in totally unacceptable conditions. Not even reasonably wealthy baby boomers will be able to lobby for good aged-care when they themselves are frail.
There is evidence that residents of aged-care facilities regularly go without proper pain relief and palliative care. Failures include poor infection control, inadequate clinical care, failure to provide safe medication management, and inappropriate use of physical and chemical restraints.A recent report For Their Sake — which surveyed staff from 371 nursing homes — was commissioned by the Aged Care Association Australia, following complaints from staff about poor hospital treatment.

  • It found nursing home residents suffered "severe weight loss" in hospitals because of "inappropriate food and food preparation", "no feeding assistance for people with a disability" and "no monitoring of food eaten or left by patients".
  • Some patients, who were previously without skin conditions, were returned to their nursing homes with skin tears, bed sores and bruising from rough handling.

Melbourne's Austin Health Hospital aged-care director, Michael Woodward, states "people were dying of malnutrition in nursing homes across Australia".

The devil is certainly in the detail — political parties have yet to respond with policies that tackle many of the following unresolved issues in Australia's aged-care system:

■Greater accountability for the treatment and care of older and frail citizens in aged-care facilities.

■Many homes simply fail to employ enough staff to sufficiently feed, clean and care for the elderly.

■Increase the level of transparency within the accreditation system for consumers — accreditation measures what providers say they do and not the standard of care they actually deliver.

■Families often feel frustrated by their inability to obtain the latest reports from the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency website when seeking aged-care placement for family. They can sometimes take months, with older reports no longer made available. (Older reports can also highlight repeat offenders — case in point, recently sanctioned and closed Belvedere Nursing Home.)

■Spot checks should occur at varying hours of the day and night.Fear of retribution is one of the biggest and unaddressed reasons for the failure of all the reinvented complaints schemes. Staff fear for their jobs, and relatives are reluctant to complain fearing the care of their loved ones may be compromised.

Abridged Article Source

--------------------------

Thank you Lynda for speaking out for the rest of us. A group of us have written emails to members if parliament; and spoken out on radio shows etc. on this same issue and that of Elder Abuse. What has to happened before our politicians take notice?

November 21, 2007

Elder Abuse and The Media- Part I

Case study: Delmar Secor: He shriveled up and died as neighbor watched
Report by Dean Mosiman (Wisconsin State Journal)

DE PERE — So much happened behind the weathered white pillars and clapboard siding of Delmar Secor's lifelong home.
And not nearly enough.

At his death, Secor, 89, lay face down on a floor in his two-story house set amid grand homes in a National Historic District blocks from the Fox River in this city of 23,000 just south of Green Bay.

During his life, he had been salutatorian of De Pere High School's class of 1931, a World War II veteran and the owner of two movie theaters in town.
When he died, he weighed 89 pounds, his dehydrated and malnourished body resembling an Auschwitz victim.
The home was so filled with debris, garbage and human waste that, when later inspected, it was deemed unfit for human habitation.
There were people who knew Secor as an eccentric recluse.
No one saw the truth, and no one managed to save him.
Some believed Secor was being cared for by his longtime next-door-neighbor, Dean Krause, a businessman and De Pere city councilman for 20 years.
Krause, who saw Secor regularly, found his lifeless body just after midnight on April 26, 2001. A few months earlier, Secor had given Krause power of attorney over his affairs and changed his will to make Krause his sole heir.

Abridged Article SOURCE



---------------------------
The Wisconsin State Journal and Dean Mosiman should be congratulated on doing a series of reports and case studies on Elder Abuse. The series, the most comprehensive coverage to date by a newspaper, provided an excellent range of reports and resources.
In this day and age, where most media shun reports on anything that are Not considered "sexy" or "headline grabbers", the WSJ has made a brave move.

Well Done! Let us see if others will follow their excellent lead.
(Pls. click on the first image to go to the WSJ Multimedia Page. Excellent coverage.)

November 20, 2007

Cautionary Tales of Elder Abuse

Pamela Case / For the Tracy Press / Saturday, 17 November 2007

Folks are living longer than ever, so it is not surprising society is catering to seniors. There are products especially for elders (if you watch television, you know what they are), entertainment especially for elders, magazines about the olden days and a powerful lobbying group. There are even laws especially for elders to discourage would-be criminals from victimizing seniors.
Elder abuse covers physical, emotion or financial abuse. It can be a felony with jail time for the perpetrator. The state has been aggressively going after those who would victimize our seniors.

Last year alone, the attorney general’s office reported filing 108 criminal complaints of elder abuse and had 60 convictions. It has recovered $4.8 million in restitution and fines.
Seniors’ money is always a temptation. Last month, a state appellate court upheld the elder abuse conviction of two investment advisers who targeted elders. These advisers offered free estate reviews to discover the elder’s net worth and then would approach the client to invest in speculative ventures, lying to and bullying them if necessary. A dozen or so seniors lost more than $1 million. The abusers are facing 12 to 17 years in prison. (my emphasis)
In another case, an abuser began insinuating himself into the life of an emotionally dependent man, eventually taking over his financial affairs. He convinced the elderly man to put him on the checking account, and withdrew, over five years, more than $600,000. When the victim balked at paying more money, the abuser would intimidate him into signing the checks. Finally, the abuser convinced his elderly victim to make him sole heir to his estate. That court case is still pending.
In a similar case, a volunteer caregiver took some $60,000 from an elderly woman and convinced her to make him the sole heir. He had to hunt for an estate planner, because at least one attorney had refused to do it on the grounds she was no longer mentally competent to make such decisions.

Abridge Text: SOURCE

Elder Abuse: Caregiver Swindles from 76-Year-Old Woman

SAVANNAH, GA--Robbing, abusing and financially exploiting an elderly person. They are despicable crimes that happen all too often.
In Chatham County and across the country elder abuse is on the rise. The cases that get the most media attention are the cases of physical abuse or violent crimes.
A couple of years ago there were a group of gypsies who forced their way into the homes of elderly couples and robbed them. They targeted seniors living in Savannah and Garden City.
Thugs have knocked several elderly women to the ground and stolen their purses.
But it's the elderly people who are being abused financially, by people they know and trust, that is the bigger problem.
"I could feel myself getting angrier and angrier and more and more depressed." said a recent victim of elder abuse.
To Report Elder Abuse:
Adult Protective ServicesIn Georgia call 888.774.0152In South Carolina call 803.898.7318
Chatham County District Attorney's OfficeMeg Heap 912.652.7308
Call your local police
More Information:National Center for Elder AbuseAdministration on Aging

Warning Signs:
Elderly person becomes isolated
Belongings or property missing
Unpaid utility bills or rent
Changes in bank account activity
Changes in the will
Suspicious signatures on checks

She is 76-years-old and lives in Savannah. We'll call her Marie, she does not want to be identified.
Marie said a woman she hired to take care of her ended up swindling Marie out of nearly $30,000.
Marie is no pushover, she's is a retired Army colonel who served our country as an Army nurse for 30 years. Now she lives in a home for seniors with her two cats. Marie hired a caregiver last December after she had surgery on her right leg. She couldn't walk and needed around the clock care.
"If it hadn't been for her frequent irrigation, I probably would lost part of my right leg, maybe all of it." said Marie. "So I was very grateful to her because she did give me good care."
In fact the two became close. "We became very good friends, I thought."
Marie said she now realizes the caregiver took advantage of her. It happened over the course of about nine months. It started out small. "I began to notice the grocery bills were going up quite a bit," she said. "Eventually it was about $100 every time we went to the grocery store."
Marie would buy a frozen chicken, put in the freezer, a couple days later it was gone. Some of her clothes began disappearing. When Marie would take the caregiver to dinner after a doctor's appointment, she said the caregiver would always order the most expensive thing on the menu.
Then the caregiver started using Marie's credit cards, ordering new ones in her name and checking Marie's bank account online. "I began to feel more and more isolated, like I was being restricted here." Marie said. "I wanted to go shopping or something, there was always a reason why we couldn't do that, unless she wanted to."
In June, the caregiver asked Marie to loan her money to buy a car. At first Marie refused. "There came more and more pressure to be a co-signer on her new car."
Marie finally gave in. The caregiver took her to a dealership, picked out a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor. She wouldn't let Marie get out of the car and handed her some paperwork to sign in the back seat.
Everything seemed legitimate. "Until around July when I started getting a lot of calls from Fifth Third Bank," she said.
It turns out Marie didn't co-sign a loan, she bought the SUV, and the bank came after her for payments. Marie said she tried to work things out with the caregiver, after all she was the reason Marie could walk again.
But the caregiver wouldn't stop asking for money. "She wanted me to help her with the down payment for a house," said Marie. "I just drew the line at that."
Marie called her sister who told her to call the police. Marie said she knew it was the right thing to do, but it was still a hard decision. "I felt terrible and I felt very guilty and I got very angry."
Looking back, Marie realizes this incident almost cost her her life-savings and it has taken a toll on her mentally and physically. She is speaking out to try to alert other seniors and maybe keep it from happening to someone else.
Today Marie is trying to move on, but this ordeal is far from over. Her caregiver bonded out of jail and the case is schedule to go to a grand jury.
Marie is so haunted by all of this, she is moving to a new home. As for that Mitsubishi Endeavor, the bank and the dealership are still hashing out who should pay for it.

SOURCE

November 19, 2007

The Elderly and Rising Heating Bills

Rising heating bills: Many pensioners cannot afford to keep their homes warm
By Steve DoughtyLONDON, England (Daily Mail), November 13, 2007:

A fifth of the over-60s spend their winter living in a single room because they cannot afford to keep their whole house warm, it was revealed yesterday. The shocking figure means that 2.5million older people limit their heating costs in this way. A survey also revealed that one million have to cut back on food to enable them to pay their heating bills. The study for the charity Help the Aged highlighted the scale of deprivation among the elderly and the reasons why so many of them die over the winter. It says that the complexity of many state benefits such as pension credit makes it hard for them to claim the cash, compounding their poverty. Help the Aged said £4.5billion worth of pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit goes unclaimed. It also estimated that that 25,000 die in winter because of illnesses linked to cold and hypothermia. According to the charity's research, large numbers of the over-60s resort to wearing gloves, overcoats and hats while indoors to avoid having to pay heating bills. A million go to public libraries, coffee shops or malls just to find somewhere warm and more than a million and a half go to bed in the daytime to find warmth under blankets, it said. Older people have been the poorest section of society for nearly a decade. Single mothers, who used to be the poorest group, have shot up the income scale thanks to Labour's tax credits and other benefits. But the elderly - who are supposed to be buoyed up by Gordon Brown's pension credit system - often fail to claim or are missed out by the system. The Daily Mail's Dignity for the Elderly campaign has highlighted the way many are cheated by the means test system when they need a place in a care home and how the vital home help that allows them to stay in their own property is being cut back by councils. The complexity of making a claim for pension credit and other benefits is often cited as one reason why they are not taken up. Another is that the elderly are often reluctant to claim meanstested benefits, seen by many as demeaning handouts. The charity, which conducted its survey with British Gas, called for greater state efforts to reach those who need help. 'Each year over 25,000 older people lose their lives to a preventable cold-related illness,' said Anna Pearson of Help the Aged. "The Government is not doing nearly enough to end fuel poverty. It has a potential jackpot of £4.5billion waiting for older people, but it dangles this vital cash behind a complex maze of means-tested benefits and, as a result, money continually fails to reach those who need it to survive." The survey, taken by ICM among 1,171 over-60s last month, indicated that more than 2.5million of the country's 11million elderly live in one room because of the cost of heating their homes. Almost as many - 2.2 million - turn off their heating entirely at some times because of the cost. Around two million wear outdoor clothing indoors. The charity said benefit advice services were unhelpful, with one in three older people left with no idea how they can claim state aid. Pension credit tops up the income of a single person to £119.05 a week and a couple to £181.70. Most pensioners are also entitled to claim winter fuel payments. Those under 79 get between £100 and £200, depending on their circumstances, while those 80 or over get up to £300.

Source

-------------------------
Many can identify with the plight of the elderly in this report; but are too ashamed to speak out.

Senility Prayer

God grant me the senility to forget the people that I never liked anyway
and the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Now that I am older (but refuse to grow up)...THIRTEEN THINGS I HAVE DISCOVERED...

1) I started out with nothing and I still have most of it
2) My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran
3) I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart
4) Funny, I don't remember being absent minded
5) All reports are in; life is now officially unfair
6) If all is not lost, where is it?
7) It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser
8) Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant
9) I wish the buck stopped here, I could sure use a few
10) Kids in the back seat cause accidents
11) Accidents in the back seat cause kids
12) It is hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere
13) Only time the world beats a path to your door is when you're in the
bathroom


SOURCE

-----------------
Well done, Matty. Very witty!

November 14, 2007

Elder Abuse - 'The Invisible Crime'

Elder Abuse is an unnoticed crime
reports Tom Smith, Senior Staff Writer
FLORENCE, Alabama (Times Daily), November 11, 2007:

Annette L. spends the majority of her day sitting in a wheelchair, either watching television or looking out a window. With no family around, the 73-year-old has to rely on friends or a caregiver for help. The problem is finding someone she can trust.

"I had some people who were supposed to be taking care of me, but all they did was take advantage of me and the situation I'm in," said Annette, whose last name is being withheld to protect her privacy. "They ran up my telephone bill, and there were some things that came up missing in my house. I can't say if they took it or not, but it made me suspicious."
Recently in Franklin County, a man was arrested and later pleaded guilty for his role in exploiting money from an older resident.

"The man said he would do work for the person and took $300,000 for materials and work, but the work wasn't done," said Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing. "Exploiting people who are incapable of making rational decisions that they used to be able to do because of age or sickness is against the law. It's elder abuse."

"Elder abuse is not just a physical abuse of a senior citizen," said Jerry Groce, director of the Franklin County Department of Human Resources. "There's the physical aspect, but there is also neglect and exploitation, which are the two primary contributors."

According to information from the National Center on Elder Abuse, between 1 million and 2 million Americans 65 or older have been injured, exploited or otherwise mistreated by someone they depend on for care or protection.

"Neglect and exploitation of the elderly is running rampant," said Washington Assistant Attorney General Cathy Hoover. She said in the Washington attorney general's office, there are 30 assistant attorney generals who devote a part of their time to Adult Protective Services.

"It's a national problem that has no boundaries," she said.
A lot of the abuse among the elderly population is not reported because the victims are ashamed or afraid, said Alabama Commissioner on Aging Service Irene Collins.
"They don't want to think about a loved one taking advantage of them, and they're ashamed and embarrassed it happened, or they're afraid if they report the incident, there could be some retaliation," Collins said.

Abridged Article. SOURCE

-------------------------------

Time and time again, we read articles from around the world with the same theme. This is the reality! Unless we do something to ensure that this sort of abuse do not happen to us, or our loved ones, in the near future; the problem will continue to grow.

Elder Laws and Politicians

It is unbelievable that this can happen in a developed country like the USA. An Elder Justice Act still gathering dust in Congress after 5 years!

Politicians from around the globe must take note that senior citizens make up a big voting bloc. We are living longer and are more active than generations before. Our unpaid work as volunteers in our society, add up to untold millions. We want laws enacted to protect us when we become more vulnerable or can no longer look after ourselves.

Politicians should also note that we are not so naïve as to be taken in by ‘promises of spending on aged care’ around election campaign time. It takes more than election promises and hand-shaking to win our votes. Listen in on our constant cry for attention to things that matter to our welfare and needs. ElderBloggers from around the world are joining forces in our fight for Elder Rights and Elder Abuse Prevention efforts. We are speaking out for those who cannot; while we still can. DO NOT IGNORE US.

Elder Abuse and A Very Dusty Bill

We were alerted to an article regarding the Elder Justice Act
'Bill to Combat Elder Abuse Dormant on Capitol Hill'
By William Neikirk, The Baltimore Sun
October 27, 2007

............the Elder Justice Act, designed to combat abuse, neglect and exploitation of older Americans, still gathers dust in Congress. It has been doing that for five years, odd for a bill with few visible opponents.
In the House, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the main sponsor, said everyone seems to be for the bill and he hoped to get pieces of it included in other legislation.The lack of success is something of a mystery. The elderly -- defined in the bill as those 60 or older -- are one of the nation's most powerful voting blocs. Abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people are on the rise and by some estimates could affect 5 million people, though no one has a precise number. The Baby Boom generation is gaining senior status and already has demonstrated its political prowess.
But a dirty little secret, and perhaps one reason the legislation is not moving faster, is that many seniors are abused at home by family members."I think because of that, perhaps, there is not as much stir up here to do something," Lincoln said.
Kathleen Quinn, executive director of the National Adult Protective Services Association, said funding for protective services for seniors is insufficient and uneven across the country."It's an invisible population with an invisible social service system," she said. "One of the things the bill will do is raise the awareness of elder abuse."

Abridged Article from: SOURCE

November 13, 2007

Elder Abuse - What You Can Do

At the most general level, abuse and neglect of older people can be regarded as an infringement of human rights. The United Nations has drawn up an International Plan of Action on Ageing, to which Australia became a signatory in 1981. This statement includes a set of Eighteen Principles for Older People, covering independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity. Principle 17 states:

Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical or mental abuse.

SOURCE



Most developed countries have some sort of Elder Abuse Intervention Measures, such as:

. By legislation – e.g. statutory adult protection services;
· Community services – active-living programs and health tips for seniors
· Education and prevention – including advocacy and empowering seniors with knowledge. Raising awareness of elder abuse.

How can you help?

1. Join a group to petition your local Members of Parliament, or Government Representatives, for new legislations to better protect older people.
2. Discuss the issue of elder abuse with your contacts – friends, relatives etc.
3. Your good health is paramount to preventing elder abuse. Join active living programs provided by your local or state government.
4. Speak to someone in Adult Protection Services if you think you have been abused; or that a friend or neighbour might have been abused.
5. Empower yourself with accurate information on the issue of Elder Rights and Elder Abuse.
Know that you have the right to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical or mental abuse.

------------------------
Please check sidebar Links for more information.

November 12, 2007

Community Urged to lookout for Elder Abuse

11/8/2007 By: Joleene Des Rosiers


SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The numbers are staggering. Millions of elderly adults are abused every year and only a fraction of them are reported.

Morgan Thurston is an attorney at the Department of Social Services. He says 122 referral calls came in last year, where abuse and neglect of the elderly was alleged.
"We get referrals from banks, sources throughout the community. Doctors, family members, neighbors, " Thurston said.
In Marvin Emmons case, it was two nurses that discovered the abuse.
Detective Dave Buske says they found Emmons sitting up with a broken back.

He was also living in what he calls deplorable conditions, sweltering, and close to heat stroke.

Buske says Thomas stole his money, and would punch him when he refused to give his pin to his ATM card.

Elder abuse problem

Millions of elderly adults are abused every year and only a fraction of them are reported.

"It's horrible! You have an 85-year-old frail, elderly citizen, and essentially, he was cut off with any contact from the outside world,” Buske said.
Now, we know statistically that elder abuse has been going on for a long, long time. And while we may not be able to stop it completely, we can do something about it. And we can start by picking up the phone.
"We take these complaints very seriously,” Buske said. “We investigate them to the fullest extent and when we develop leads and information, we run with it."
"We're generally dealing with a generation, too, that was taught to keep things private. And that is a big issue in trying to get things reported to the community or to Adult protective, or to law enforcement,” said Thurston.

Thomas is being held on bail at the Justice Center on $2,500 cash, $5,000 bond.

SOURCE
----------------------
We can say with certainty, that more of such reports will be seen around the world. We urge everyone to join us in the call for more assistance from governments and the public.

Elder Abuse - Elderly are Easy Targets

They have cash and property. Some are alone and frail. Others are sharp and socially connected.
And they're being robbed, sometimes losing small sums, sometimes life savings, to family, friends, caregivers and scam artists.

Stealing is the fastest growing category of elder abuse in Wisconsin, government data show.
Thieves are exploiting gaping holes in the public safety net, the Wisconsin State Journal found in an eight-month investigation of elder abuse in the state. Among the newspaper's findings:

• The state doesn't force financial institutions to alert police to suspicious transactions.
• Too few police and elder abuse investigators have expertise and training in financial crimes, which can be time-consuming and hard to prove.
• Crooks can use the same laws and financial tools — power of attorney, quitclaim deeds, joint bank accounts — that let a good-hearted caregiver or guardian manage a faltering elder's financial affairs.
As few as one in 25 financial crimes against elders is ever reported, one study estimated.
Most of it goes undetected, unreported or unprosecuted, experts say, because the victims are often too ashamed to speak up. They don't want to report family or caregivers who steal but also help them stay independent. Or they're afraid of the perpetrator or the court process.
"By the time we see it, $20,000 to $30,000 is lost," said Scott Martin, one of Dane County's three elder abuse investigators. "We see at least five a year this size."
Vulnerable, with assets

Case study

In 2005, Matthew and Catherine Simpson of Janesville got to know a couple in their 80s and persuaded them to sell their deceased son's Beloit farm for $189,000, with no down payment and $500 monthly payments for 30 years. Court documents list the farm as having had a market value of $967,000. A judge reversed the transaction last year and the Simpsons' appeal was denied.
It's clear why senior citizens become targets.


SOURCE

November 8, 2007

Worst Case of Elder Abuse - said Prosecutors

Prosecutors: "worst case of elder abuse" they've ever seen

UTICA - Veteran county prosecutors are calling it the worst case of elder abuse or neglect that they have ever seen.
David Auchmoody faces three felony charges in the death earlier this year of his 89-year-old mother, Edith Auchmoody.
David Auchmoody was only in Oneida County court for about a minute Friday morning. He wasn't arraigned and didn't enter a plea to the charges he faces with respect to his elderly mother's death....because he didn't have an attorney. Judge Barry Donalty gave him until Monday to get one.
Auchmoody faces three felony charges - 2nd degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person.
Assistant District Attorney Kurt Hameline has been prosecuting crimes in Oneida County for more than 30 years, and says he's never seen such a severe case of elder abuse or neglect.
"She was basically emaciated," Hameline said. "Her body was covered with bedsores she had osteomyolitis. She had infections in her bones...her bones were basically rotting away. She wasn't able to move and...this is what we're saying, that he was reckless in that he either did not provide that care himself or seek someone who could."
Hameline says 89-year-old Edith Auchmoody died February 22. That's when her son David called a funeral home to pick up her body. Upon seeing the condition of her body, the funeral home contacted police and that's what got this criminal case rolling.
Why the eight month gap between Edith Auchmoody's death and her son's arrest?
Prosecutors say it's because it took that long to get the results of medical tests and when those results came just last month, they wanted to bring in an elder-care expert, and not rely only on input from the medical examiner.


SOURCE



-----------------

At least in the USA, neglecting an elder can result in a criminal charge(s). Not too sure about that in other countries. Australia has not caught up yet! Elder abuse - Neglect cases; victims of this category have absolutely no recourse at all. No one wants to know and care!

Dead Men Win No Lawsuits

Why ambulance-chasing attorneys won't go near your grandpa's demise

by Maria Luisa Tucker
November 6th, 2007 7:43 PM

When sculptor Richard Lippold died in 2002, he left behind a breathtaking body of work, including huge wire-and-metal installations at the MetLife Building, Lincoln Center, the Four Seasons, and other venues around the world. He also left behind three children, a wife, and one angry boyfriend, who is now accusing a Long Island hospital of murdering the 87-year-old artist.

"They kill an old person and they don't care, because they know no one will take the case," says Augusto Gianni Morselli, Lippold's companion of 28 years. "If they can cause the death of this great human being, just imagine what they could do to you so-called normal people."


Jeff Korek, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, calls the state law—unchanged since its passage in 1847—"archaic." (my emphasis) The association has been trying to change the law for at least 17 years, but proposed legislation that would allow families to sue for emotional loss continues to get ignored. Trade associations like the Medical Society of New York have argued for years that the change could raise insurance premiums and cost hospitals millions of dollars.

Abridged Article SOURCE
--------------------------------
The legal system, in every country around the world, have “archaic” laws that should be changed in order to protect the rights of citizens in our modern times. So, why is that not seen to? Some may even argue: “The man/woman is old. At the ripe old age of 89 (or, whatever) what do you expect?” As one of my critics said, “Give it a rest!” Sure, in elder abuse cases that resulted in death - the victims, often were pushed into permanent rest, often before their time. For those elder abuse victims who survived and "rescued" from their abusive situation; do they really get a rest from the damages done to their mental and emotional health. Not likely!

For those of us who are “fighting”for Elder Rights and Elder Abuse Prevention, often witness first-hand, how the law can do more harm than good for its citizens. Snail-pace legal system can actually hasten the demise of the elderly. The unimaginable stress of legal proceedings on the older persons; while the tug-of-war goes on between family members and guardians, for instance. We need all the help we can get. Get involved in our quest to make our society safer, more equitable and happier for our vulnerable elders.

November 7, 2007

Woman Sentenced for Elder Abuse

Woman sentenced for elder abuse

By: North County Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2007


FRENCH VALLEY -- A woman was sentenced Friday to 150 days in jail and ordered not to accept employment in the elder care industry after pleading guilty to felony elder abuse.

Lillie Mae Stewart, 42, of Murrieta, will serve the sentence on consecutive weekends, court records show. The sentencing at Southwest Justice Center in French Valley stemmed from her conviction for the abuse of a 70-year-old man who was discovered in July living in an unventilated garage as temperatures topped 100 degrees outside.

Stewart was arrested when police were called to a home on Mayfield Union Way and discovered the man living in the garage with a cot to sleep on and a portable toilet to use. Police said they believed the man, who was malnourished and could not walk without help from officers, had been in that situation for about a month.


Police found that Stewart had been caring for the elderly man for five years and had been receiving monthly compensation checks of $2,000 from the state for his care.

Source: North County Times

November 6, 2007

Barriers to Detecting Elder Abuse - Part One

Barriers to Detecting Abuse of Older People by Family or Friends

In some situations it can be difficult to recognise or verify abuse by family or friends, as some forms of abusive behaviour against an older person are often subtle or intentionally hidden.
Making a person feel safe may assist them to raise their concerns about an abusive situation. There are many reasons why older people, or others, may not be raising the issue of abuse. Being aware of why abuse is being kept a secret will assist the Director of Care to raise the issue with sensitivity. Note if the older person is assessed as not having the ability to make decisions in relation to the abuse, staff will have a responsibility to report and take action.

Abuse may not be reported because:

  • Unwillingness by family, friends or even the older person to disclose that the abuse is occurring and/or has occurred
  • The older person is unable to disclose the abuse due to lack of mental capacity
  • Health professionals, care staff or the public being unaware that abuse of older people by family or friends needs to be a consideration
  • Signs and symptoms of abuse may be difficult to detect. Many of the signs of abuse are wrongly attributed to changes associated with ageing or physical or mental illness

The older person may be reluctant to discuss the abuse:

  • Due to denial, or not wanting to admit to themselves that there is a problem
  • Due to wanting to protect the alleged abuser eg from perceived punishment, loss of standing in the community or embarrassment
  • Due to feelings of shame or guilt at being judged as "bad" for having a family who abuses them
  • Due to a fear of retaliation or punishment from the alleged abuser, or a fear of harming the family relationship eg further abuse, change to the abuse, loss of contact
  • Due to fear of not being believed or of being accused of lying
  • Because they have doubts about confidentiality being maintained, or believe that there is no one in whom they can confide
  • Because they consider the abuse to be normal family behaviour
  • Because they believe families need to resolve matters internally and not involve "outsiders"
  • Because they believe that nothing will change
  • Or they are unable to communicate or express what is happening to them due to confusion, language difficulties, depression, physical or mental illness.
  • Because of different cultural perceptions
  • As they are unaware of their rights, or where help is available
  • As they have sought assistance in the past and the response has been unsuccessful or caused further harm

Why others may be reluctant to report abuse

Family members, staff, banking officers, GPs, friends, visitors to the home or other residents may suspect abuse of an older person by family or friends, but may be reluctant to raise their concerns:

  • Due to not wanting to interfere in family relationships
  • That the older person may lose trust and/or not confide in them any further
    As they are unaware of services, who they can to talk to, or what action they can take in relation to the abuse
  • For they believe that they lack the knowledge to intervene, particularly about successful strategies
  • As they believe that nothing will improve the situation
  • As they believe that any action will be heavy handed, insensitive and lead to further harm to the older person
  • As they may be unaware that older people do take action to stop abuse, if appropriately supported

Source: Aged Rights Assn. (Australia)

---------------------------------------

As majority of elder abuse cases occurred in the general community (i.e. not care facilities or nursing homes); it is important that we take note of the difficulties or barriers to reporting. We should not be deterred from reporting elder abuse. Of course, we have to be satisfied that the abuse did occurred, before making a report. We must not forget the rights of the victim. Where possible, permission should be obtained from the victim before reporting. That is my own view.

DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

Search This Blog

Loading...