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

July 31, 2008

Elder Abuse: New Trial Date for Alledged Abusers (NC. USA)

New Trial Date Set For Kaneklides Abuse Case

By Reece Murphy
7/30/2008 12:48:00 PM

A former Buies Creek couple charged with elder abuse in the death of his 78-year-old mother made an appearance in Superior Court yesterday.

George and Ann Kaneklides were indicted in October 2006 on one count each of abuse of an elder inflicting serious injury in connection with the abuse of Linda Arab Kaneklides.

According to prosecutors, the Kaneklideses allegedly neglected the elder Kaneklides so bad between Sept. 26, 2003, and Nov. 15, 2005, while she lived in their Keith Hills home that she suffered serious mental and physical injuries that eventually led to her death at a hospital in Greensboro April 7, 2006.

Mrs. Kaneklides died just four days after her son and daughter-in-law were initially charged with her abuse.

The trial was scheduled to begin in April but was postponed. A new trial date of Oct. 13 was set for Mr. Kaneklides during yesterday's hearing.

SOURCE: Dunn Daily Record

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Elder Abuse: Seniors Encouraged to Lodge Complain (Nevada, USA)

By Bob Challinor
Desert Valley Times
July 29, 2008

Nevada may not have the money to take on methamphetamines, but it does have the will, said Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

The state, through the attorney general’s office, is attacking the widespread methamphetamine crisis through an educational/prevention component now, in addition to other strategies, Cortez Masto told Citizens Coffee and senior center audiences.

Cortez Masto told seniors not to hesitate to call her office if they believe they have been victims of exploitation.

“It’s very important to me to protect seniors,” she said. “For some reason, seniors are preyed upon all the time with schemes and scams for money. That used to happen to my grandparents all the time.”

The state has a federally-funded Senior Medicare Patrol and senior protection unit, said Joanne Embrey, who heads senior issues for the attorney general’s office.

“Seventy seven million of us will be on Medicare in 10 years, and 144 million will use Medicare by the next 10 years,” she said. “It won’t last unless we save it. We’re the only state that has a law enforcement office; we advocate on your behalf.”

The U.S. Administration on Aging provides personal health care journals to seniors so they can keep their own medical treatment history and compare it with the Medicare summaries they receive every three months.

“You can compare your medical history to what Medicare said it paid for. Medicare loses $30 billion because of errors each year. That’s the reason the journals are out there.”

Cortez Masto said her office didn’t have the ability to prosecute elder abuse until a law was recently passed giving her to power to prosecute those cases.

“The district attorney has the primary jurisdiction,” she said. “I’m the secondary. We’re working with (Clark County DA) David Rogers on prosecution.”

The City of Las Vegas has the Senior Citizens Law Project, a pro bono service available to people age 60 and older, and the Clark County Law Project – which has seven attorneys on board – takes on more intensive issues.

The attorney general’s office vigorously prosecutes consumer fraud and works with the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse on child advocacy issues.

“We’re complaint driven,” Cortez Masto said. “We can’t do anything unless you call.”

SOURCE: Desert Valley Times

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Elder Abuse: Shelters for Victims (Canada)

Give them shelters
As many as 10 per cent of seniors will be emotionally, physically or financially abused by a family member. As our population ages, cities are struggling to find secure housing.

Hayley Mick reports
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
July 29, 2008 at 8:53 AM EDT

For two decades, Ruth said yes to her adult daughter. Yes to all the loans, yes to her moving in. But it was a piece of chilling advice that compelled Ruth to finally say no more.

Pack an overnight bag and hide it, a counsellor said. Include $15 so you can flee in a taxi if your daughter becomes violent.

"That certainly shot through me," says Ruth, who lives in Toronto and did not want her identity published. She knew the abuse was escalating. Her savings were depleted; neighbours could hear yelling through the apartment walls.

But where could she go?

At the time, there were no shelters in Canada for people like Ruth - those 60 or older experiencing physical, emotional or financial abuse, most often by a spouse, adult child or grandchild.

Almost a decade later, Toronto is getting its first safe haven for abused seniors. The pilot project, which opens in September at a secret location, is modelled after a successful program that began in Calgary in 1999 (the first in North America) and is slowly spreading to other cities, including Edmonton, Surrey, B.C., and Winnipeg. In Toronto, a senior will be able to live in a private apartment for up to 60 days while they receive counselling and support.

While seniors can experience physical violence, that's reported less often than for younger groups, Ms. Spencer says. More often, the abuse is emotional, financial or both.

Some Canadian cities are using different approaches to help elders in distress.

Calgary's shelter now houses up to 14 seniors at a time.

In B.C., a pilot project developed by the B.C./Yukon Society of Transition Houses allows older women to seek emergency shelter in private homes in four different sites, and in Surrey, abused women 55 and older can find shelter in a transition house.

In Toronto, Pat's Place will open in September. It's only one apartment suite, and seniors who have major security needs or who can't live independently don't qualify. If it's a success, the program could expand, says Lisa Manuel, manager of seniors and caregivers support services at Family Service Toronto.

SOURCE: Globe and Mail - Canada

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July 30, 2008

Elder Abuse: Carer Convicted of Sexual Attack (Wales, UK)

Carer convicted of sexual attack on pensioner
Jul 29 2008 Media Wales

A CARER convicted of carrying out a sadistic sexual attack on a pensioner with severe dementia, was jailed today nine years.

Gareth William Jones inflicted “appalling injuries” on his victim, aged in her 70s, who lost a litre of blood in the attack and needed life-saving surgery as a result.
Jones, of Maes-y-Berllan, Trecastle, Mid Wales, was convicted earlier this month of one count of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder while working at The Mountains Nursing Home near Brecon.

He denied carrying out the offence on the evening of February 13 of last year but a jury found him guilty by unanimous verdict.

The 22-year-old stood impassively in the dock of Newport Crown Court as Judge Philip Richards delivered his sentence today.
When he was led away to begin his jail term, Jones – who maintains he is innocent – shook his head.

During the trial, prosecutor Ieuan Morris said Jones was arrested 24 hours after the incident happened and DNA swabs were taken from him.
Judge Richards also raised concerns Jones landed the carer position in light of his learning difficulties.

“This is plainly a case where you should never have been given such a job.
“Issues arise as to that when a person with your inexperience and own difficulties should ever have been contemplated for undertaking such a role.”

Jones was told he must register as a sex offender for life upon his release from prison. He was also disqualified from working with elderly and mentally ill people for life.

SOURCE: WalesOnLine

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Elder Issues: Safety of the Old and Lonely (India)

INDIA: Old, lonely and not safe at home

NEW DELHI (The Times of India)

July 29, 2008
By Rahul Tripathi, Times News Network

The murder of 79-year-old retired government official R P Srivastava in Noida on Sunday, July 27, once again raises uncomfortable questions about the safety of elderly citizens living alone. Though more than 7,300 senior citizens are registered with the Delhi Police's senior citizen cell — cops say there has been an increase of more than 10% this year — crimes against elderly are on the rise. This year, eight senior citizens have been murdered so far, while 2006 witnessed 26 such cases.

According to police, elderly citizens, particularly those living alone, are soft targets. Srivastava, who was found gagged and murdered in his Noida home on Sunday, was living alone after his wife's death. His son stays in Bangalore. Living alone in their twilight years, many like him, are left feeling lonely and more vulnerable to crime.
As a senior police officer says: ‘‘They become soft targets as they are physically weak and unable to protect themselves. At times, they are victims of exploitation, verbal abuse, vandalism, assault and abusive behaviour. They could also be living in fear after being threatened by their own relatives, domestic helps, landlords, tenants, strangers, thieves or intruders.

''The Delhi Police set up a senior citizen's cell to deal with the security of the elderly. Around 7,397 senior citizens, living alone, have registered with the cell so far. The number was 6,700 last year. But the cell has not been able to do much to build confidence among the elderly. Many senior citizens, who are registered with cell, complain that the good intent of cops last for the first couple of months, after which visits by beat constables become few and far between.

‘‘Earlier, the beat constable used to visit us twice every month. With the passage of time, these visits became erratic. They promised to be there for us always — even to run small errands — but those promises were never meant to be kept. Worse still, the policemen posted with the cell do not even try to understand our problems,'' says a retired bank employee of Kalkaji. ast year, 42 cases of crime targeting elders, including 13 murders, were reported in the Capital. This year, the figure has crossed 24 in the first six months. The police, too, are alarmed at this increase in crimes and they blame this mainly on societal changes. ‘‘We try to focus on elderly citizens living alone, but we cannot act in isolation. The children and relatives of senior citizens should realise their responsibility. So far, there have been no incidents of crime against members registered with senior citizen cell,'' says additional CP (headquarters) Kewal Singh.

‘‘There are several benefits of registering with the cell. We ensure regular weekly visits and even contact them over the phone. But many a times, senior citizens refuse to get themselves registered,'' adds Singh. Cops cite the case of 65-year-old Nishi Banga who was found murdered in her GK home last year. She apparently refused to get herself registered with the cell.

Copyright © 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd

SOURCE: Times of India

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Elder Abuse: Vulnerable Adults Merit Protection (USA)

Published July 29, 2008

The state Department of Social and Health Services is wrapping up Adult Abuse Prevention Month.
We often think about and react to abuse of children, but the sad fact is that frail and elderly adults are at equal risk. They, too, deserve our protection. But only one in five cases of abuse is reported.

"Protecting the state's vulnerable people is the responsibility of each of us," said Kathy Leitch, assistant secretary for the Aging and Disability Services Administration, a division of DSHS. "Our goal is to help the general public recognize abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, and to advocate for safety on behalf of vulnerable adults."

The state agency is offering a free Adult Abuse Prevention Kit, available by calling 800-422-3263 . The kit also can be downloaded at www.adsa.dshs.wa.gov/aps.
According to DSHS statistics, Adult Protective Services reported a steady increase in allegations of abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation from 2001 to 2006. In 2007, the state agency received 13,553 allegations. To report cases of suspected elder abuse, call 866-363-4276 . Children and vulnerable adults merit our attention and protection.

SOURCE: The Olympian


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July 29, 2008

Government Mulls Charges Against Nursing Home (Vic. Australia)

Govt mulls charges against nursing home
July 28, 2008 - 7:18PM

Criminal charges could be laid after the federal government said a Victorian nursing home had risked residents' health and safety.

The Department of Health and Ageing says significant weight loss in several patients at the Kirralee Residential Aged Care Facility in East Ballarat indicated deficiencies in nutrition and hydration.

"In view of the serious nature of the department's concerns, the department will be referring information to the Victorian police for their consideration as to whether any criminal charges are warranted," the department said in a release.

A Victorian police spokeswoman said police would investigate.

"We are expecting a referral from the department. Once we've received the referral we'll look into the matter," said police spokeswoman Katherine Jess.

The government has imposed strict sanctions on the nursing home after an unannounced visit by department assessors earlier this month found problems in 33 out of 44 areas.

Problems with clinical care at the 100-place high care home were identified as a serious risk to residents' health, safety and wellbeing.

"The situation at Kirralee is entirely unacceptable; in the interests of all residents, the department has imposed strong sanctions," Ageing Minister Justine Elliot said in a statement.

© 2008 AAP


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Rest Homes Deny Systemic Problems (New Zealand)

Rest homes deny systemic problems
26/07/2008 11:12:49

Nurses are not surprised people are worried about putting their loved ones into rest homes.

Temporary managers have been appointed to a further three rest homes this week. The latest to strike problems is the Birkenhead Lodge on Auckland's North Shore.

Nurses Organisation spokeswoman Lynley Mulrine says it is a scary thought what might be going on behind some closed doors. She says tougher auditing is needed so that people know what kind of place they are putting their relatives into.

However, the body which represents rest homes is denying there is any systemic problem in the aged care sector.

Martin Taylor from HealthCare Providers says one case of elder abuse is always one case too many, but he says it is wrong to think there is a widespread problem. He says the number of homes under temporary management is less than one percent of all the facilities across the country.
Mr Taylor says while there is no evidence of a widespread problem, it is important to stay vigilant.

SOURCE: NewsTalkzb

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Elder Abuse: Most Abuse Comes from Family Members (New Zealand)

Families abuse elderly
Whangarei Leader
Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The abuse of elderly people in resthomes has been highlighted in the news lately but the statistics show most abuse comes from family members.

Last month an Auckland rest-home was closed after pictures of a elderly resident with her mouth taped shut were made public.

"It is understandable that reports and images of this nature make an impact, because they are extreme and graphic and fortunately very rare," says Amanda Vun, from the Elder Abuse Service, Age Concern Whangarei.

But Ms Vun says the issue that needs attention is subtle abusive practices of elderly with the majority of abusers being family members.

In over two-thirds of cases the abuser is in the older person’s own family, she says.

Age Concern, Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention services in Whangarei has received 25 elderly abuse cases so far this year. Nationwide the organisation responds to about 600 cases each year, but many more remain hidden by shame, fear or the inability to get help.

"The most prevalent type is financial abuse," says Ms Vun. "This can range from stealing the change when taking them shopping to stealing property."

A recent report released by Age Concern shows 42 percent of cases involve financial abuse and 62 percent involve psychological abuse, more than one type of abuse can happen.

The same report shows 79 percent of abusers are family members of the abused and 59 percent of abusers aged under 65 years of age were the children of the abuser.

Fifty-seven percent of abusers aged over 65 are the husband of the abused.

Ms Vun says family members feel they are entitled to the money.

Only 7 percent of abuse or neglect cases are related to institutional policy or practice.

Ms Vun says abuse in institutions such as resthomes are often blamed on staffing shortages and tight budgets but it only happens in a few homes and the rest cope with the same pressures without abuse or neglect of their residents.


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The Silent Cancer of Elder Abuse (Zambia)

By Oliver Mupila, The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
July 22, 2008

Although the nations of the world have over years made serious attempts to curb the abuse of elderly people in society, the problem is still rampant especially in developing countries like Zambia , which have no social security schemes for senior citizens in place.

Various studies have often confirmed the abuse of elderly people as a widespread phenomenon, affecting thousands of vulnerable people across all classes of society.
Being largely hidden, this abuse is difficult for the professional community to address effectively. Only with the support of the public can society ensure that such cases are brought to light and appropriate action taken.

There is growing evidence from a number of communities that elderly people abuse and violence is a major, though hidden, problem in the developing world, since elderly people abuse is closely linked to poverty.

Attacking the causes of poverty could greatly improve the security of older people. Within the family status undergoes an abrupt change.

In Zambia for example, there are numerous cases of widows being forcibly removed from the family home. Elder people abuse in that form is far less likely to be reported than child abuse, which has gained greater public awareness.

This writer a few years, after a survey, established that "while one out of three child abuse cases is reported, only one out of 30 cases of elderly people abuse is reported."
With enhanced public awareness of the problem coupled with improved reporting systems, it is anticipated that reports of elderly people abuse (particularly domestic abuse) would drastically reduce.

For now, however, elder abuse remains one of the most under-recognised, and consequently one of the most under-reported social problems in the country.

(The author is a Malaria & HIV Consultant /Gerontologist and president & CEO for Health Village International Clinics for Malaria Control , USA )

SOURCE: AllAfricaDotCom

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Elder Neglect and Abandonment (Goa, India)

Senior Citizens Suffer in Silence in Goa

The Times of India
July 22, 2008

The recent case of a 75-year-old mother Navshe Sawals who was forced to live in a public pay toilet as her son allegedly abandoned her, has brought to the fore the problems and pain faced by senior citizens in society.

The woman was abandoned in the last week of June and was rescued in an unconscious condition from a sulabh toilet at Mala last Friday morning. The Panaji police have registered an offence under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 against her elder son. Even as a sizeable part of Goa's population (nearly a lakh persons) is pushing 60 and beyond, their wrinkles are being accompanied with a lot of pain.

They believe that there are many more Navshe Sawals, who suffer in silence as they are continuously exposed to emotional neglect and lack of physical and financial support. "The problem is that they don't want to complain against their children, fearing that they would be in trouble or would have to undergo tension and trouble because of their complaints. They also often don't complain due to threat perception or fear," said Akbar Abdul Mavany, caretaker, Forum for Senior Citizens of India.

SOURCE: Times of India

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July 28, 2008

Don't Become a Victim of Elder Abuse: Part Two

By Penny Bussey
Special to the Village News

Thursday, July 24th, 2008.
Issue 30, Volume 12.

Continued from last week’s issue of the Village News, this is part two of District Attorney Paul Greenwood’s 10 steps to avoiding elder abuse.

Greenwood has put together a guideline called “It’s Not Rude to be Shrewd.” His first five steps included choosing a caregiver with caution, inventorying jewelry, using a shredder, protecting mail and doing credit checks on yourself. Here are the second five.

Every telephone should have caller ID

This is a simple, inexpensive way of knowing who is calling you before you answer. Phone companies charge around $5 extra per month. This is the easiest way of avoiding calls from unwanted solicitation.

You will never win a Canadian lottery

As silly as this sounds, there are many people who are convinced that if they send a check their return will be tremendous. Individuals have sent thousands and thousands of dollars in the hope of winning. It just doesn’t happen. These are scams. Don’t end up feeling embarrassed or ashamed because you are a victim. Don’t send money.

Carefully review bank statements

Consider allowing your bank to send a duplicate copy of your monthly statement to a trusted family member or professional advisor.

Banks would not necessarily know if you have funds removed from checking or savings that you did not authorize. It is a good idea for you and perhaps another person you trust to closely examine statements for any discrepancies.

Don’t assume the friendly handyman is licensed

Many repair people are not licensed and have been known to take your money and either not complete or even start a job. If the repair costs more than $500, the repair person needs a license. A business permit is not the same as a state license.

Never pay more than 10 percent of the total contract cost up front. Make sure you get a written contract and that you have a copy. It’s also not a bad idea to get recommendations from family or friends.

Have a second line of defense at the front door

A strong security screen door that locks is a good idea. Never let a stranger into your house, even if they are presenting an emergency that seems real. You can always call 9-1-1 for them.

Often two people will appear. If you let them into your house, one can keep you distracted with their tale of woe while the other could be stealing items from you.

If someone is at your door and you become concerned or frightened, call 9-1-1.

SOURCE: The Village News


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Financial Elder Abuse by Family Members: Yet Another Case

Estate handling splits family
By Michael A. Scarcella
Published: Sunday, July 27, 2008

BRADENTON - Soon after Sarasota psychologist Richard Gary Schulman took control of his father's cash and assets he bought a Corvette and a boat.
Less than a year later, he got married and the couple began house-hunting. They eventually bought a house in upscale subdivision GreyHawk Landing, just months before selling his father's Sarasota home.
In the meantime, Richard's brother Billy Schulman discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars had disappeared from his father's accounts and as things devolved, Richard Schulman stopped taking calls from relatives, court records show.

The bills for prescription medicine their father, Bert Schulman, needed went unpaid. Bert Schulman was a retired elementary school science teacher who had Alzheimer's disease.
After four years of working to protect his father and a civil suit to get the missing money returned, Billy Schulman took the rare move of pressing criminal charges of elder abuse and neglect against his brother.

Most relatives work to settle such matters in civil court, and the Schulmans had done so before their father died. In a civil settlement, the family agreed that Richard Schulman and his wife would repay the money. Richard and Laurie Schulman even sold the house they bought in GreyHawk Landing to pay the bills.

But then Richard Schulman backed out of the agreement, and his brother decided to press criminal charges.

Richard Schulman was arrested in December 2007; his trial is set for next month. Laurie Schulman has not been arrested.

McIntosh said Schulman was the primary caregiver for his parents before they died.
Schulman, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult and is free on $50,000 bond. His trial is set for Aug. 25.
The money and asset transfer was "malicious, willful and in utter disregard to the welfare of Bert Schulman," an attorney, Lori M. Dorman, said in the lawsuit against Richard and Laurie Schulman.

The father, Bert Schulman, who had been living at the Inn at Freedom Village in Bradenton, died in January 2007. He was 85. The Brooklyn native had lived in Sarasota for seven years.
Richard Schulman gained power of attorney for his father in 2004.
Schulman family members question whether Bert Schulman knew what he was doing.

(Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Sarasota,FL,USA)

SOURCE: The Herald Tribune
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July 25, 2008

Senior Abuse (IL. USA)

By Denise Jackson

Story Published: Jul 23, 2008 at 6:33 PM CDT

Senior Citizens are vulnerable to becoming victims of fraud and abuse.
And many times they are not aware of it until the damage is done.

That's why the Center for Prevention of Abuse is trying to get the word out now as part of Elder Abuse Awareness month.

Senior Services Security Coordinator Steve Hucal says family members acting as power of attorney often steal money from the elderly.

"They're doing things, they're spending that money for themselves, not realizing there's laws out there to protect that person and if they cannot present receipts, documentation to support the money they're spending that's a criminal offense," said Hucal.
Senior Abuse Hotline at 866–800-1409

SOURCE: WeekdotCom News

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Improving Aged and Community Care for Indigenous Australians

The Federal Government is calling for tenders to develop new workforce training resources to help improve home and community care for frail and older indigenous Australians.

It will focus on the training needs of community care workers looking after remote, rural and urban people in the Northern Territory.

The new plan aims to train people to help older indigenous Australians remain independent in their own homes rather than entering nursing homes.

“This is a practical and common sense plan. It is about training and providing better resources for indigenous care workers who specialise in indigenous care so they have long-term employment prospects,” Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot said.

“Indigenous Australians have particular aged care needs. It has been found that their overwhelming preference is to remain in their communities - especially remote ones - rather than enter a nursing home.”Mrs Elliot made the announcement today in a major speech to Australia’s Ageing Population Summit 2008 – in Melbourne.The new plan is part of the Australian Government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response and will be delivered by the Department of Health and Ageing.“Home and community care is about helping people avoid premature admission into residential aged care,”

Mrs Elliot said. “This project will assist in providing support for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander .

Australians to have healthy independent lives for as long as possible.“Frail older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with a disability need culturally appropriate care.”The program will provide up to $400,000 to improve training and resources for indigenous home and community care workers who care specifically for indigenous people. It is anticipated that the project will have national application for the some 1,400 people in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HACC (Home and Community Care) workforce.The Australian Government is seeking tenders from organisations or consortia with relevant expertise to run the project, with advertisements appearing in newspapers this weekend.

Mrs Elliot made the announcement today in a major speech to Australia’s Ageing Population Summit 2008 – in Melbourne.The new plan is part of the Australian Government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response and will be delivered by the Department of Health and Ageing.“Home and community care is about helping people avoid premature admission into residential aged care,” Mrs Elliot said.

SOURCE: DoHA Australia

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Poster Campaign to Highlight Elder Abuse (UK)

Age Concern Wirral launches poster campaign to highlight abuse of elderly
By Sue McCann
Birkenhead News
Jul 23 2008

Age concern

AGE Concern Wirral is driving forward its controversial campaign to raise awareness about abuse of the elderly.

Following the launch of the PEACE campaign - Preventing Elder Abuse and Changing Experiences - a series of hard-hitting posters will be appearing across the borough.

A series of five posters will be released over the next 10 months.

The first tells the story of “Fred” who is a victim of financial abuse.

The following story boards will recount individual personal experiences of four other forms of abuse of the elderly.

Shirley Tyler, of Age Concern Wirral, said: “It is hoped that by highlighting individual cases, the public will relate to either their own experiences or those of others they know.

“In turn, by reporting these experiences, help and support can then be sought for these victims, which will put a stop to their misery.”

The Comic Relief-funded PEACE campaign sends out the message Elder Abuse Is No Laughing Matter.

Shirley added: “It is absolutely vital that this message continues to spread and reach as many of Wirral’s older people as possible.”

Shirley will be out and about over the following months delivering short informative talks to lunch clubs, church groups and other organisations across the Wirral.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the PEACE campaign can contact Shirley Tyler at Age Concern Wirral on 666 2220.

SOURCE: Wirral News

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July 23, 2008

Man Convicted of misdemeanor Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Court Reaches Verdict In Elie Wiesel Accosting Trial

POSTED: 4:06 pm PDT July 21, 2008

After nearly two days of deliberation, the jury found 24-year-old Eric Hunt guilty of false imprisonment, along with a special allegation the offense was a hate crime, for a Feb. 1, 2007 incident at the Argent Hotel in downtown San Francisco.

Hunt was also convicted of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor elder abuse, but the jury found him not guilty of attempted kidnapping, stalking and false imprisonment of an elder, a separate false imprisonment charge.

Hunt's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 18.


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July 22, 2008

Elder Abuse: Man on Trial (PA. USA)

Elder abuse trial: Defense says woman made her own decisions
Monday, July 21, 2008

A policeman, paramedic and emergency room doctor were called as witnesses Monday morning in the elder abuse trial of a 52-year-old Chambersburg man accused of neglecting his elderly mother to the point that she was malnourished and dehydrated a year ago.
David B. Baine is charged with neglect of care of a dependent person resulting in serious bodily injury, simple and aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.

In opening arguments, prosecutor Lauren Sulcove talked about Agnes Baine's physical condition when police and medics were called to Baines' Broad Street apartment July 8, 2007, by a landlord that thought she was dead.

At issue in the trial is whether David Baine acted in a criminal manner in his care of his 87-year-old mother or whether his mother, as a consenting adult, freely chose to neglect herself to the point that she could not take care of herself and was malnourished and dehydrated.

According to testimony this morning, David Baine was not home when police and medics were called to the home that morning and did not return until at least the next day.

In his opening arguments, defense attorney Paul Rockwell told the jury that Agnes Baine was at all times considered to be a competent adult in making her own decisions and choosing what she wanted.

SOURCE: Public OpinionOnline

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July 21, 2008

Policy on Prosecuting Crimes Against Older People (UK)

CPS publishes policy on prosecuting crimes against older people
15 July 2008

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, said the Crown Prosecution Service was making clear to the public that it takes crime against older people seriously as a policy published today sets out how it handles these cases.
Sir Ken said: "Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure and to live free from the fear of crime. We know that feeling and being unsafe have significant negative impacts on older people's health and sense of well-being. Research shows that crimes against older people are prevalent yet they are under-reported to the police.

"Our policy, Prosecuting Crimes Against Older People, makes clear to older people, their families, communities and the general public that they can be confident that the CPS understands the serious implications of crimes against older people.
"The CPS recognises its role in protecting older people's human rights by prosecuting offenders effectively and helping older people give the best possible evidence in court.

"If there is any evidence that there is an aggravating element to an offence based on a victim's age, we will draw it to the attention of the court and this could lead to an increase in sentence."
The policy has been produced through the work of a project group chaired by CPS London's Chief Crown Prosecutor, Dru Sharpling, and involving older people and representatives of key organisations working and researching in the field of age equality and older people's experiences. A consultation exercise earlier this year asked the general public for their views.

The issues addressed in the policy include how the CPS will support older people as victims and witnesses of crime; what special measures - such as screens in court or video links to their home - are available; what happens if the victim withdraws support or no longer wishes to give evidence and continuing a case where that has happened.
The policy also summarises some of the wide and complex range of crimes which older people may experience. These include:

  • abuse or neglect where there is an expectation of trust, whether by family members, friends or paid workers, or where the older person is living either temporarily or permanently in an institution;
  • crimes which are specifically targeted at older people because they are perceived as vulnerable or potentially easy to steal from, such as muggings, doorstep theft or rogue traders;
  • crimes against older people which are not initially related to their age but may later become so if someone exploits the situation on discovering that they are an older person;
  • crimes against older people which are in part or wholly motivated by hostility based on age.


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July 18, 2008

Don't Become a Victim of Elder Abuse

Don’t become a victim of elder abuse
By Penny Bussey

Thursday, July 17th, 2008.
Issue 29, Volume 12.

At the last meeting of the Fallbrook Senior Circle, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood, who heads up the San Diego Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit, and Stephanie Shaffer, MSW at Fallbrook Hospital, presented valuable information regarding elder abuse.

Greenwood has put together a 10-step program entitled “It’s Not Rude to be Shrewd.” Here are the first five steps of his program that can help ensure that you are not the next victim of elder abuse.

Choose a caregiver with caution

If you or a loved one needs a caregiver, consider hiring from a reliable agency or doing a background search on the person you are hiring. Local law enforcement will assist with a background search for about $22.

An agency should have this information and many agencies are licensed and insured. Remember that you are allowing this person into your house and they have free access to your possessions and, at times, even your checkbook. Make sure you can trust them.

Keep an inventory of jewelry

This is true for men as well as women. Have pictures of valuable items stored in a safe location, such as with a family member or friend. Make sure your jewelry is also kept in a secure location inside of your house.

Every home should have a shredder

This is good protection even if you don’t have a caregiver. Throwing bills, credit card applications and any mail with your name, address and sometimes account numbers on them can leave you vulnerable. Dumpster divers can use this valuable information to tap into or open accounts in your name.

Protect incoming and outgoing mail.

If you pay your bills by mail and it is convenient to use your own mailbox you are potentially giving away bank balances and account numbers. All it would take is for someone to drive by and empty your mailbox.

If you must use your mailbox, don’t put the flag up, advertising that there is outgoing mail. Taking your mail to the post office and having a box there is much safer.

Do credit searches on yourself

Have these searches performed two or three times a year. Often they are free and they will instantly let you know if someone is using your name for their purposes. Large amounts of credit can be obtained and used in a very short time.

SOURCE: The Village News Ca. USA


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Nursing Facility Heavily Fined for Negligence (Ca. USA)

Nursing facility assessed stiffest fine possible in patient's death
BY EMILY HAGEDORN, Californian staff writer
Thursday, Jul 17 2008 5:08 PM

The state has slapped a Bakersfield skilled nursing facility with the stiffest fine possible after inadequate care killed a patient, it was announced Thursday.

Bakersfield Healthcare Center was fined $100,000 after failing to address adverse medication interactions that resulted in a patient’s death, according to the Department of Public Health.

The patient death occurred when the facility was run by Pleasant Care Corp., and the fine has been paid by that company, said Mary Sue Franklin, executive director of the facility.

LifeHouse Retirement Properties, based in Grand Rapids, now owns the facility.

“It’s not connected to the present owner in any way,” Franklin said.

Preceding bankruptcy, Pleasant Care settled a $1.3 million lawsuit brought by former state Attorney General Bill Lockyer in 2006 as a result of allegations of elder abuse and negligent care. Pleasant Care facilities received more than 160 violations of state regulations over the previous five-year period.

While the incident happened in 2006, the complaint wasn’t filed with the state until July 2007, August said.

SOURCE: BakerfieldsDotCom


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Financial Elder Abuse: Investment Advisor Charged (Mi. USA)

39-year-old John Benjamin III steals more than $1M from his elderly clients in real estate investment scheme.

By Elizabeth MacFarland
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and Sheriff Robert Pickell announced Thursday that 39-year-old John Benjamin III is being charged with 11 felony counts for stealing more than $1M from his elderly clients who had gone to him for tax preparation services.

Benjamin operated his late father's business, John Benjamin Income Tax and Financial Services in Flint. From 2002 to 2005, Benjamin is being accused of persuading at least seven senior citizens of Mid-Michigan to invest their money in a real estate investment opportunity that, he promised, would return upwards of 22.5% on their investments. Authorities say the money invested was gambled away by Benjamin at casinos in the Detroit area.

Benjamin's case serves as a lesson to area senior citizens to stay alert when making financial decisions.

Elder abuse is on the rise and Diane Nims, Director with the Genesee County Elder Abuse Task Force says the poor economy is not helping.

Experts say, seniors can increase protection by staying open with family and friends and remembering to report any suspicious act they feel could be a threat.
You can contact the Genesee County Elder Abuse Task Force at (810) 762-4022


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July 17, 2008

Elder Abuse By In-Home Aids A Growing Problem (USA)

Date Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Elderly people who want to avoid nursing homes often employ in-home aids to help meet their day-to-day needs. However, in many cases, the in-home aid industry is unregulated, and advocates for the elderly say that this situation has led to a growing number of cases of elder abuse, neglect or fraud in which home caregivers take advantage of the elderly.
A district attorney in San Diego County, Calif. told The Wall Street Journal that he prosecuted at least 25 home caregivers in the past year, mostly for stealing from elderly clients. Another, from Lake County, Calif., told the Journal that about 80 percent of his office’s 74 prosecutions of elder abuse in the past year involved home aides.

In-home care has been touted as a way to keep older people happier and healthier, and at a lower cost, than they would be in a nursing home. According to The Wall Street Journal, it costs Medicaid program about $6,000 per person per year for home care, versus about $20,000 for care in a nursing home. About 1.6 million people are employed in home care, split about equally between those who provide basic health services, and those who provide housekeeping, cooking and nonmedical help.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in California, Florida, Connecticut and at least 19 other states, nonmedical aides don’t have to be licensed or pass a criminal background check to get a job. In other states where employment agencies are required to do some type of checks, applicants with criminal records can slip through the cracks, some research has found.

Consumers seeking in-home help for an elderly loved should ask an employment agency exactly what a prospective caregiver has been screened for, and require at a minimum a state police criminal background check. Those hiring on their own can also request a background check from state police, and references should always be checked.

SOURCE: News Inferno

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July 16, 2008

Elder Abuse: Largely a Hidden Problem (New Zealand)

Claims of hidden elder abuse
By JANIE SMITH - Central Leader
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

CLOSED: The Belhaven Rest Home, which was closed down last week by the Auckland District Health Board.

Elder abuse is in the national spotlight after the closure of an Epsom resthome, but those working on the frontline say it’s still a largely hidden problem.
The Auckland District Health Board closed Belhaven Rest Home last Friday, after an investigation prompted by a resident being gagged with medical tape.
A 60-year-old resthome worker was arrested and will appear in the Auckland District Court this week, charged with common assault.

Age Concern Auckland’s elder abuse and neglect prevention coordinator Emsie Walters says despite the publicity, elder abuse is a hidden problem.

Ms Walters gets about 38 new referrals relating to elder abuse each year from a range of sources.
"It can be from the victims, family members, neighbours, police, family violence agencies and other professionals."



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Elder Abuse: A mental Infirmity Defense (PA. USA)

Attorney: Woman was on horse pain relievers
Frances A. Donahue might raise a mental infirmity defense in charges of abusing her in-law.
Daily Record/Sunday News

Article Last Updated: 07/15/2008 07:46:48 AM EDT

Frances Ann Donohue cannot be held accountable for the alleged elder abuse death of her mother-in-law because of her major depression, self-absorption and abuse of "bute," a pain reliever for horses, her attorney said.
Donohue, 61, and her husband, William J. Donohue, 73, both charged with first- and third-degree murder and criminal conspiracy, are scheduled for jury trial beginning Aug. 11 in York County Common Pleas Court.
They are accused of neglecting 87-year-old Bernadette Leiben, William Donohue's mother, to the extent the bed-ridden woman died from multiple infections in May 2004.
The York County District Attorney's Office says the Airville couple murdered Leiben for her estate, which included a share of properties sold in Maryland, her Social Security benefits and the $5,600 in her bank account.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Barker said the Donohues removed Leiben from a long-term rehabilitation facility in Maryland in March 2002 "against medical advice" and emptied her checking account.

He said they sequestered the elderly woman in a home they bought in Fawn Township. When emergency personnel responded to the residence after Leiben died, they noted the woman had multiple bedsores, infected ulcerations and maggots in two sores on her right arm.
Attorney Thomas L. Kearney III has filed a "notice of possible mental infirmity defense" on behalf of Frances Donohue.

According to Kearney's filing, between Feb. 24, 2004, and May 20, 2004,
"and thereafter," Frances Donohue was suffering from: "a major depressive episode," "narcissistic personality traits" and "medication abuse" and "as such was incapable of forming the criminal intent for first-degree murder."

The Donohues remain in York County Prison without bail.

The Donohues are scheduled for jury selection in the York County Judicial Center Aug. 11.



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July 14, 2008

Elder Care: Time to Evaluate (Canada)

It's time to re-evaluate how we care for elders
Tom Carney, Special To North Shore News
Published: Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's been almost a year since we learned about the abuse of seniors at the Beacon Hill Villa, a Victoria care home for fragile seniors.

Health inspection reports cited more than a dozen abuse and neglect cases in the past five years at the Beacon Hill Villa.

Media coverage of those problems drew more complaints about other care homes, prompting the opposition to call for an independent review of all seniors care facilities in BC. That didn't happen and the issue seemed to fade away.

That all changed last month when the Vancouver Sun got a hold of the inspection reports on seniors facilities for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal since 2003. According to those records a total of 23,632 serious incidents have occurred at long term facilities in the region during that time. Reports from Cedarview Lodge, Lynn Valley Lodge, Sunrise of Lynn Valley, Capilano Care Centre, Hollyburn House and the Inglewood Care Centre are featured in the Sun story. All six North Shore care facilities are rated as low risk but readers may be surprised at the number of incidents recorded at those sites. You can access this information yourself at http://www.vancouversun.com/care.

Our record of caring for vulnerable people in institutions in this country is appalling -- so much so that I believe we need to change the model for providing care to those who need our help. We know that one in eight seniors is abused and a new study from Simon Fraser University confirms that the abuse of seniors in institutions is systemic and national in scope.
© North Shore News 2008

SOURCE: NorthShore News

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Elder Financial Abuse: Key Elements to Combat Financial Abuse

ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE - Seven Key Elements to Combat Financial Abuse
Posted on July 10, 2008

Elder financial abuse has existed for as long as elders have owned property and money. This article will discuss seven key elements to identify and combat elder financial abuse, and to recover what was wrongfully taken.

Key # 1: Age
In California, an “elder” is defined as someone 65 years of age or older. Age is an important factor because an “elder” is entitled to the remedies provided under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, known as “EADACPA”.

Key # 2: Mental Capacity
Probate Code 811 provides a list of mental categories that a psychologist or medical doctor can use to assess an elder’s mental capacity. When you read this statute, you might think that you’d need a Master’s Degree in order to pass this “test”. It covers such assessments as logical thinking, analytical ability, and memory. However, a poor score in any one category does not warrant a determination that the elder lacks sufficient mental capacity.

Key # 3: Identifying Elder Financial Abuse — Undue Influence
First of all, not all “influence” is undue. A wife of 40 years certainly “influences” her husband, and vice versa. There is nothing inherently wrong with this type of influence.
The type of influence that is “undue” takes place when one person takes advantage of another’s weaker state of mind. There are statutes and numerous cases that provide both definitions and factual backgrounds to illustrate various scenarios when such undue influence was used to manipulate and coerce an elder into unknowingly parting with their property and money.

Key # 4: Combating Elder Financial Abuse — EADACPA
The EADACPA statutes, under the Welfare & Institutions Code, provide nearly every remedy under the sun. Interestingly, EADACPA was enacted to provide an incentive for lawyers to take on elder abuse cases.

Key # 5: Common types of elder financial abuse
Elder abuse occurs in a myriad of ways. Somewhat ironically, the majority of perpetrators are the ones to whom the elder often devoted his/her life to: their children.
Financial powers of attorney are a classic form of financial abuse. Given this document, the “agent” can perform any financial transaction that the elder could, including mortgaging or selling the home and withdrawing money from bank accounts. Placed into the wrong hands, this document can become a “license to steal”.

Key # 6: Civil and Criminal Litigation

Key # 7: Recovery of property & money

SOURCE: Legal News Relately

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July 13, 2008

Philosophy on Elder Care Needs Overhaul (Canada)

Philosophy on elderly care needs overhaul: expert
Posted 7 days ago

Ontario should look to the example set by Nordic countries and turn its understaffed, institutional long-term care homes, where residents are more likely to be restrained and medicated, into small community homes where staff have the time to drink coffee with their elderly charges, geriatric experts say.

In the wake of an analysis of nursing home inspection reports by The Canadian Press which found three-quarters of the province's homes are not meeting some of the province's 400 standards, some say it's time to fundamentally rethink how Ontario cares for its vulnerable residents.

The provincial inspection reports, from April 2007 to March of this year, show some long-term care homes have been cited for failing to provide a minimum of two baths a week while other residents didn't own a toothbrush.

The majority of homes in Ontario were cited for violating the specific set of standards that ensure residents are well-fed, clean and free of pain, as well as dictating how homes care for incontinent residents and when they use restraints.
Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin said he is preparing to launch an investigation into whether the governing Liberals are holding homes to account and is calling for people to share their experiences of long-term care homes.

But geriatric expert Christopher Patterson said virtually all societies have been guilty of neglecting their elderly parents and grandparents, a trend his research suggests has not wavered since the Renaissance.
"The 'family' rather than the 'hospital' is the ideal of residential care," she added. "The more generous funding and staffing levels make a difference."
Alan Findlay, spokesman for new Health Minister David Caplan, said the minister wasn't available to comment on how Ontario's long-term care homes compare to other jurisdictions.
York University professor Pat Armstrong, who co-authored a study comparing the Nordic system with several Canadian provinces, including Ontario, said workers in this country laugh when asked if they have a daily coffee with their residents.

Instead, she said they talk about not having time to explain to residents why they have to go back to their room, not being able to sit with residents when they are crying, or not allowing residents to even thoroughly chew their food.
Ontario's health-care system seems permeated by an attitude that if you can't cure people you simply abandon or "warehouse" them, she said.

SOURCE: The Whig
Every society needs to rethink the ways their seniors are treated. Politicians should consider whether they or their loved ones should be treated the same way as those in nursing homes.

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Guarding Your Estate in the 21st Century (USA)

Where the Looters and the Poachers Stalk Prey: Guarding Your Estate in the 21st Century
By Lou Ann Anderson
July 11, 2008

"The 'Greatest Generation' is the greatest generation to exploit." This quote by Chayo Reyes, a retired LAPD Specialist in Elder Fraud, from a new DVD entitled Saving Our Parents appropriately depicts increasing yet often unreported activities targeting today's elderly and their families. The assets of older Americans are being looted via actions in which probate instruments such as powers of attorney, wills, trusts or guardianships are used to gain control of property. These actions evolve into an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) as ultimate financial resource distribution becomes contrary to the asset owner's intentions.

Family members are sometimes IRA perpetrators, but non-family individuals can come into an older person's life with equally damaging results. It can be a pre-meditated effort or an "opportunity knocks" act. And don't ever think the elderly don't exploit each other! A senior woman with no money, an inflated sense of entitlement and a life expectancy of another 10+ years can easily become a financial predator. The exploited elderly person may not understand (or live to see) the actual IRA action instead leaving honest, responsible people in the target's life to deal with the aftermath and even become secondary targets – especially if they are heirs/beneficiaries for whom assets are rightfully designated and/or are obstacles to an IRA practitioner's ultimate success. Expensive, prolonged legal entanglements as well as intimidation and harassment are common tools used to pressure heirs/beneficiaries to cede rights of inheritance if outright looting is not easily accomplishable.

Because the pool of those willing to exploit the elderly is endless, it is important to be aware of places and venues where today's predators search for potential victims. The list might be surprising, but remember: the guise of community respectability, professional credibility, even enhanced morality or religiosity can be important entry points into the life of a predator's next mark. With that, here is our list of where the looters and the poachers stalk prey:

  • Senior centers
  • Government-sponsored lectures (especially through departments/agencies specializing in eldercare, aging)
  • Civic groups (Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.)
  • Churches, synagogues
  • Retirement communities, homeowners' associations
  • Support groups (church-sponsored and otherwise)
  • Medical facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities
  • Estate planning seminars, sales presentations (beware "free food" ploys)
  • Consultations with "professionals" (lawyers, caregivers, accountants, social workers, etc.)
  • Any places that cater to an older clientele (gyms, dance clubs, libraries, restaurants, etc.)

Anecdotal evidence tells of probate judges attending meetings at senior centers and other community venues ostensibly providing seniors with "prepare now for future needs" information. A forum apparently frequented by individuals with Connecticut probate experience depicts a system in which public officials troll for prospective cases to meet the challenge of operating in a state with numerous probate courts constantly vying for justification of their court's existence. And though Connecticut residents may experience more visible aggression in these pursuits, similar reports are heard across the country.

Meetings sponsored by anyone - government agencies, churches, civic groups, support groups, whoever – can be beneficial for those looking to poach property of the unsuspecting. An IRA practitioner might be the featured speaker or he/she might be in the audience looking to "befriend" unsuspecting marks. Gatherings put on by seemingly respectable organizations can be viewed as safe havens fostering greater trust and openness to those with whom personal contact is made – a point well known to poachers-on-the-prowl. Support groups can be especially rich in potential targets as the group's commonality (grief, caregivers, divorce, etc.) may increase their emotionalism and vulnerability – another point not lost on IRA stalkers.

A 2005 Los Angeles Times series entitled Guardians for Profit said "Conservators find clients by sponsoring breakfasts at senior centers and networking at legal luncheons. Nursing homes call when residents become too addled to pay the rent, wanting a conservator to write checks for them. Hospitals call when patients have outlasted their insurance, hoping that a conservator will move them somewhere else." Conservators, also known as guardians, use probate procedures to gain control over an individual's personal liberty and property. Though the Times articles focus on California, these cases are not uncommon elsewhere.
Stories regarding Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) cases within Florida's probate system were detailed by the St. Petersburg Times in a 1994 Pulitzer prize-winning series called Final Indignities. And though published nearly 15 years ago, the same stories are heard today – from Florida and most every other state.

IRA predators are a fact of today's life. Due to the wealth transfer getting ready to occur in the next 20 or so years, Involuntary Redistribution of Assets actions will likely skyrocket. People think proper estate planning will protect them – wrong! People think they don't have enough assets to be a target – wrong!! There is no inoculation from the threat of IRA. There is no avoidance of being a potential target. This information is not offered as a broad-based indictment of all organizations and entities, but awareness should exist on the part of those hosting and attending community events. Knowledge of today's predatory landscape and recognition of the places haunted by asset looters and property poachers will provide an upper hand. And as forewarned is forearmed - stay alert!

Lou Ann Anderson is producer of The Lynn Woolley Show, a Texas-based talk radio program. She also is an advocate working to create awareness regarding the Texas probate system and its surrounding culture. Lou Ann may be contacted at info@EstateofDenial.com.

Many thanks to Lou Ann for yet another insightful article on this issue.


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July 12, 2008

Nursing Home Deaths to be Investigated (NSW Australia)

Police not told of nursing home deaths

By Alexandra Smith and Les Kennedy
July 12, 2008

THE deaths of 10 elderly people in three weeks at a Blue Mountains nursing home last month were not reported to police or the State Coroner's special investigations unit, NSW police said last night.
It was incumbent on any medical practitioner treating patients at a nursing home to report a death, police said, if there were any other deaths that might be related.

"We have checked with the crime manager for the Blue Mountains Command and he has checked their records for the past month and there are no reported deaths to police from any nursing home … at Springwood," a police spokesman said last night.

Police are expected to begin an investigation today into a report by the Health Department, which broke the news of 10 deaths at Endeavour Nursing Home, Springwood.
The department played down suggestions the deaths were caused by gastroenteritis but said it would investigate again.

The NSW Food Authority inspected the home and found no obvious breach of protocols, the statement said. NSW Health said a panel had been convened to help the investigation. The nursing home had appointed an officer to monitor staff and food handling.

The NSW Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association last night called for an investigation by the State Coroner.
The association's policy co-ordinator, Paul Versteege, said NSW Health and the federal Minister for Ageing needed to explain how it could be presumed that the 10 deaths had nothing to do with bacterial infection after bacteria was detected in residents after two gastroenteritis outbreaks.


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Financial Elder Abuse and Scam: Watsonville Woman Under Investigation

Watsonville woman suspected in $66K elder abuse scheme, separate loan refinancing scam
By Jennifer Squires - Sentinel Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/12/2008 01:32:13 AM PDT

A Watsonville woman under investigation in Monterey County for allegedly duping dozens of defaulting homeowners out of thousands of dollars has been jailed in Santa Cruz County for unrelated grand theft charges.

Melissa Dawn Garcia, 27, has pleaded not guilty to one count of elder financial abuse and one count of forgery in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.
Garcia, whose profession was listed as "loan officer" in the County Jail log, allegedly convinced a 76-year-old Salinas woman to invest tens of thousands of dollars through Garcia, according to prosecutor Bill Atkinson.

In a separate investigation in Monterey County, Garcia is suspected of targeting Salinas Valley residents in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure, Gonzales police said last month. They allege she took thousands of dollars from more than 40 victims in a bogus refinancing scam by telling them she could get them new home loans on more favorable terms, according to police. She asked the hand over $2,500 to $2,800 in "good faith" money, police said.

In court Friday, Garcia's attorney asked Judge Jeff Almquist to release her again. The request was denied and Garcia is being held in County Jail on $150,000 bail. She returns to court in early August for a preliminary hearing.
She faces four years in state prison.

SOURCE: Mercury News

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Senior Protection Bill Now Law (Ca. USA)

Published: Last Updated Thursday, July 10, 2008 10:30 PM PDT

A bill that sailed through the state Senate and Assembly that will protect seniors from financial abuse has been signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The legislation, SB 1164, authored by state Sen. Jack Scott, gives investigative auditors of the Department of Justice the power to serve search warrants on financial institutions, Internet service providers and telecommunication companies to help expedite investigations of elder financial abuse, he said.

“The California Department of Justice estimates thousands of seniors are the victims of financial abuse every year, and the problem threatens to grow worse as the graying population increases,” Scott said in a statement. “With this bill, we’re moving one step closer to putting these con artists out of business.”

Current law warrants that justice department investigators must be accompanied by special agents if they suspect fraud has been perpetrated against a senior citizen. Scott’s legislation would eliminate the duplicative effort, “speed up the process and save an estimated $80,000 annually,” his office said.

The bill’s passage was never in doubt, from introduction in March to Schwarzenegger’s signing on July 8. It was unanimously passed by the Assembly on June 26 and the Senate on April 17.
SB 1164 will go into effect on Jan. 1

SOURCE: Glendale Newspress

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Woman Arrested in Parents' Abuse (Ca. USA)

Woman arrested in parents' abuse
By The Record
July 11, 2008 6:00 AM

A 40-year-old Modesto woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of physically abusing her north San Joaquin County parents.

San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies arrested Yvonne Deann Allison and booked her into the County Jail on suspicion of physical elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury to a person older than 70, physical elder abuse, violating a restraining order and making terrorist threats.

No details of the alleged abuse were released other than it apparently occurred at a North Pearl Road home. Pearl Road is just south of the Sacramento County line.

Deputies earlier in the week were investigating the allegedly ongoing physical abuse and learned that Allison was at a court-appointed recovery center for women in the Modesto area, according to a sheriff's report.

Deputies made several attempts to contact Allison and learned she was at a home in the 1100 block of West Roseburg Avenue. She was outside the residence when deputies arrived and was arrested without incident.

She is being held in lieu of $656,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court today in Lodi.

SOURCE: Record Net

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July 11, 2008

Elder Care: Rest-Home Residents Have to Go Today (New Zealand)

Rest home residents have to go today
5:00AM Friday July 11, 2008
By Alanah May Eriksen and Craig Borley

Residents of disgraced rest home Belhaven, where an elderly woman's mouth was taped shut, will have to move out by today.
The Auckland District Health Board announced yesterday that it had stripped the Epsom facility of its contract because of huge failings in patient care.
Age Concern has criticised the "unseemly haste" in removing the residents at only 24 hours' notice.

The decision was based on a draft Ministry of Health report and on recommendations of a temporary manager appointed by the DHB last week after a picture of the gagged woman - taken by a tradesman - was published in a Sunday newspaper.

DHB chief planning and funding officer Denis Jury said the manager made daily reports to the health board on the running of the rest home.

Belhaven lacked quality management systems, was unable to ensure clinical and social support for residents and had weak ongoing cleaning and food systems in place.
"In terms of having systems in process to ensure quality and safety and an appropriate standard of care for the residents, the gap between where they are now and where they need to be is big," Dr Jury said.

"We don't think that can be bridged by the current owners in an appropriate time frame.

A geriatrician was also sent to the rest home to assess each resident. One man had to be admitted to hospital overnight and did not return to Belhaven as he required a level of care it was unable to provide.

Findings from a separate ministry investigation are due to be released in a few days. A report will decide if Belhaven is allowed to continue operating.

But Age Concern chief executive Ann Martin said a "managed transition out of Belhaven" would have been better for everyone.

"The safety of vulnerable older people is a paramount concern. Age Concern works to combat elder abuse wherever it occurs and we welcome moves, however belated, to keep the Belhaven residents safe.

"However, it might be far better for the vulnerable senior residents to be kept safe in the place they regard as their home, and their carers given additional assistance and oversight, rather than moved with such unseemly haste."

Health Minister David Cunliffe said the mouth-taping incident was not the sole basis of the DHB's decision - an unannounced ministry inspection last week threw up further problems at Belhaven.


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Killer of 65-Year-Old Man Gets 19 Years (Australia)

Keys-in-throat killer gets 19 years
Posted 11 July 11, 2008

A man who bashed his 65-year-old neighbour and forced a set of house keys down his throat has been sentenced to almost 19 years in jail.

Forty-four-year-old Michael Barbetta pleaded guilty to murdering David Smedley on the NSW south coast in March last year.

The court heard Barbetta took a cocktail of amphetamines and sleeping pills before bashing and strangling Mr Smedley at his Fairymeadow home.
Police said the victim, who had Parkinson's disease, was found covered in blood. An autopsy found six keys on a metal ring had been forced down his throat.
Barbetta said he attacked his neighbour because he had made racist comments about his parents.

A Supreme Court judge sentenced Barbetta to 18-years-and-10-months, with a non-parole period of 13-years-and-nine-months.

Justice Howie said although the racist comments provided a degree of provocation, it was a violent attack on a fragile man in his own home by a much younger person.
He noted that Michael Barbetta has tried to get help for his drug problem.


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Elder Abuse: Caregiver Gets Two Years for Theft (Oregon, USA)

Caregiver gets two years for theft

Sting - Quanecka Shaquaya Thompson admits stealing from a Cedar Mill resident
Thursday, July 10, 2008
By COREY PAUL The Oregonian

HILLSBORO -- A caregiver at a Cedar Mill assisted living facility was sentenced Wednesday to 25 months in prison after stealing about $500 from an 83-year-old resident.

Quanecka Shaquaya Thompson, 23, pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal mistreatment and two felony counts of burglary.

Thompson had worked at the Regency Park assisted living facility on Southwest Barnes Road for at least six months before her arrest May 14, said Sgt. David Thompson, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

One of the burglary charges was enhanced because the victim, Mina Garrison, was in the apartment at the same time as a theft occurred, said Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton, who is on the Elder Abuse Team, which specializes in these types of cases.

"We put her in a position where if she does this again, the judge will have a lot of flexibility to impose a large amount of prison time against her," Barton said.

Washington County Presiding Judge Thomas W. Kohl ordered Thompson to pay $1,900 in restitution to the resident, for stolen cash and jewelry that remain missing.

Kohl recommended that Quanecka Thompson have no contact with Garrison or any nursing homes during three years of probation after her release from prison.

Thompson, who previously had no criminal record, declined to speak in court Wednesday.

SOURCE: Oregon Live


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Man Arrested for Elder Abuse (Ca. USA)

Man arrested for elder abuse
Published: Jul 10 2008, 11:06 AM

Arcata Police officers arrested 18-year-old Aaron Lowe, of Arcata, for suspicion of elder abuse Wednesday.

A care provider for a 79-year-old woman contacted officers Wednesday about an incident where Lowe, a relative, allegedly struck her the day before, causing moderate injury, an Arcata Police Department news release stated.

Lowe was arrested and is currently in custody at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.
The case has been forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and Humboldt County Adult Protective Services.

SOURCE: Eureka Reporter


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Financial Elder Abuse: Canadian Seniors Lose $6 Million Annually

Canadian Seniors Lose $6 Million Annually to Fraudulent Marketing and Financial Scams

TORONTO, July 10 /CNW Telbec/ -
According to the most recent data from SeniorBusters, thousands of elderly Canadians are victimized by financial fraud each year. Mail, telephone and online scams have left many seniors with significant monetary losses, often depleting their life-savings. Capital One Canada has joined forces with SeniorBusters to raise awareness about the
prevalence of these crimes and help educate and protect seniors from fraud.

"Education and helping to build a heightened awareness about these kinds
of crimes is critical to protecting older citizens in our communities and
preventing fraud," said Pam Girardo, spokesperson for Capital One Canada. "We
are delighted to see that we have helped SeniorBusters expand their efforts to
educate seniors about the real dangers lurking in their own communities. We
hope this knowledge will empower seniors and prevent them from falling victim
to these predators."

Fraudsters are increasingly innovative, employing a broad range of scams to rip-off seniors. Identity theft topped the list in 2007 with a reported $6,421,952 lost, followed by the "Nigerian Letter" scam (where a fictitious high-ranking person in a foreign country tries to enlist help moving a large sum of money out of their country into the victim's bank account) which claimed $4,935,030, investment scams, which accounted for an additional $3,553,320 lost, and scams offering phony prizes, which generated losses of $3,506,289.

Capital One Canada also offers tips for seniors to help guard against
identity theft and fraud:

- Don't be afraid to say 'no'.
- Be careful when you speak to telemarketers - hang up if you feel
uncomfortable or do not trust the caller.
- Don't give in to high-pressure sales tactics.
- Don't reveal your credit card, bank account or Social Insurance Numbers
to unfamiliar companies or people.
- Do your own research on charities and other solicitors.
- It is your money - never be afraid to ask where it is going.
- Get details of all deals in writing and never sign contracts that have
blank lines or spaces in them.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you suspect or know you are a victim of fraudulent scams (including:
telemarketing fraud, advanced fee fraud, and identity theft) contact your
local police service, report fraud online through www.recol.ca or call The
Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (formerly PhoneBusters) at 1-888-4....

For a copy of Capital One's Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity
Theft, visit http://www.capitalone.ca/fraud.

SOURCE: NewsWire Canada

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How to Prevent Scammers Targeting Seniors

Scammers target older residents
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

- Bulletin Staff Writer

Many con artists and scammers consider older people to be the “perfect victims” for their crimes, a state official told local seniors on Tuesday.

Jennifer Aulgur, director of the TRIAD and Citizen Outreach program at the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, cited several reasons for that.

Older people who are lonely because they have no friends or relatives nearby may reach out to anyone who is friendly with them, not realizing that someone is trying to swindle them, said Aulgur.

Seniors may not realize that they should call the police — or they might be embarrassed to call — if anyone tries to defraud them, Aulgur said.

Also, among swindlers, “there is a perception that all seniors have a ton of money” in their retirement years, she said.

Aulgur was the keynote speaker for “Who Has Their Hands in Grandma’s Wallet?” The program, sponsored by King’s Grant and held at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, covered frauds and scams affecting seniors.

A frequent scam she discussed pertains to home improvements.

Aulgur said shady contractors will come to a house, tell the resident that they have materials left over from another job they have done in the neighborhood, such as painting or driveway paving, and offer to do work at that home if the person pays them cash on the spot.

People should not do business with a contractor without having a contract, Aulgur said. The contract should specify all work to be done — as well as any guarantees and promises made by the contractor — in writing, she said.

To find out if contractors are licensed or have complaints lodged against them, call the Virginia Board for Contractors at (804) 367-8511 or the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs at (800) 552-9963.

People using the Internet to buy products and services should use credit cards, not debit cards, because “there is greater recourse if something goes wrong,” Aulgur said. For instance, credit card purchases are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, and it could be easier to get your money back if a person gets the card number and makes fraudulent purchases with it.

Credit card, checking account and Social Security numbers should not be given, either by phone or the Internet, to anyone soliciting business whose true identity cannot be easily determined, Aulgur pointed out.

When doing business on the Internet, she said, do not give such information unless the Web site is secure and reputable. The site is secure if it has either a yellow lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a Web address that begins with “https:” — the “s” stands for secure.

Other tips she gave for preventing identity theft include:

• Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call, and shred documents to be discarded containing such information.

• Take Social Security numbers off your checks if possible, and write checks with ink that cannot be washed off the check. Pens with such “indelible” ink can be bought at many department stores and office supply retailers.

• Mail bills either at the post office or from blue postal boxes around town. Never put bills in your mailbox at home because thieves may rummage through the box, according to Aulgur.

• Check credit reports for free each year by calling (877) 322-8228 or going online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

• Immediately report evidence of identity theft to financial institutions.

The TRIAD and Citizen’s Outreach program is designed to protect Virginia’s older residents from negative forces such as crime, according to Bill Garrett, executive director at King’s Grant.

Aulgur said that seniors are welcome to call her at (804) 786-9516 if they have needs for which they think she can be of assistance.

SOURCE: Martinsville Bulletin


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July 10, 2008

Safety Tips to Prevent and Recognise Elder Abuse (USA)

Safety Tips to Prevent and Recognize Elder Abuse

Elder crimes have risen drastically across the nation. Senior abuse, senior neglect and crimes against the elderly have even caused some states to create a specific division to prosecute such crimes. Many senior victims are actually hurt by those they know. It is important for communities to stay knowledgeable about the signs to look for to determine if elder abuse is occurring, whether an abused senior is in a nursing home or not. To learn more about this growing problem which in recent years has lead to a flood of nursing home lawsuits click here.

SOURCE: Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Blog

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County Focusing on Crimes Against Seniors (Montgomery County, USA)

Special prosecutor assigned to tackle growing number of cases involving victimized seniors.

By Lou Grieco
Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

DAYTON — The Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office will now have a prosecutor assigned specifically to pursue criminals who victimize the elderly.

Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. announced the forming of the Adult Protection Unit on Tuesday, July 8, at the Ellison Senior Citizen Center, 2412 W. Third St.
More than 2.1 million elderly Americans are the victims of neglect, physical or psychological abuse each year, Heck said.

About 90 percent of them are victimized by people they know. Roughly two-thirds are the victims' adult children or spouses, Heck said.

But for every reported case, Heck said, there are five more that are unreported, usually because the victims are ashamed or fearful of further retribution.
"The public is just not aware of it," Heck said.

Assistant county prosecutor Jennifer Heapy is assigned to the unit. Heapy said she expects to prosecute different types of cases, from assaults to financial crimes.
She will also do outreach and preventative education for seniors and those who provide services to them. She will conduct some training for EMTs and police officers on what signs to look for.
"Elder abuse is where domestic violence was 10 years ago," Heapy said. "So many of these cases go unreported."

For more information about the Adult Protection Unit, contact the prosecutor's office at 225-5757.

SOURCE: Dayton Daily News

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Elder Care: Neighbours Campaigned for Extra Care (UK)

Veteran thanks neighbours for wife's care campaign

A Nottinghamshire RAF veteran who faced separation from his wife after more than 60 years of marriage has thanked his neighbours for their help in campaigning for her to be looked after at home.
Stanley Cooke, 84, feared his wife Joyce would have to move into a nursing home after she suffered a stroke at their home in Brinsley.
Mr Cooke has spent the past eight years caring for his 82-year-old wife, who suffers from dementia, with the help of only one carer.

But after Mrs Cooke suffered a stroke last week, Nottinghamshire County Council told him he needed two carers to visit three times a day.

Social workers said the extra help was not available immediately and suggested Mrs Cooke move in to a nursing home while the situation was resolved.
But Mr Cooke, who has not spent one night apart from his wife in 24 years, feared the move could become permanent.

Fellow villagers launched a campaign on his behalf. Armed with placards, they travelled to protest outside the council's social services offices.

Now the authority has found the extra staff needed to care for Mrs Cooke at home.
Mr Cooke, a retired brick-layer, said: "We have been married 62 years so Joyce wouldn't have lasted. It's all about love; 62 years of love. It's not a modern thing nowadays to spend a long time with someone.
"He added: "Of course I thank my neighbours. I have lived in the village 84 years and know most of the people here. I have done a lot myself. That's how it works in the village. You can always rely on help from someone."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2008, All Rights Reserve

SOURCE: WorksopGuardianUK

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