The Case That Prompted this Blog
February 29, 2008
In nervous times, at least you can rely on your nearest and dearest. Mary Wilson talks to families who have chosen to live on the same development as each other
Return of the extended family.
As the recent Daily Telegraph series on the "Coping Classes" showed, the sandwich generation - those caring for both young children and ageing parents - is coming up with ever more ingenious ways of making life easier. Many are joining forces under one roof, with all the potential pluses and minuses that entails, but there is another solution, and one which guarantees privacy for everyone.
In London and the Home Counties, where the high cost of property adds another pressure for the Coping Classes, 3G (three- generation) families are choosing to live not only in the same county or the same village, but in the same development.
Abridged Article - SOURCE: theTelegraphUK
Wow! What an interesting concept. Often in trying to highlight elder abuse cases, we forget about "the sandwich-generation". It is heart-warming to see that some of those in the "sandwich-generation" are coming up with such initiatives. Congratulations. You guys are inspirations for others.
By Kirk Matthews
It may be difficult to imagine, but elder abuse is a very real crime. That's why the prosecutor's office has established a special team for these kinds of cases.
It's quite possible Joseph Joyce will be prosecuted by the Elder Abuse/Elder Justice unit of the prosecutor's office. He's charged with trying to throw a 62 year old security guard out a 26th floor window. Because the victim is over sixty, the special unit will handle the case. That alleged crime is obvious - but many cases of elder abuse are never revealed.
"You hear of maybe an adult child having custody or having power of attorney over a bank account. That adult child might get into trouble, either gambling problems, drug addiction, something like that to where they start taking money from the parent, therefore leaving the parent high and dry later on," said Spallina.
Spallina says the prosecutors special elder abuse unit will be taking those cases on as well.
Truckee Police arrested Terry Gunder, 55, in late October after receiving reports that he had assaulted his mother, said Sgt. Dan Johnston in a news release.However, Gunder pleaded not guilty to the charges in December, claiming his mother, Shirley A. Monchamp, suffered from a mental condition due to the amount of medication she was taking, Gunder said.
Gunder’s defense attorney, Treva Hern of Reno, said not only were charges dropped because of Monchamp’s medical condition, but also because of a lack of evidence supporting the case.
“This has been really difficult on me, and I’m not that type of person,” Gunder said. “I’m sorry if I caused anybody any grief or skepticism about my character.”
This is an example of how we should be very careful in accusing someone of elder abuse.
By George Chappell
Thursday, February 28, 2008 - Bangor Daily News
Front-line workers with the elderly attended a training session Wednesday on mandated reporting of elder abuse.
Knox County TRIAD sponsored the training session at Bartlett House to update providers regarding state regulations on mandated reporting.
Jonathan Powers of Knox County 911 and Anthony Camporiale of the Rockland Police Department presented talks and a power point display on "Elder Abuse Defined and Statutes."
"Older adults who are abused or mistreated are three times more likely to die within the next decade than the same age adults who are not mistreated," Powers told the 25 people gathered for the session.
A U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging found that 84 percent of all elder abuse cases are never reported, Powers said. Approximately 13,000 seniors are abused each year in Maine.
"It’s a very under-reported problem," he said.
Powers analyzed five kinds of elder abuse as physical, neglect, sexual and stalking, financial exploitation and emotional. Emotional abuse is the only category not covered by statute in Maine.
State law defines victims of elder abuse as those who are 60 or over, primarily female, although 33 percent are male, and who fall into all racial, ethnic, socio-economic and religious backgrounds.
Elder abuse occurs out of greed or a desire for power or control.
About 60 percent of the abusers are family members, Powers said.
Common excuses by abusers are that "it’s normal," illness, the victim’s behavior or fault, and caregiver stress. Abuse is a crime, Powers pointed out.
The mandatory reporting law says that any other person who has assumed full, intermittent or occasional responsibility for the care or custody of the adult, must report.
Abridged Article. Please go to SOURCE: bangorNews
Main Category: Seniors / Aging
Article Date: 27 Feb 2008 - 4:00 PST
Denying services on the basis of age "unacceptable" Responding to reports that an 88-year-old Devon man is paying up to £10,000 for treatment to save the sight in his right eye because the local NHS has refused to pay, David Sinclair, Head of Policy at Help the Aged said: 'All too often, older people must resign themselves to a poorer standard of health care than their younger counterparts, simply because they are older.
Frequently, this is the result of age discrimination. 'Some of the most vulnerable people in our society are forced to endure higher levels of pain than is necessary, or poorer standards of health generally, because of the assumption that these are just part and parcel of getting older. 'Older people have a right to receive equal treatment and opportunity in all aspects of life. 'Denying people equal access to services on the basis of their age is simply unacceptable.'Notes Help the Aged is currently campaigning to secure a change in the law to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Please visit here information about 'Just Equal Treatment'. Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England.
Visit http://www.rightcare.org.uk/ Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life. Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect. Visit http://www.helptheaged.org.uk/Help the Aged
UK visitors - Please visit the Links above or those listed in the sidebar on this site. These organizations are doing a great deal in highlighting the plight of the vulnerable seniors in UK. There are also campaigns that you may want to participate in.
Sunday Times April 4, 1999
Report by BRAEMA MATHI
About four in five have obtained orders compelling their children to support them in the last three years.
MORE than 400 elderly people have sought the aid of the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents since it was set up three years ago.
Of the 424 applicants, 328 or almost four in five were successful in getting orders compelling their children to support them. The rest were dismissed or withdrawn, the tribunal told the Sunday Times.
About two out of three who applied were Chinese. Indians made up at least 14 per cent, and Malays at least 9 per cent. The tribunal's secretary, Mrs Sue Kim Lee, said in an interview that there were more fathers than mothers among the applicants.
"I think it is because mothers tend to get more support from their children than fathers," she said.
Most applicants, she said, were single parents -- widowers, widows or divorcees.
The Maintenance of Parents Act came into force in 1995 to give parents above 60 years old who could not support themselves the legal means to claim maintenance from their children.
In 1996, its first year, 152 filed applications with the tribunal, which is at the Ministry of Community Development building in Thomson Road. The number fell to 138 in 1997 and dipped to 134 last year. As at the end of last year, 357 people have been ordered to pay monthly sums of between $10 and $1,500 to their parents. Because the monthly payments can come from more than one child, applicants receive between $20 and $2700 a month.
The tribunal, headed by former Judicial Commissioner K.S. Rajah, sets what each child pays. It looks at each child's average income, his circumstances, the parent's monthly needs and the parent-child relationship.
If the children are in financial difficulties and cannot make the payments, they can ask the tribunal to review the order.
It reviewed 39 cases in 1997, and 63 last year, as the economic crisis bit deeper.
But not all its decisions go smoothly. While maintenance orders have averaged about 100 a year, the number of enforcement orders taken out has gone from 24 in 1997 to 59 last year. A Family Court mediator, Madam Samsiah Mizah, said that often, the children had become unemployed or were too busy to pay promptly.
Parents, she added, usually wait longer than the one-month grace period before applying for an enforcement order.
She said mediation sessions between parents and children are "less volatile" than those between ex-spouses.
"In these cases there is no shouting, no quarrelling in front of us -- the children do not raise their voices against their parents in front of strangers, and parents, too, maintain their dignity."
Mediation usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Most times, she said, the solution is simply getting people to pick up the telephone to tell their parents that payment will be late.
As they are not on good terms, they may be unwilling to call or may not have the parent's number.
Madam Samsiah said: "If they could just pick up the phone and explain why payment is going to be late, they won't have to come to court. Their parents just want to know what's happening.
"They will then be talking to each other, instead of through the mediator."
(The following is part of an article from BBC UK on the same issue)
Wednesday, 5 August, 1998
In a state where it's a crime to sell chewing gum, urinate in a lift or busk without a license, it might seem there's not much left to pass laws about. But now the government is extending its reach right into the family home.
With an ethos combining rigorous economic self-sufficiency and time-honoured family values, Singapore is now the only state in the world to legally oblige grown-up children to care for their parents. Under the Maintenance of Parents Act, passed last year, old people who can't support themselves can actually sue for cash and care from their children; and so far, the courts have been squarely on the elders' side. For some, it's a rare victory for the rights of the elderly, but others feel the state has finally gone too far by intruding on the delicate relationships between children and their parents.
It is interesting to look at how India and Singapore tackle the problem of aged care. The debate on whether the government should provide more care for the seniors continues. More on this issue will be posted in the near future.
Tom Carney, North Shore News
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2008
What do you think about a law that says you must look after your parents or you'll go to jail?
Parliament in India has just passed a law stipulating a fine or three months in jail for children who neglect their parents. The law applies to adults whose parents are aged over 60.
That's right, in India, neglecting or abandoning mom or dad, or your elderly relatives will land you in the slammer. Roving maintenance tribunals have been set up to adjudicate cases and they render their verdict on the spot. And to deal with those pesky lawyers there is no appeal
There are 80 million elderly citizens in India and that number is expected to increase to 173 million by 2026. Apparently, the rapid economic development in India is breaking down family traditions. Elderly people are increasingly being regarded in India as a burden and are being abandoned. Some reports suggest that almost 30 percent of India's elderly are subject to some force of abuse or neglect by their families.
India is not alone here but they are the first country that I am aware of that has chosen to pass laws to protect the elderly. The act is called the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Seniors Citizens Bill 2007. India already had laws whereby parents could claim maintenance from their children but the procedure was too time consuming and slow.
Here's another wrinkle, if the elderly aren't taken care of after gifting property or other assets to their children, they get it all back. And, in a move which gives new meaning to the term, the long arm of the law, the legislation applies to all Indian citizens, including those living abroad. When I mention this legislation to seniors here, many of them think I'm joking. I'm not. One senior, whose son and family are living in his basement, suggested tongue and cheek that in B.C. the legislation should be reversed so that seniors could finally "cut their adult children loose."
The legislation in India had only one dissenter, a parliamentarian who claimed the government should have a policy for the old and aged. The legislation does provide for the state to set up old age homes for the elderly although this is seen only as a last resort to care for the poor and the childless. We won't see this kind of legislation in Canada. Here, the responsibility for those who are unable to care for themselves falls to charity or to the state. In India, and in many other parts of the world, care for the elderly is still the responsibility of the family.
Members of the Indian legislature lamented the fact that parliament had to protect the elderly and provide for their maintenance. This isn't just a concern in India. Old age is becoming a "problem" for all societies.
We're going to need to pay more attention to the care and protection of older persons regardless of where they live. At a recent meeting of senior service providers a newly appointed coordinator at a local senior's agency said that she was shocked at the number of seniors on the North Shore who are living alone and either have no family or have no contact with their family. Sadly, more and more seniors, here and around the world, will find themselves in that circumstance, often lacking physical, emotional and financial support.
The world is becoming a smaller place and that's not always a good thing.
SOURCE: northshoreNews (Canada)
Older people's quality of life undeniably depends on their surroundings. That is why the environment of nursing homes is crucial. This report delineates the good practices that caregivers should use with elderly people in nursing homes, both in daily life situations and in case of emergency problems. Respecting and listening are the key tools for caregivers.
SOURCE: globalaging.org (report in French. pdf)
February 28, 2008
Posted By Joyce Cassin - Cobourg Police
The Northumberland Elder Abuse Response Network is undertaking a new initiative in Ontario with Girl Guides and Pathfinders of Northumberland County - “Seniors Safety and Security Badge”.
On Monday, March 3., the Cobourg Guides will participate in an interactive learning session to teach youth that they can play a role in helping older people stay safe. This will take place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 200 King Street West in Cobourg, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Network has partnered with the Girl Guides and local police services to host this intergenerational program on ageism and elder abuse and other issues of seniors’ safety. Jessica Clarke, Manager of Campbellford Memorial Multicare Lodge said that based on the success of this program in Manitoba, they decided to deliver this program locally.
"The badge project is a wonderful opportunity to heighten awareness among youth of the issue and fosters concern for the safety and well-being of older people," said
Constable Terry Stanley, Cobourg Police and member of the Network.
Teaching youth they can play a role in helping older people stay safe and giving them the opportunity to explore their own attitudes toward aging develops an increased respect for seniors," says Jessica Clarke. "The Girl Guides who completed the required criteria for the program will be presented with their new ‘Safety & Security Badge’, making them the third group of Guides to receive these honours in Ontario."
What a fantastic initiative! Intergeneration programs that work towards elder abuse awareness and anti-ageism, should be incorporated in education of the younger generation. The youth of today should be steered away from the "ME" culture. They are intelligent and should see that it is a basic human right issue for seniors to expect a life in safety and dignity. Surely, the youth of today can figure out that that is what they would want for themselves or for their loved ones.
Furthermore, many seniors are still able to contribute to their community, by way of volunteer work or just baby-sitting for family members. Their wealth of knowledge and experience should be seen as a positive contribution.
Senator wants hard-hitting TV ad campaign
By Norma Greenaway, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, February 11, 2008
Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton says she has sought cabinet approval of about $13 million to finance a national education campaign -- complete with hard-hitting television ads -- to shatter the silence that has allowed elder abuse to remain largely hidden for too long.
Ms. LeBreton, the minister responsible for seniors, says the three-year funding proposal flows from recommendations made in the first report of the government-appointed National Seniors Council, which, among other things, called on the federal government to take the lead in developing and implementing a far-reaching information effort to help people spot such abuse and report it.
"I have made my pitch, and now we're waiting to see if we have the budget for it," Ms. LeBreton said in an interview.
Ms. LeBreton, who is also government leader in the Senate, won't have long to wait. The budget is expected during the last week of February. But even if the proposal makes Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's cut, there is a growing expectation that the budget will not survive a confidence test in the Commons and the country will be plunged into an election campaign by early next month.
The senator envisions ads reminiscent of a gripping campaign launched by the Ontario government in 1994 to raise awareness about spousal abuse. The ads contained graphic scenes of men striking their partners and the message that all people have a responsibility to speak out about domestic violence.
Ms. LeBreton said the campaign provided important information to victims of domestic abuse about how to cope. "They knew where to turn for help and how they could get out of the house and into a safe environment, halfway houses and so on."
Her proposal calls for television and radio ads, as well as printed materials, a 1-800 number and community outreach initiatives that would be designed to help health workers and others who work with seniors, as well as the family and friends of seniors, to spot abuse and know what to do when they find it. The mistreatment can range from financial and physical to emotional and psychological.
Ms. LeBreton said it's difficult to get an accurate picture of the depth of the problem because so few seniors are willing to speak out. The best estimate is that between four and 10 per cent of seniors reported some abuse, based on 2002 data, she said.
The reasons for the data gap are myriad. Shame. Fear. A sense of isolation. And a reluctance to create friction in the family.
Several provinces are already actively tackling the elder abuse problem, but the National Seniors Council said the federal government should step up to the plate to enhance national awareness and promote information-sharing and research on the subject.
The council's next assignment is to recommend specific measures to help low-income seniors, most of whom are women, after conducting a round of public hearings in all regions of Canada.
Law proposed in response to care facility
Regulators make return visits to Legacy Gardens
By Kathryn Fiegen Iowa City Press-Citizen
State regulators have returned to an Iowa City care facility three times since an April 2007 investigation that detailed cases of elder abuse and neglect, but the records from the visits will remain secret because of a state law enacted three years ago.
Dave Werning, spokes-man for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said the agency went to Legacy Gardens, 15 Silvercrest Place, in June 2007 to investigate a new complaint. They returned in August to again address the June complaint and a third time in November to investigate a new complaint and revisit the issues of prior visits.
But, Werning said, the company that owns Legacy Gardens, Dial Senior Management in Omaha, Neb., has appealed every action by the agency and has successfully petitioned to have a hearing before an administrative law judge in August -- more than a year after the first complaint was generated.
Legislation prevents state regulators from releasing the report findings until all appeals have been finalized, he said.
Dial Senior Management President Ted Lowndes said in a letter that's as it should be.
"There have been statements in the print media of the public's right to know about allegations of regulatory violations against a health care program. But what is missing in the article is the recognition of due process that is afforded under the United States Constitution and the Iowa Constitution," he wrote in a letter dated Friday. "In many instances, there is a balance between the 'public's right to know' and not ruining a person's or entity's professional reputation related to inaccurate, unsubstantiated and baseless accusations."
Werning said the department's "hands were tied."
"This is information people need to know," he said.
An April investigation found 33 code violations at Legacy Gardens, including a staff member with a criminal history slapping a tenant on the hand multiple times and holding his/her arms behind her back; a staff member twisting a resident's arm while going back to his/her apartment while the resident yelled "help, help"; and, another tenant wore the same adult incontinence product for three to five days in January.
The facility was fined and ordered not to admit new residents for 60 days after the investigation was finalized in July. Werning said he couldn't disclose if sanctions remain on the facility, but said, "If you'd walk into the lobby and see the certificate, it'd still say 'conditional' on it."
Three weeks ago, the Department of Inspections and Appeals introduced new legislation that would greatly reduce the waiting time before records are made public, Werning said. The proposed legislation came as a direct result of Legacy's actions, he said.
"It reduces it down to probably a maximum two months before it's disclosable," he said, adding that the new policy would bring assisted living facilities more in line with nursing homes. Nursing home investigation records are made public before the appeals process is exhausted, but the reports are marked to note that the agency's findings are under appeal.
Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, said Legacy was abusing legislation that was enacted three years ago to keep assisted living records secret until "due process was followed."
Jacoby helped sponsor the amendment that said the records would be kept confidential during appeals.
"There was never any intent to block access to the records," he said. "The intent was to make sure we have accurate records for public access."
Jacoby said there was a good chance the issue could come up in the Legislature this year because there is already discussion about the way the DIA levies fines on nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
"We need to take a look at everything across the board," he said.
In the meantime, it could still be years before the Legacy records are released, Werning said. Even if the department wins its case before a judge this summer, Dial could appeal that decision in district court and keep appealing all the way up to Iowa's Supreme Court.
"It could be years down the road," he said.
Although agency inspections aren't available, police records show that problems exist at Legacy Gardens.
According to police, on Jan. 31, Legacy staff member Tina Marshall was working with an 85-year-old female patient when both became agitated, the report said. The patient spit at Marshall, after which she said, "Don't spit at me," and backhanded the woman.
Online court records show Marshall pleaded not guilty to an assault charge that resulted from the incident.
In an phone interview Thursday, Lowndes said Marshall, who was given a criminal background check and properly trained when she was hired, was fired. Lowndes said the incident was "isolated."
He said the facility immediately called police, the Department of Human Services and the DIA, as well as notified family members of the situation.
"We took it upon ourselves to self-report," Lowdnes said.
Lowdnes said he didn't want to discuss the facility's appeals process and emphasized that the company maintains clear communication with its families no matter what legislation says.
Kelly Lamb, a family caregiver and counseling specialist at Elder Services in Iowa City, said
Evening News, Edinburgh
February 15, 2008
It is a sad fact that a large proportion of Scotland's population will die before their time through years of deprivation and an unhealthy lifestyle. But enough will live until a ripe old age to pose new challenges for the health and welfare systems.
The latest Government statistics predict that while the number of people of working age will increase by only 200,000 between now and 2031, the number of pensioners could rise by a staggering 31 per cent to around 1.29 million.
Much is being done through public health education to raise life expectancy in the worst areas and to allow more people to become self-sufficient in their twilight years. But the reality is that age will catch up and most will have little choice but to seek help.
To date there are 33,000 elderly people in Scotland's care homes of which 29,000 have their bills met by the state. Were it not for free personal care at home introduced in 2002 this figure would be far higher.But this service comes at a price to local authorities. While Edinburgh has been criticised for taking 37 days against a national average of only 20 to process care requests, the city says that meeting its obligations under the free personal care scheme has cost city taxpayers £34 million since its launch.
But while it is easy to become bogged down in figures, the victims of any failures in the system are the elderly themselves and the wrangle over the future residents at Cockenzie House Nursing Home emphasises this only too clearly.
The owners of the home want to close it because they do not wish to spend the money needed to bring the premises up to the standard required by the Care Commission. East Lothian Council initially offered to step in and buy the premises but the deal appears to have fallen through as its valuation does not appear to match that of the owner. The council says it can find alternative accommodation for 22 residents, but that leaves 20 in limbo with only a month before the home is due to close.
It is a shocking state of affairs that such vulnerable people find themselves caught up in such a scenario.
Although there is no statistical evidence that mortality rates increase among those exposed to the trauma of moving to unfamiliar surroundings, there is general acceptance that this is true if transfers are badly handled.To end their uncertainty, a solution needs to be found soon. The elderly are real people, not commodities, and should not be treated as such.
By Rosa Prince, Daily Telegraph
February 15, 2008
Age Concern is proposing new local projects to enhance social contact for over-80s who live alone
More than a million elderly people are being ignored by the Government and local authorities, and for many, services have got worse since Labour came to power, a new report claims today.
One in five over-80s are suffering from severe social exclusion, cut off from other people and largely neglected by the state, according to the charity Age Concern.
The research, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, accuses ministers of ignoring the elderly's concerns when deciding how to provide services like personal care in the home.
It found that more than a third of women over 80 and nearly half of men who live alone say they are lonely, while a quarter have significant memory problems.
The charity says that as people get older they can end up without things that most people take for granted, such as a decent home, regular company, stimulating activity and access to local services.
In some areas, Age Concern claims, there is now less help in the form of public services for older people than when Labour came to power in 1997.
In particular, the report points to a lack of personal care in the home for people with mild disabilities.Gordon Lishman, Age Concern's director general, said: "It is often said that we should judge the society we live in by the way we treat older people. How we treat the most excluded older people is even more of a litmus test and one that, sadly, the Government is currently failing."Without stronger ministerial leadership, and a significant change in the mindset of policymakers and service-providers, more than a million severely excluded older people will continue to suffer in silence.
"One woman interviewed for the report, Doreen, said: "I can go for a whole week and not speak to anyone at all in person - things are at their worse when you get poorly. No-one's there and no-one cares if you're ill.
"Rodney, another interviewee said: "No-one wants to know you if you've got nothing. This loneliness is a killer. It's worse than the fear I had of being bombed in London during the war.
"Age Concern proposes new local projects to enhance social contact for over-80s who live alone and improved support services for the recently bereaved.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinates Government policies on social exclusion, said: "Since 1997 we have succeeded in lifting over a million pensioners out of poverty.
"We want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income, and a pensioner is now less likely to be in poverty than a person of working age. We are taking action across government to address the problems faced by older people, including policies to promote greater independence and wellbeing."
We often hear government officials or ministers quoting figures and things they have done since in government. This seems to be the case all over the world. Surely, the success or failure of any social services must be judged by the recipients. "Playing their own violins-approach" is not the way to quiet the complaints of the public.
British Broadcasting Corporation UK
February 14, 2008
Wales could see a shortage of care home staff if Filipino workers are deported under new laws, an MP has warned.Home Office regulations, aimed at better qualifications and pay, say staff must earn an hourly wage of at least £7.02 to gain work permits.
But care homes say they cannot afford to pay that much - so families could have to leave Wales and return to the Philippines.
Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, is calling for action.
He said in his constituency there were around 150 Filipino people who had come to the UK legally, many of whom worked in the care sector.
Across the UK, there are up to 10,000 care workers from the Philippines.
He said they were brought to Britain to fill a labour shortage and there was "alarm and concern" throughout the care sector in west Wales that a core part of their workforce would be forced to leave."In recent years many care homes have come to rely on Filipino labour for the backbone and the core of their workforce," said the Conservative MP."And now with this new uncertainty about the future of these employees, a lot of managers of care homes have told me that they're very concerned about where they're going to find new staff."
He was due to meet with his constituent, Flora Domagas, a senior care worker and qualified midwife, who came to Wales in 2003 on a two year work permit.After her initial permit was extended, her husband and their three children followed her and they settled in Haverfordwest.DonationsThe couple have since had another child and say they integrated into the local community.Mrs Domagas worked at a private nursing home for around £5.60 an hour but has been out of a job since her work permit extension was refused in May last year.Mrs Domagas, who is appealing the decision and training for an NVQ3 qualification, said her family have been devastated by the thought of deportation."The children especially, they were very upset when they heard my situation."The family is now being helped by donations from local people.
They say they - and many like them - have nothing left to go home to in the Philippines.
Manning Lagrosas, who runs a support group for the local Filipino community, said: "In the course of coming over, being interviewed there, being hired from the Philippines, they were being asked to shell out £5,000 just to pay the agency fee.
"They sell houses and they sell properties just to pay this agency fee, just to get the job here. They have nowhere to go.
"The Home Office announced last year that it had brought in the new regulations, which prioritise EU residents.They stipulated workers should be better qualified and paid more.
Government removes disincentives to work
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
By Gord McIntosh
Ottawa’s 2008-09 budget included three measures designed for older workers.
Among them, the budget removes disincentives to work for seniors by raising the current guaranteed income supplement earned income exemption to $3,500 from the current maximum of $500.
This year’s budget will also top up an existing program to help older Canadians stay in the work force.
In October 2006, Ottawa invested $70 million over two years in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, a federal-provincial program providing a range of employment activities for workers aged 55 to 64. Now the initiative is getting another $90 million over three years to extend the program until March 2012.
Last month, Ottawa created an expert panel to study labour market conditions affecting older workers and report back on ways to help them adjust. The government will be responding to this report in 2008.
The federal budget also included another $13 million over three years to protect seniors against abuse. The money will be used to help seniors and others recognize the signs of elder abuse and provide information on what can be done about it.
Last year’s federal budget committed $25 million to $35 million a year to address, among other things, safety and security of seniors and work with seniors’ organizations to promote awareness and reduce elder abuse.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office is expected to authorize a felony warrant charging a nurse’s aide with abusing an elderly couple in their home.
The incident occurred Saturday in Muskegon Township.
Prosecutor Tony Tague said today that the 6-6, 220-pound aide urinated on an 81-year-old woman’s face. When her husband, also 81, told him to stop, the aide picked up a bottle of liquid and threatened to pour it over the man’s head.
The night before, during his regular shift, the aide threw food items around the kitchen for no apparent reason. He returned Saturday morning to clean up the mess but then allegedly abused the couple, a polic report said.
The aide was arrested Saturday at his Laketon Township home for assault and battery, a misdemeanor, and posted bond after being taken to the Muskegon County Jail.
February 27, 2008
Feb 25 2008 Exclusive by Annie Brown
RUTHLESS salesmen who pressure the elderly and infirm in to buying overpriced therapy beds have seen their company go bust.
AppA UK Ltd went in to compulsory liquidation after the Record exposed the lies and brutal techniques the sales teams use on vulnerable customers.
Company director Graham Hutchinson financed a millionaire lifestyle by selling the beds at seven times their cost price.
Sales teams were taught to exploit the elderly's fear of illness to flog them beds.
Parents of terminally ill children and people with learning difficulties were also given the hard sell.
But after complaints from across the UK, North Ayrshire Trading Standards recovered nearly £40,000 for consumers.
AppA were supplied by Palatine, a bed manufacturer owned by Newcastle City Council and managed partly by their social services team. More than half of their workforce have a disability.
The beds were bought by AppA for as little as £587, shipped up to their headquarters in Stevenston, Ayrshire, then sold for £4000.
Palatine are a highly reputable company who sell the same bed in their public showroom in Newcastle for £800.
They do not use any sales pressure on their customers. Following our expose in November 2005, Hutchinson sued the Daily Record for defamation, preventing us from going in to further detail about his company.
But last month, he was forced to abandon his case.
The taxman is also chasing AppA for £260,000 in unpaid taxes.
While dozens of his workers now face the dole, Hutchinson lives in a £500,000 home in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, drives a Ferrari and sails a racing yacht.
Following our investigation, the Office of Fair Trading questioned the company's credit licence. Ray Hall, director of markets and projects at the OFT, said: "We do not condone business practices of this kind - particularly when vulnerable consumers are involved."
Sales boss Donald MacPherson boasted that he sold credit to one lady of 92.
Another customer was jobless Alfred McCurdie, who only had £220 a month to live on and £60 of it was going on repayments for his AppA bed.
Alfred, 43, who has learning difficulties, bought an adjustable "therapy" bed for more than £3000.
The credit agreement would have cost more than £700 in interest alone.
But after the revelations in the Record, Alfred's GP wrote to credit company Clydesdale Financial Services to say he had been in no fit mental state to sign an agreement and the debt was written off.
We also heard how AppA sold a £3000 bed to a stroke victim with memory loss and spent three hours trying to persuade a heartbroken couple to buy a £4000 bed for their terminally ill little girl.
Several customers had their debts cleared after Trading Standards established they were not capable of committing to a finance agreement.
Our reporter had joined a six-day training course for bed "demonstrators" - not sales staff - at AppA's HQ in Stevenston.
Afterwards, they would be able to earn up to £1000 commission on a bed. Our reporter heard sales boss MacPherson telling a class of trainees to prey on the fears of old people and to convince them the beds would dramatically boost circulation.
He said: "They are not frightened of death. They are frightened of losing their independence."
He told our investigator: "If you can't sell one of these beds to a diabetic, you should be put up against the wall and f***ing shot."
And he said no customer was too poor to buy the bed and to pursue a sale no matter how many times someone said no.
No one from AppA was available for comment.
Did you know?
• Elder abuse reports are up more than 150 percent in the last 10 years.
• Elder abuse is one of the most under recognized and under reported crimes.
• Nationally only 1 in 14 cases reported
• In California only 1 in 5 cases reported
• The extent that economic crimes affect the senior community and the actual number of dollars involved are widely unknown due to:
• Lack of reporting (embarrassment, shame)
• Family dynamic
• Lack of action taken (Civil vs. Criminal)
• Death Warning signs of elder abuse may be happening to someone you know
• People who appear “too” interested in their finances
• Concerned/confused about “missing” funds
• Unable to remember financial transactions
• Fearful of eviction or abandonment by caregiver
• Isolated from family, friends, or other support groups — Accompanied by:
• A stranger who encourages frequent or large cash withdrawals • Family member or other person who coerces them to make transactions
• Not allowed to speak for themselves or make decisions
• Appears nervous/afraid of person accompanying them
What is Financial Abuse?
• Financial elder abuse is generally defined as the improper use of a senior’s funds‚ property or assets.
• SB 1018 states that “suspected financial abuse” occurs when a bank employee observes behavior or transactions that would lead a person with similar training to form a reasonable belief that an elder is the victim of financial elder abuse.
Source: San Bernardino County
Witnesses told investigators that Majewski became angry with the victim when she would not let Majewski make breakfast. Majewski allegedly bent the victims fingers back with enough force to cause one of the victims fingers to break. Although the victim has received medical treatment, she continues to experience pain and the finger shows signs of injury. The abuse was reported to the Attorney Generals Office through the Patient Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Program.Majewski, 27, has since been fired from the hospital. She is charged with one count of battery of an elderly person, a third-degree felony. In addition to a potential five-year prison sentence, Majewski could receive up to $10,000 in fines. The case is being prosecuted by the State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County.
It has become a commonplace problem to every advocate for the elderly or those with diminished abilities. Agents using powers of attorney take financial advantage of the person who gave them the power of attorney, and sometimes cause more than just financial problems. Think your family will protect you from this kind of abuse? Think again—sadly, family members are the most frequent abusers.
The problem has now been noticed by the mainstream news outlets. Newspapers as diverse as the Wall Street Journal, which reported extensively on the Brooke Astor case, and the (Nampa) Idaho Press-Tribune. [Note that the Wall Street Journal will require you to sign up and pay for content, but you can read the Journal's suggestions about how to protect against power of attorney abuse at the paper's own site once you have subscribed, or take advantage of a Florida law firm's reprint of the article.] The problem may not really be as new as it appears: a 1994 report by Jonathan Federman and Margaret Z. Reed for the Albany Law School Government Law Center indicates that some observers were publicly calling for revisions in the law of powers of attorney more than a decade ago.
Perhaps those of us laboring in aging vineyards (metaphorically speaking) become unnecessarily cynical about the behavior of others. Perhaps, on the other hand, there is truly an epidemic of abuse and exploitation at the hands of family members, friends and even professionals holding a power of attorney. We are universally inclined to think the latter is more accurate, though there are few studies or statistics to support that widely-held view.
What is to be done about the problem? It is not sufficient to simply stop using powers of attorney. In fact, most elder law attorneys, while warning their clients about the dangers, regularly recommend powers of attorney to clients who want to avoid the expense, indignity and inconvenience of court supervision if and when incapacity strikes. Changes in state laws are mostly unhelpful. Arizona, for example, adopted new provisions requiring witnesses to powers of attorney, and limiting the authority of agents to make gifts with the signer’s money. No one even suggests that the frequency of abuse has slowed even a tiny amount as a result of those changes.
One thing that might help slow the trend would be aggressive investigation and prosecution of agents who misuse their powers of attorney. Too often, however, the authorities dismiss exploitation as a “family matter,” or as something that ought to be pursued in civil litigation, or as too expensive to ferret out and too difficult to prove in a criminal prosecution.
It is all very well to say (as the law does in most states) that the agent may not use a power of attorney for his or her own benefit. Civil recovery against an exploiter is seldom available, since it is so often committed by individuals without sufficient financial resources to pay their own bills (or support their gambling, drug or alcohol habits). Agents who have abused powers of attorney seldom have the wherewithal to repay misappropriated funds.
So what can an individual do to minimize the risk? A few suggestions might include careful selection of your agent, regular review of that choice, and requiring accountings to be given to another trusted family member or friend. Individuals need to consider carefully before signing any power of attorney.
What can you do to minimize the risk of abuse before you sign a power of attorney? A few ideas we encourage:
- Mandate that your agent provide periodic (probably annual) accountings to you and, if you are incapacitated or your capacity is challenged, to another individual who can watch out for your interests.
- Choose your agent(s) carefully. That should go without saying, of course, but we are surprised how often clients select a child as agent, and then later let us know that child is a chronic alcoholic, or gambler, or is simply poor at handling money.
- Regularly review your choice. Just because your daughter is an accountant or banker with no apparent vices today does not mean that she will seem like such a good choice in five years. Your power of attorney probably will last a lifetime, but your agent may not be the best choice for as long as that.
- Limit your agent's power appropriately. Worried about the likelihood that your agent might charge an exorbitant fee, or make gifts to himself (or his immediate family)? Make sure your power of attorney prohibits either. Of course, the power to make gifts is often desirable for estate or long-term care planning purposes -- but don't simply grant broad authority to make gifts without thinking through the consequences.
- Authorize someone (perhaps your successor agent) to demand accountings and details from your agent. Make absolutely certain that person knows she has the power, and understands how and when to use it.
Is a living trust better protection for you? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Just as with a power of attorney, one of the principal benefits of a living trust is avoidance of court supervision of your fiduciary. That's the good news. Sadly, it's also the bad news. Without oversight, no one in the court system will be charged with keeping your agent -- or your trustee -- honest.
The bottom line is this: the durable power of attorney is simultaneously the most important and the most dangerous estate planning document most of our clients will sign. You should do what you can to make this terrifically valuable instrument work the way it is intended.
This is an important issue. Many cases of abuse of Power of Attorney in elder abuse cases remain "Unreported". The abusers are often adult children of the victims. As such, the victims oftentimes do not want to prosecute or even to report the cases. Why? Shame and a "sense of resignation" is often the reason. Even when a case is reported, the abusers often "get away" without any punishment. Is there a law against "inaction" by the person(s) given the POA? I mean, inaction that led to the emotional, psychological and even financial abuse of a senior. Read the case of Frank Punito. The victim is now without the family he cared so much for; because his abusers were his own adult children.
It means they will have no control over how their estate is split among their family when they die. The distribution will be determined by law and loved ones could be left disappointed.
Rows over wills by celebrities such as top tenor Luciano Pavarotti, highlight the problems if wills are out of date or last wishes are not clear.
And the estates of those who die with no will or family may pass to the Crown, Duchy of Lancaster or even the Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles.
Now Age Concern’s new Legal Services arm has launched a will-writing service for older people.
A spokesman says: “In the past will-writing services may have been less accessible for older people without a trusted provider catering to their needs. We hope to change this.”
Age Concern offer wills from £85, with any profit going to the charity.
See ageconcern.org.uk, call 0845 685 1076 or visit your local branch of the charity.
February 26, 2008
CARL O'BRIEN, Social Affairs Correspondent
MANY PUBLIC care facilities will need to be upgraded or redeveloped in order to comply with new regulations for nursing homes to be published shortly.
The standards, approved yesterday by the Health Information Quality Authority, will cover public facilities for older people for the first time.
They are understood to set out more than 30 requirements regarding the care and welfare of residents such as mandatory levels of training for staff and individual care plans for all nursing home residents. Other requirements relate to minimum bedroom sizes, en-suite facilities and limits on numbers of patients per ward.
A team of up to 90 inspectors from the authority will enforce the new standards which are expected to come into force later this year.
However, there is concern among health authority officials over the scale of modifications for older public nursing homes needed to meet the new requirements.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has commissioned an audit of all its community units to identify facilities which will not comply with the new standards. Officials will then decide whether they should be refurbished or replaced entirely.
In particular there is concern over a number of publicly-run facilities in Dublin such as St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park, which is the largest public long-stay institution for older people. The 320-bed hospital has several large wards in a complex of buildings, parts of which were built well over a century ago.
A spokesman for the HSE confirmed that a major capital investment programme will be needed to either modernise or replace unsuitable buildings. He said the health authorities were waiting for the new regulations to be signed into law before deciding on a timeframe for the upgrading programme.
It is understood that the new standards will give all existing nursing homes up to five years to meet requirements relating to the physical environment. Other requirements relating to care and welfare will come into force immediately after they are signed into law.
The authority's chief inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate said that she expected major improvements would be needed, but emphasised that the quality of life for residents was the priority.
"There will need to be upgrading work done ... but some institutional lay-outs can be used in creative ways, while there are new places where residents could be bored silly. What we're most interested in is the quality of life for residents," she said.
Nursing Homes Ireland, the main representative group for nursing homes in Ireland, says it too expects some older homes will be affected, although on a much smaller scale.
The new standards signed off by the board of the health authority yesterday will cover all public, private and voluntary care settings where older people are cared for.
Nursing homes will be required to meet these standards in order to be registered. While those in breach of the standards may be registered with conditions, those who repeatedly fail to meet the grade may be closed down.
The new code covers various areas including the personal dignity of residents, social relationships and activities, healthcare, health and safety and staffing.
Among the standards contained in a draft document include a requirement that a minimum of 50 per cent of care staff have relevant further education; that each resident be allowed to choose meals and meal times; and requirements over heating and ventilation.
The new standards are part of a wider reform of the care system for older people, including a new financing arrangement known as the "fair deal." It will replace the current nursing home subvention scheme and will include levying charges on the estates of older people after their death.
However, ongoing legal difficulties over the plan means it is likely to be delayed until the summer, according to government sources.
Great news! Let us see how long it will take for the new rules come into force.
Posted : Mon, 25 Feb 2008 19:02:18 GMT
Author : AARP Illinois
CHICAGO--The following is a statement by Bob Gallo, State Director, AARP Illinois:
With the introduction of his proposed budget last week, Governor Blagojevich took important steps aimed at helping thousands of older Illinoisans by increasing funding for several important programs that allow seniors to live independently in their own homes, and avoid costly facility placement among other critical long term care services.
This budget proposal represents an investment in the community alternatives that are necessary to help older adults live independently. Increased access to long term care services means that a growing number of Illinois seniors will be able to live independently and have access to programs and opportunities designed to improve their quality of life.
AARP commends the Governor for addressing several key issues in his proposal:
-- Community Care Program: $117 million increase will help older adults, who might otherwise need nursing home care, to remain in their own homes by providing home and community-based services; also raises the rates paid to workers providing essential Home Care and Adult Day Services.
-- Elder Abuse and Neglect Program: $1 million increase will enhance the State's ability to respond to reports of alleged abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of older residents, and provide investigation, intervention and other services to abuse victims.
-- Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: $450,000 in new money will expand the scope of programs protecting and promoting the rights of individuals living in long-term care facilities.
-- Electronic Health Records: $10 million to help make health care records available electronically, moving health services to be more cost-effective by eliminating excess paperwork, reducing duplicative testing and ultimately helping doctors to have better access to critical patient information, leading to fewer prescription and medication errors.
AARP looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to find bipartisan solutions to addressing Illinois long-term care system and making health care affordable and accessible.
Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson has welcomed the release of research into elder abuse and neglect by the Families Commission.
The findings of the report “Risk and Protective Factors associated with Elder Abuse and Neglect” are based in part on interviews with a small number of older people and contain recommendations to government to continue implementing the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, the Health of Older People Strategy and Family Violence Intervention Guidelines.
Ruth Dyson said international literature indicated that 3 to 10 per cent of older New Zealanders – between 15,000 and 50,000 people - are likely to experience physical, verbal, emotional or financial abuse.
"Empowering older people is the most effective tool in the response to abuse and neglect in later life and this is something the Labour-led government is committed to through the Positive Ageing Strategy.
"The Strategy aims to ensure that all New Zealanders are able to maintain active, fulfilling lives in their later years, and participate fully in our communities.
"Another of the ways in which the government is addressing elder abuse and neglect is through funding that is going into making sure that residential care workers and home-based carers are properly trained and supported.
"Neglect and abuse of the elderly is unacceptable. Older people in New Zealand should be fully involved in our communities and enjoying their later years, not suffering isolation or ill-treatment.
“Our Labour-led government has invested $1.37 million in funding for 26 Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention (EANP) services around the country, 24 of which are part-funded by the Ministry of Social Development and co-ordinated by Age Concern. An additional $1.086 million per annum has been invested in SAGES, a programme that links older mentors with people in need.” said Ruth Dyson.
The sustainable funding for community groups announced recently, worth $446 million over the next four years, will be available to groups running SAGES and EANP services. The government will provide full funding for their contracted services, automatic funding adjustments for volume increases and annual cost adjustment payments, build workforce and capability, and support them to work closely with other community groups to reduce duplication and focus on outcomes.
In addition the Labour-led government has reviewed the legislation relating to Enduring Power of Attorney and is developing a code of practice for home equity conversion schemes, to address concerns about financial abuse of elderly people.
Tue, 26 Feb 2008 08:14a.m
Isolation, poor health and having family members with mental health or substance abuse issues raise the risk of elder abuse, a Families Commission report says.
The study, released today, covers psychological, physical, sexual and financial abuse of the elderly.
This report gathers the views of a wide range of organisations, individuals and experts on how elder abuse and neglect occurs and what can be done to prevent it.
It includes interviews with 15 older people who had been abused and 22 who had not.
Researcher Kathy Peri said most victims researchers spoke to were left absolutely devastated by their treatment.
For those living with their abusers the situation was often intolerable.
The report says older people are less likely to be abused or neglected if they understand their rights, have a strong sense of their self worth and positive relationships with their families.
The study also looks at risk factors associated with residential care.
It finds that older people living in institutions with efficient and effective regulatory monitoring systems and policies, with well trained and well paid staff, are less likely to be neglected or abused.
However the situation was different in institutions struggling for staff.
One residential carer told researchers staff-patient ratios were often so poor she found it hard to provide adequate care.
"There is one nurse for 20 residents. We can not handle them as we would like. We just give them the pills."
Chief Families Commissioner Rajen Prasad said the study showed people needed to place greater value on the role of older people.
It also showed the need for better funding for services that respond to elder abuse and neglect.
The Commission is organising a European Conference on elder abuse and quality of long term care on Monday 17 March 2008 in Brussels, entitled “Protecting the dignity of older persons – the prevention of elder abuse and neglect”.
This conference will be an opportunity for policy makers and stakeholders across Europe to discuss the quality of care for the dependent older people, and to raise awareness of the issues linked to elder abuse. The conference will present information on elder abuse, look at the causes and risk factors related to it, and examine possible strategies for preventing ill-treatment. This open debate at the European level is timely, as the Commission is currently preparing a Communication on high quality elderly care and the prevention of elder abuse.
The event will take place in Brussels at the Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170. Interpretation will be provided in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Slovenian. To access information on the program and registration please click here
People, who wish to participate in the conference, can express their interest online. Participation is free of charge. However, participation will have to be confirmed by the European Commission depending on availability of places. The event can accommodate up to 400 people
AGE is actively involved in the preparation for this conference and is member of the Steering Group set up by the Commission.
AGE was set up in January 2001 following a process of discussion on how to improve and strengthen cooperation between older people’s organizations at EU level. Membership of AGE is open to European, national and regional organizations, and to both organizations of older people and organizations for older people. Organizations of older people will have the majority of votes in AGE’s decision-making bodies. Membership is open only to non-profit-making organizations. AGE is co-financed by its members and by the European Commission.
It would be interesting to see a report from this conference. There is very little information on Elder Abuse in European countries ( other than UK). It is as though there are no elder abuses cases in Europe. This is, of course, not true. It is an "embarrassing" issue that many countries in Europe appear to prefer the "silent treatment".
The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to analyze definitions of elder abuse in an Italian convenience sample. Fifty-three Italian participants (15 males, 38 females) provided examples of mild, moderate, and extreme mistreatment of older individuals by their adult children. Analyses were conducted to identify frequently mentioned types of abuse and to determine how severe they were judged to be. Also examined was the extent to which gender and age contributed to response patterns. Most examples of extreme elder abuse made reference to physical abuse and neglect, while references to psychological aggression and neglect predominated as examples of moderate and mild abuse. Examples of neglect appeared with equal frequency at all levels of severity, but physical aggression was mentioned primarily as a form of extreme abuse, and psychological aggression was mentioned more frequently in examples of moderate and mild abuse. The most frequently identified types of specific abuse were abandonment, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological neglect. When giving examples of extreme abuse, females mentioned more instances of financial exploitation than males. They also gave more examples of verbal aggression and lack of respect as instances of moderate abuse and behaviors reflecting power or control as examples of mild abuse. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between age and the number of examples given of particular types of mistreatment at each of the levels of severity of abuse.
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect:
An International Journal . . . the official journal of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Volume: 18 Issue: 2/3
It is very difficult to obtain information on elder abuse in Europe. This particular issue of the abovementioned journal is one of the few that I've come across. Perhaps some visitors to this site might be interested in getting the journal.
While two local Republican lawmakers just introduced two pieces of reasonable legislation this year, the chances of getting the bills past Democrat-controlled committees are slim. Such is the twisted partisan system we've inherited in the state capital which benefits parties more than people.
But regardless of the bills' potential for success, both SB 1259 by Sen. Bob Margett and AB 1999 by Assemblyman Anthony Adams create new tools for combatting a growing societal problem - elder abuse. At the very least, the bills warrant a wide discussion from law enforcement and retirees, if not serious consideration from our representatives in Sacramento from all parties.
When an elderly and mentally impaired San Mateo man's friend began to receive what the friend described as cash "gifts" totaling about $700,000 drawn from the elderly man's bank account, relatives cried foul and police launched and investigation. Ronald Leon Brock was found guilty in 2004 of theft against an elder, but that conviction was overturned in late 2006 when an appellate court judge ruled the district attorney's use of the term "undue influence" was unconstitutional in criminal cases (it is reserved for civil cases). Now, the California District Attorney's Association have teamed up with Margett, the veteran Republican out of Glendora, to make "theft by undue influence of an elder" a criminal offense.
Margett's approach could put the brakes on financial elder abuse, which takes the forms of scams as well as thefts from caretakers, friends or relatives. An expert on such crimes from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office calls elder abuse "the crime of the 21st Century," victimizing more than 2million elderly every year in the United States.
With the elderly a growing segment of the population, they are more likely to become victims of crimes. Losing one's life savings is a devastating loss for anyone, but one that could leave the elderly citizen with no shelter or health services when he or she needs it most and no way to recoup the money. We support giving district attorneys more tools to fight this crime and apply this difficult test to cases that merit it. Under SB 1259, the crime is a misdemeanor but could be raised to a felony, depending on the circumstances. It wisely leaves that decision up to the judgment of each prosecuting attorney.
Adams' AB 1999 would ensure that a gift from an elderly resident of a nursing home is on the up and up. It would require an ombudsman to oversee any cash or in-kind gift from a long-term care facility resident to a caretaker or CEO of that facility who may have a conflict of interest.
Again, the intent is to protect the assets of the elderly. This is a worthy bill that like Margett's, most definitely fits under the state's existing "elder abuse law," which exists to protect a growing segment of the state's population from becoming victims of crimes.
Many elder abuse cases are not prosecuted as they are still considered "civil matters". Some may even consider the abuse cases as "family dynamics". Come on! My experience with the Frank Punito case - It would have been easier to report a "cruelty to animal" case and get result, than to report an insidious elder abuse case by adult children.
Involuntarily discharging a resident is a grave matter. The elderly do not transplant well. Serious setbacks and even death may occur from what is known as "transfer trauma." There are only three acceptable reasons for asking a resident to leave: The facility can no longer meet the resident's needs, the resident or Medicaid has failed to pay the bill, or the resident is a danger to him/herself or to others. The burden of proof should always be on the facility to prove its case, which should be done at a proper hearing where legal assistance is provided for residents who cannot afford an attorney. Because there are good profits to be made and there is a lack of oversight, far too many unscrupulous characters go into this serious business. Taking up residence in an assisted living facility is not a choice for most people. They are there because they have needs that the facility has agreed to meet. When a resident or the family complain about needs that are not met as agreed, the facility all too often asks them to leave.
Threat of eviction has a chilling, silencing effect on families who usually have no other choice for placement. The usual laws of the marketplace do not apply to long-term care.
(Violette King is president of Nursing Home Monitors, a non-profit, all-volunteer advocacy group for nursing home safety.)
In our view, some of them were more interesting, or more instructive, or more enlightening, than the others. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite 2007 court cases (the ones that didn't make our weekly newsletter as separate reports):
Last year there were dozens of elder law cases decided in appellate courts across the country. Quite a few established important precedents, and taken together they marked a continuing growth in the importance of elder issues in the legal system.
Ellzey v. James, Mississippi Court of Appeals, November 20, 2007. Mr. Ellzey gave his longtime companion a deed to oil and mineral rights he owned, intending to hide them from the state Medicaid agency. Later he lost the unrecorded deed he had gotten her to sign returning the rights to him. He sued for return of the property, but the courts ruled that his admitted intent to defraud Medicaid prevented him from seeking equitable relief.
Bogert v. Morrison, Florida Court of Appeals, November 28, 2007. Mr. Morrison lived in New Jersey but was vacationing in Reno, Nevada, when he had an accident resulting in a head injury. He returned home with his partner, but his children invited him to Florida for a visit. While he was in Florida, they initiated a guardianship proceeding; his companion promptly filed a petition in New Jersey. The Florida court initially ruled that it had jurisdiction since the first case was filed there. The appellate court reversed after finding that ties to New Jersey were stronger.
The Morrison case was not the only interstate guardianship decision in 2007. The Florida Court of Appeals also rendered two separate opinions in connection with the guardianship of Betty Graham after one of her sons simply moved her to California in the middle of the Florida guardianship proceedings. We reported on those cases at the time they were released, including the odd turn the appellate court took in the second of the two appeals.
In the Matter of the Revocable Trust of Margolis, Minnesota Court of Appeals, May 22, 2007. After Naomi Margolis became incapacitated and had to move into a nursing home, her husband (who she had named as her trustee) used her funds to pay for her care. Her son argued that trust law prohibited a trustee from using trust assets to satisfy his own legal obligations, and that Ms. Margolis’ husband had a duty to pay for her care out of his own funds. The appellate court ultimately agreed and ordered the lower court to reconsider whether to award judgment against the trustee of up to more than $200,000. The Margolis case relies on an unusual state statute, but serves as a warning to spouses who act as trustee over an incapacitated spouse's assets.
Hall v. Time Warner, Inc., California Court of Appeals, August 2, 2007. After the television series Celebrity Justice sent a reporter and cameraman to interview Marlon Brando’s housekeeper in her nursing home, her family sued. Although the trial judge refused to dismiss the complaint, the appellate court ruled that Mr. Brando’s will and estate plan were legitimately a subject of public interest, and that the television program was exercising its First Amendment rights. The trial judge was ordered to conduct further hearings on whether the housekeeper would be likely to prevail on the merits at trial, and if not her complaints of trespass, intrusion upon seclusion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and elder abuse must be dismissed without a trial.
An issue that's often ignored or denied, a group met locally to raise awareness of a problem that's only expected to get worse.
by Jane Glenn Haas
Our TimeSpecial to the Register firstname.lastname@example.org
We don't think weak and dependent old people are worth much.
For every government dollar spent on child protective services training, only 4 cents is allotted for adult protective services programs.
We have federal laws to protect animals but no federal law against elder injustice; just "information" centers.
Elder abuse just isn't a table topic for most people, says Mary Twomey, head of the UCI Center for Excellence/Focus on Elder Abuse and Neglect.
Yet this abuse – which takes many devious and twisting forms – is increasingly common. Particularly at a time of economic stress.
What kind of elders are abused?
We like to imagine our elders as "sweet old ladies" or "old men who are bad drivers." Yet many are simply frail people totally dependent on someone who can care for them or rob them of their treasure and their dignity.
Geriatricians, psychologists, social workers and long-term care ombudsmen gathered in Newport Beach recently for the second international conference on finding ways to recognize – and stop – elder abuse.
The outcome was a call for Elder PEACE – Protection, Education, Advocacy, Collaboration, Eradication – a movement supporters hope will inspire a national audience. (For information, go to www.centeronelderabuse.org.)
"Absolutely," Twomey says. "But it's time. We have recognized the rights of children and of domestic violence victims to protection. As the elder population grows, we need to turn our attention to the victims of elder abuse."
And who are the abusers?
About 70 to 90 percent of all abusers are family members, says Dr. Laura Mosqueda, head of the UCI program.
So what does abuse look like?
Sometimes it looks like bruises on the body. Other times like a drugged and lethargic elder.
Most often, elder abuse look like an empty bank account, a stolen home, possessions suddenly gone missing.
Why are so few cases reported, so few abusers convicted?
Read "T is for Trespass," the latest in the Kinsey Millhone mystery series by Sue Grafton.
Currently a New York Times best-seller, the novel is described as Millhone's "most direct confrontation with the forces of evil."
The book deals with identity theft, betrayal of trust and breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the old and dependent.
It also deals with the obligation – and frustration – of friends and neighbors witnessing the abuse.
As the story unfolds, as the lead character recognizes the elder abuse of her neighbor, she takes action. She calls the county's adult protective services agency.
But she is uneasy. "This is how the system works," Grafton writes. "A citizen sees an instance of wrongdoing and calls it to the attention of the proper authorities. Instead of being lauded, an aura of guilt attaches."
Her neighbor refuses to admit he is being abused.
Being dependent and old is frightening. Often the victims refuse to point the finger at family members. More likely, they are embarrassed and ashamed about being victimized.
But there are signs of change.
"Aging boomers are already making a difference," says Rebecca Guider, director of adult services and assistance programs for Orange County. "They are more educated about their rights; less likely to put up with abusive situations."
No one really knows how many elders are abused or neglected by family members and others.
It is a silent crime shouting for your attention.
Unfortunately, this is the situation around the world. Politicians have other more "pressing businesses" to attend to. The group of elderly (it wouldn't be too long before these same politicians will join the group) are "dispensable"?
We have worked and contributed to society, and now can look forward to safe, dignified twilight years?
Let us unite in the call for better services and protection for seniors.
By Lowell L. Kalapa, 2/25/2008 12:05:52 AM
We warned you that our elected officials lack the imagination and creativity to respond to problems with real, well-thought out solutions and instead fall back on their usual tried and true tax incentive thinking.
This legislative insanity knows no limits, as there are tax incentives for this and tax incentives for that. Many of these proposals under consideration are a result of the legislature's inability to make hard decisions.
For example, lawmakers feel sorry for taxpayers who give up their jobs in order to provide care for a disabled or elderly relative so they are considering a tax credit of up to $1,000 for the caregiver depending on the caregiver's adjusted gross income.
While it sounds great and after all those care giving relatives gave up their jobs, lawmakers seem to fail to heed the stories reported in the media about elder abuse. They choose to ignore the fact that often times the perpetrator of elder abuse is the relative providing the care. And that?s the point they miss in just handing out free candy in the form of tax incentives, that there is no assurance that the care being provided is quality care. Ah, but this was one of the recommendations of the "aging-in-place" task force that they put together over the interim.
They seem to ignore that the cause of elder abuse is the stress under which the caregiver must labor 24/7 with a relative because the elder may not be completely competent. It has been pointed out that revenue forgone by handing out this tax credit might have provided respite care so the relative caregiver could drop off the elder once or twice a week to take time out from the stress of caring for that elderly relative.
Further revenue forgone in handing out the tax credit could instead be used to train the caregiver in how to provide quality care, from how to help a person stand up from a seated position to how to bathe the elderly relative. This is just one of the ways that the quality of care could be improved.
Abridged Article. Pls. go to SOURCE: hawaiireporter
February 25, 2008
Article Launched: 02/24/2008
Many of you may not have heard of the California Senior Legislature. The California Senior Legislature is made up of volunteer members concerned about senior issues. They propose legislation at the state and federal level that would impact seniors favorably.
A representative of the California Senior Legislature, Sen. George "Bud" Winslow, keeps the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission informed on the activities of the CSL. At our Feb. 11 meeting, Bud reported that "at its annual session, the CSL holds hearings on the proposals that have been submitted by its members to determine which of these proposals should be carried forward. Finally, the proposals to be carried forward are prioritized to select the top 10 state proposals and top four federal proposals. The CSL then lobbies the state and federal legislative bodies to try and get the proposals enacted into law."
The results of the CSL's 2007 session are listed here. First a summary of the top 10 state legislative proposals:
• Skilled nursing facility end of life privacy: Requires nursing homes to provide a private room for a resident who has been determined to be terminal.
• Pharmaceutical expiration dates: Requires drug manufacturers to include a "best before" date on packaging.
• Hearing aids: Requires that hearing aids be made available for over-the-counter sales and vendors be encouraged to submit a plan to the Hearing Aid Dispenser Bureau.
• Electronic prescription writing: Institutes a state electronic prescription writing system.
• Infection control: Requires general acute hospitals to administer weekly screenings of infections and to publicly disclose the number of patients developing infections.
• Elder abuse offender registry: Requires the state to compile elder physical and financial abuse conviction details in an elder abuse offender registry that would be publicly accessible on the Internet.
• Affordable housing for seniors: Requires action to address the senior affordable housing shortage, revisions of zoning requirements and permit and impact fees.
• Property tax: Increases the homeowner's property tax exemption from $7,000 to $27,000 for seniors.
• In-home supportive services: Expands IHSS to include support for activities in volunteer, social and other community functions.
• Oral hygiene: Requires the Department of Health Services to review the oral health component of nursing home treatment plans on a quarterly basis for proper completion and that appropriate referrals to dental professionals be made, with failures reported as abuse.
Here is a summary of the top four federal legislative proposals:
• Surviving spouse home sale benefit: Authorizes certain surviving spouses to exclude $500,000 of home sale capital gain.
• Federal income tax deductions for medical expenses: Allows persons 65 and older to fully deduct all medical expenses.
• Prescription drugs: Authorizes Medicare to negotiate drug prices and pass the savings on to beneficiaries.
• Medicare coverage of dental care: Expand Medicare coverage to include oral health.
Additional information regarding these proposals may be found at the California Senior Legislature Web site at www.4csl.org.
If you are in agreement with any or all of these legislative proposals you should contact your state and federal representatives and urge their passage into law.
On Feb. 13, the president signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 into law. This legislation provides a maximum $600 tax rebate to individuals and a $1,200 rebate to couples, including seniors on fixed incomes and disabled veterans. An additional $300 rebate is also provided for each dependent child. Eligibility for these rebates is phased out for individuals with 2007 adjusted gross incomes over $75,000 and couples over $150,000.
The bill also provides tax incentives for small businesses and increases limits on government backed home loans, so more Californians can buy homes or refinance at lower rates. Specifically, the bill increases the Federal Housing Administration loan limit to $729,750 and temporarily increases the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits to $729,750.
In order to receive a stimulus rebate, individuals must have a valid Social Security Number and file a 2007 tax return. For more detailed information about the stimulus rebate and filing the necessary 2007 tax return, visit the "Rebate Questions" page accessible from the Internal Revenue Service homepage at www.irs.gov.
The next meeting of the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission is from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on April 14 in the Solarium Room of the Dominican Hospital Rehabilitation Facility, 610 Frederick St. in Santa Cruz. Future agenda topics will address transportation. Seniors and/or their caregivers are encouraged to attend.
Contact Chuck Molnar at the Santa Cruz County Seniors Commission office at 454-4864.
Thought I post this to give this article more publicity. I find the proposal for a registry of elder abusers, most interesting. Perhaps other state should look into this proposal.
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