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

August 29, 2011

State Needs Tougher Laws on Elder Abuse (MN. USA)

State needs tougher laws on elder abuse
by: EDITORIAL , Star Tribune 
 August 27, 2011

Minnesota is one of five states without a felony-level penalty.
In a case that garnered national attention, Christopher Wise of Seattle, a college graduate, was sentenced last month to more than three years in prison after being charged with murder for allowing his 88-year-old mom to rot to death. He was her sole caretaker.

Upon her death, she was found emaciated and covered in open bed sores that exposed her bones. Her diaper was grossly soiled, and her bed sheets reportedly covered in "dried blood, urine, feces and possibly pus." And that's just the half of it.
Disturbingly, if Wise had lived in Minnesota instead of Washington state, he might never have been charged with murder. Minnesota is one of only five states without a felony-level penalty for criminal neglect of a vulnerable adult.
Outrageous? You bet. Minnesota shouldn't be a place where caregivers can lock grandma in a sweltering car while they run errands and never be charged with a felony, even if she ends up in the hospital from the maltreatment (a real-life case).

The way state laws are written now, malicious caregivers might only receive a legal swat on the tush if, for instance, they fail to seek medical help for a disabled adult's badly infected foot, leaving doctors no choice but to amputate (another real-life case).
This odious gap in our legal system should be corrected -- and fast. With the large baby boomer generation sailing into its sunset years, the need for a statute protecting the state's elderly from intentional heinous abuse is all the more critical.
Among the elderly most at risk for victimization are the soaring numbers suffering from dementia. Studies show they're often unable to use a phone to call for help or communicate the abuse to people who could intervene. Or they're simply too scared of their abusers.

Who wouldn't be behind a tougher law? Organizations that employ caregivers, according to an Aug. 14 Star Tribune story by Brad Schrade and Lora Pabst ("State has huge gap in punishing elder neglect").

Fortunately, state Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee, told an editorial writer this week that he intends to take up the cause and push for a law.
"We ought to be stamping down very hard," he said. "Our first and foremost concern should be protecting vulnerable people."
Nursing homes and other caregiver businesses shouldn't be exempted, though that's what it likely would take for senior providers in order to get behind any felony-level law, according to Darrell Shreve, vice president of health policy with Aging Services of Minnesota.

That view is shortsighted and self-centered. It's like the outcry from clergy in 1993 when Minnesota passed a statute prohibiting them from having sex with anyone seeking their spiritual counsel. Many protested that the law would make them victims of endless frivolous lawsuits for even hugging a congregant.
That didn't happen. Nor would it happen to caregivers of vulnerable adults if a law is crafted with language narrowly focused on intentional, abhorrent neglect. Law enforcement and other agencies should rally behind such an effort.

Minnesota's vulnerable children are already afforded these legal protections. While the national cost of child abuse is estimated at $100 billion a year, the high cost of elder abuse has yet to be counted.
"We have a whole raft of issues hitting the state with our aging population, and this is a piece of that," Gottwalt said. "We ought to have laws on the books."

Minnesota needs to send a strong message that caregivers can't mistreat the elderly. Such despicable behavior is usually driven by greed -- inheritance is often a motivation -- and it should draw a stiff criminal penalty.

SOURCE:    The Star Tribune 

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Suit Alleges Abuse At Seal Beach Nursing Home (USA)

Former patient says she was forcibly medicated to take control of her money.

Aug. 26, 2011


A retired preschool teacher has filed an elder abuse lawsuit against a Seal Beach nursing home claiming staff at Country Villa drugged her by force and attempted to take control of her retirement funds.
Marsha "Aleah" Davis, 68, alleges that she was forcibly medicated with psychotropic drugs to "chemically restrain" her, according to a suit filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.
During a February visit to Country Villa, state investigators found that Davis had been improperly medicated. The nursing home has submitted a corrective plan. Ralph Montano, a spokesman for the Department of Public Health, said Friday that the nursing home will not be fined or cited.
Julianne Williams, chief operating officer for Los Angeles-based Country Villa Health Services, said administrators were still reviewing the lawsuit and could not comment on the specific details.

"We take these things very seriously," she said. "The care and health and welfare of our residents are our very first priority. Every allegation that is brought to us will be investigated and acted upon appropriately."
According to the suit, Davis, 68, lived in her own home in Westminster until November 2010. The retired preschool teacher worked part-time as a secretary at her church. She had a variety of health ailments, including diabetes. Last fall, she collapsed at her home and was hospitalized for 10 days. She was then transferred to Country Villa, where she remained for three months.
The suit alleges that after medicating Davis to the point of disorientation, Country Villa claimed she suffered from "cognitive impairment" and attempted to collect her Social Security payments.
"You're trusting these people," said Davis' attorney, Matthew Borden of Berkeley. "You're relying on them. They're supposed to be medical people. It's just unconscionable and it's scary."
Borden said Davis had no immediate family members to advocate for her. After a friend intervened, he said the medication stopped and Davis was eventually transferred to a nursing home in Fountain Valley, where she still lives.
The state report does not identify Davis by name, but Borden said she is the patient.

The report describes how state code forbids using psychotherapeutic drugs for "patient discipline or staff convenience." The report says that to treat Davis for anxiety, she was given Haldol, an antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia. The facility's own policy stated in all capital letters that anti-psychotics "SHOULD NOT BE USED" if the patient's only symptom was anxiety.
The report found that nursing staff continued to give her a drug for dementia even after a doctor ordered discontinuation of the medication.
A nurse told investigators that Davis' cognition and behavior were better after the drugs were stopped. In an interview during the visit, Davis said she'd been drugged "to the point that I was unable to be aware of anything."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

SOURCE:     The OC Register

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Grants Target Indian Elder Abuse (USA)

By Rob Capriccioso 

August 26, 2011

WASHINGTON – Elders are among the most respected citizens of tribal communities, yet even in Indian country their wisdom is sometimes trampled upon, while some face the horrors of abuse and neglect. With this problem in mind, the Administration on Aging of the Department of Health and Human Services has granted its first-time funding aimed at American Indian elder abuse prevention.

Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee announced August 26 two new grants totaling $761,000 to be awarded to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), including first-time funding specifically dedicated to elder abuse prevention in Indian country.

“Elder abuse is wrong,” Greenlee said. “To fight it effectively, we need to build and sustain research, prevention, law enforcement and services.”

Elder neglect and abuse is believed to be an increasing problem in some tribal communities, especially in those with high crime and poverty rates. The stresses created by these conditions are believed to contribute to the problem.
According to an announcement from the agency, a $561,000 award for the NCEA Information Clearinghouse will go to the University of California at Irvine: “The NCEA Clearinghouse will provide a national source of practical information to support federal, state and local efforts to prevent, identify, and effectively respond to elder abuse. The Clearinghouse will provide information and technical support, translate the latest research in the field, and disseminate best practices for state, local, and Tribal practitioners. The NCEA will also provide technical assistance on developing effective prevention, intervention, and response efforts to address elder abuse.”

In addition, a $200,000 award for the NCEA Native American Elder Justice Initiative is being granted to the University of North Dakota (UND): “The NCEA Native American Elder Justice Initiative will begin to address the lack of culturally appropriate information and community education materials on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in Indian country.” Agency officials said that some of the undertakings of the initiative will include establishing a resource center on elder abuse to assist tribes in addressing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; identifying and making available existing literature, resources, and tribal codes that address elder abuse; and developing and disseminating culturally appropriate and responsive resources for use by tribes, care providers, law enforcement and other stakeholders.
“These awards demonstrate this administration’s commitment to addressing the growing problem of elder abuse, including the unique problems tribes face in preventing, identifying, and responding to elder abuse in Indian country,” Greenlee said.

A 2004 report by the NCEA found that elder abuse was “a growing concern in Indian country,” but found that little is known about the full extent of the problem due largely to a lack of study.
“Only three of the more than 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States and one  urban population have been the subject of scientific studies, and even among these groups, significant differences have been noted,” according to the report.

A 2005 report by the Administration on Aging found a variety of reasons for tribal elder abuse, including a lack of respect, contemporary realities, and high crime rates on some reservations.
Beyond the Native population, elder abuse has been found to be increasing nationwide, and researchers suspect this is also the case in Indian country.

SOURCE:     IndianCountryTodayMedia Network

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August 26, 2011

19-year-old Man Accused of Elder Abuse (HAWAII)

19-year-old man accused of elder abuse

An Oahu grand jury indicted a 19-year-old man accused of crimes against a senior citizen.
The indictment alleges Noah Perkins threatened a 73-year-old man who had a restraining order against him and also broke into the man’s home and stole items.
Perkins allegedly entered the home three times between August 11 and August 16, 2011.
He is accused of verbally threatening the man once and leaving behind a threatening note on another occasion.
Previously, Perkins would have been charged with misdemeanors.
But a newly enacted law increases the penalties for crimes against victims of domestic abuse and senior citizens.

Perkins was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, a Class C felony, and first-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, a Class B felony.
He was also charged with first-degree burglary, a Class B felony.
He faces maximum prison terms of 10 years for the Class B felonies and five years for the Class C felony.

On May 26, 2011, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Act 063 into law. Known as the “Protect Victims of Domestic Violence Act,” it amended criminal offenses to include threats against persons covered by protective orders or restraining orders.

On July 5, 2011, Abercrombie signed into law Act 187, which created a Class B felony for first-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, based on the occupant’s age or incapacity.

Both bills were supported by the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.

SOURCE:     The Khon2

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Would Your Adult Children Rip You Off?

Would Your Adult Children Rip You Off?
By Carole Moore
August 24, 2011

Your grown daughter doesn't pay her bills on time. Your son lives way above his means. You love your kids, but also worry their irresponsibility toward their own finances means they will be poor caretakers of your finances should you need help as you age. But have you given any thought to the possibility that your children might pilfer your money?
Experts estimate that between 60% and 90% of financial elder abuse is committed by family members. It's a crime law enforcement officers and social workers believe will increase as larger numbers of the population age, but are generally ill-equipped to investigate.
No one knows exactly how many cases of financial elder abuse take place, but experts estimate as many as one out of five cases remain undetected. Many victims don't disclose they've been victimized due to shame and embarrassment or worries about retaliation.
It's also a crime that cuts across social classes: Actor Mickey Rooney recently went public with his own victimization at the hands of a relative, while the high-profile trial of the son of wealthy socialite Brooke Astor encompassed charges of estate tampering and elder abuse.
Running the Risk of Losing it All
The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, or NCPEA, dedicated to the prevention of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities, received a message that exemplifies financial elder abuse.
"My wife and I heard from her sister ... that their mother confessed their brother has talked Mom and Dad [age(s) 81 (and) generally sound mind] out of there (sic) entire $4 million retirement savings and they have nothing but Social Security left."
The offender is often an adult child who still relies on his or her parents for support. "Research suggests that increased risk of elder financial abuse by adult children is associated with such factors as the perpetrator's unemployment, inability to drive and financial dependence upon the older person," says Dr. Winsor Schmidt, professor of family and geriatric medicine at the University of Louisville.
Who is At Risk?

Schmidt says studies indicate an older person may be at greater risk of financial exploitation when the individual has problems completing an ordinary, yet vital, task such as using the telephone or doing housework.
Other conditions that predispose the elderly to financial abuse: dementia and depression. With families scattered in this mobile society, says Schmidt, chances are greater than ever that one sibling can steal from a parent or mismanage their assets without the others finding out.

Evaluating Your Situation
The ability to retain their independence as they age ranks high on the priority list of aging Americans. Few anticipate that their kids would someday cheat them out of their retirement savings. Paula Mixson, a certified guardian and the clerk of the NCPEA, says that she would caution older adults to consider a child's history of substance abuse, chemical dependency and other addictions (such as compulsive gambling) when settling on a financial caretaker.
Mixson says parents are often hesitant to admit a child might not be up to the task, and parents often feel a child's failing is their own fault and continue to shoulder a filial responsibility for their actions.
"I once had an elderly client tell me that she didn't want anything done about her son, who had pushed her down the stairs, because if he wasn't allowed to live with her, 'It was winter and he'd be living under a bridge,'" says Mixson.

Women Frequently Targeted
Although anyone can fall victim to elder financial abuse, the most likely candidates are female. Women are targeted more often due to their biology and demography, says Dr. Pamela Teaster, director of the Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky, and one of the authors of the MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse.
"Women still tend to live seven years longer than their male counterparts," Teaster says.

Making Plans
Planning for the future involves more than simply making a will or crunching the numbers to make sure there's enough income on which to live. It's also a time to preplan for the eventuality that someone else will have to take over the checkbook.
Kevin Schwartz, of the California-based law firm Schwartz & Schwartz, says, "Many people still have that feeling of, 'Well, it will never happen to me ... my children get along great and will take care of me if and when I need it. I certainly have nothing to worry about.'"
Schwartz says that when planning for financial security, one should not only choose someone who is "good with money," but someone who is "good with other people's money."
Ideally, these issues should be addressed with an attorney during estate planning, but even seniors with tiny incomes and small estates can fall victim to predatory relatives. For them, the best alternative would be to avoid becoming isolated and ask others outside the family to check on their welfare.
"Don't allow one family member to alienate you from the rest of the family," says Mixson. "If you can't leave your home, then find ways to bring different people into your home. Always realize that elder (financial) abuse can happen to you."

SOURCE:    Fox Business

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New Law Sends Strong Message to Financial Abusers (USA)

AARP-Backed Law Will Increase Penalties for Financial Exploitation of Elderly and Disabled

Aug. 25, 2011

This week Governor Quinn signed into law a bill that will help provide critical protections for thousands of individuals, particularly older adults and the disabled, who fall victim to financial exploitation. The law, Public Act 97-0482, sponsored by State Representative Emily McAsey and State Senator Toi Hutchinson, passed the General Assembly unanimously on May 28th, 2011, and was signed into law by Governor Quinn earlier this week.
"Financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse and can devastate victims," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. "AARP applauds the General Assembly and Governor Quinn for enacting legislation that sends a strong message to financial abusers."  
In Illinois, financial exploitation is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse, constituting nearly 60% of all elder abuse reports in the state.  On a national level, it is estimated that elder financial abuse costs victims more than $2.9 billion each year.

"AARP strongly supported this legislation and we are proud to see it become the law of the land in Illinois," added Gallo. 
The new law aims to more harshly penalize those who commit financial exploitation against the elderly and the disabled, and deter future crimes, by lowering the dollar threshold required for indictment on Class 1 and Class 2 felony charges.  A Class 1 felony will start at $50,000 (previously $100,000) and a Class 2 felony will start between $5,000 and $50,000 (previously$100,000). 



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Justice Meted out for Valley View Nursing Home Abuse (CANADA)

By Linda Williams/TWN Staff Writer


Two former nursing assistants at Valley View Skilled Nursing Facility were found guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse and sentenced to 20 day jail terms and two years probation. Monica Rose Smith, 52, and Jennifer Louise Burton, 34, were considered the "ringleaders" in slathering seven elderly dementia patients with a slippery ointment in November 2009 as an ill advised payback plan for the next nursing home crew. Four other workers were fired by the facility and criminal charges were brought against three of them. All those convicted have had their state nursing assistant licenses revoked.

Nursing assistant Jared Buckley, 30, was found guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse; and ordered to perform 150 hours of community service and serve two years on probation. This was Buckley's second incident, having failed to report elder abuse at the same facility in March 2007. For the previous incident Buckley was allowed by the district attorney to complete a 24-month diversion program as punishment and to remain on staff.
The remaining defendants Jennie Bido, 27, and Christine Boyd-Guerrero, 31, were found guilty of failure to report elder abuse and were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service each. They will also serve two years probation.
"As part of a cruel and shocking prank, these caregivers abused defenseless elders," said then Attorney General Jerry Brown. "This is despicable behavior by people placed in a position of trust."

As a state licensed facility, Valley View reported the incident to the state, which conducted the investigation before turning the criminal cases over the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for prosecution.
Valley View, along with 26 other facilities owned by Horizon West was sold to Plum Healthcare Group earlier this year. Valley View is now known as Redwood Cove Healthcare Center. According to the Medicare comparison site for nursing facilities, the facility has 68 beds and has a two of five star rating with a score of five being best.
The current administrator Sharon Donnelly, was brought in to lead the Ukiah facility in March 2010, having worked in Horizon West facilities for 33 years, "The focus of Plum is that a strong staff enables better patient care." She also cited increased staffing ratios at the Ukiah facility following her arrival.
A number of deficiencies were highlighted on the September 2010 inspection, including failing to hire only people with no legal history of abuse or neglect and for failing to report and investigate acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment. It also failed to keep each resident free from physical restraints not needed for medical treatment.
The inspectors also determined the nursing home failed to "store, cook and give out food in a safe and clean way."

The facility received its highest rating (three of five stars) for staffing, with ratio of certified nursing assistants to patients higher than the state or national average. This was slightly offset by a two of five star rating for having fewer hours of registered nurse time available per patient.

Only 72 percent of long stay residents received a flu vaccine, compared to the state average of 89 percent. The short-stay residents were even worse with only 48 percent receiving the flu vaccine compared to the state average of 83 percent.
A number of fire safety deficiencies linked to construction were cited at the last inspection including the building had a number construction deficiencies, including materials of construction, lack of internal doors designed to limit spread of smoke and did not have exits that are accessible at all times. Fire safety deficiencies were also highlighted due to lack of properly maintained smoke detectors and a fire alarm system which could not be heard throughout the facility. The inspectors determined the building did not have automatic sprinkler systems in working order or portable fire extinguishers.

SOURCE:     The WillitsNews

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Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy - training opportunity FREE to HACC Agencies (AUSTRALIA)

Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy - training opportunity FREE to HACC agencies
By Mia

Please note that the Elder Abuse Prevention Training scheduled in the Northern HACC Training Calendar is fully booked.
Training opportunities are still available (free of charge) at Victoria University, Melbourne campus – see attached for more details.

Thursday 8 September 2011
Tuesday 20 September 2011
Thursday 6 October 2011
Tuesday 25 October 2011
Thursday 10 November 2011
Tuesday 15 November 2011
Thursday 24 November 2011
Tuesday 29 November 2011
Thursday 8 December 2011
Victoria University is facilitating 2 workshops as part of the Northern HACC Training Jul – Dec 2011 Calendar (attached)

Workshop 1 – Recognise & Respond in situations of elder abuse (pre-requisite to workshop 2)
Wednesday 7th September
Who should attend:  All HACC workers & direct care workforce

Workshop 2 – Recognise, Respond & Assess in situations of elder abuse
Thursday 6th October
Who should attend:  supervisors, team leaders, line managers & others in a lead role

See attached for more details.

SOURCE:    The North East Primary Care Partnership


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Granny Snatching: Sen. Blumenthal Focuses On Elderly Abuse Issues (USA)

Granny Snatching: Blumenthal Focuses On Elderly Abuse Issues
Aug 24, 2011

Connecticut’s elderly residents got some heavyweight assistance in their quest for uniform elder abuse laws this week when Sen. Richard Blumenthal chaired hearings in Washington seeking to chart a course for the federal government to partner with the states and municipalities to deter exploitation of the elderly.
While a statement on Blumenthal’s website focuses on abuse among the non-institutionalized elder population, testimony during the hearing also advocated continuation of programs that help the elderly live in their homes or with family.

Blumenthal’s statement said that more than “14 percent of non-institutionalized adults experienced physical, psychological or sexual abuse, neglect or financial exploitation – and seniors are losing a minimum of $2.9 billion per year to financial abuse, an increase of 12% from 2008.”
“Our seniors have worked hard their entire lives, have given so much to our nation, and deserve our support. The fraud and abuse perpetrated on our seniors is absolutely unconscionable, and I am determined to combine my past experience as Attorney General with my new role in the Senate to end these outrageous acts and help bring security and peace of mind to our seniors.
We need to give elder abuse the attention that it deserves, and I intend to attack it from every angle: building the infrastructure our states need to catch these perpetrators, and strengthening our federal justice system to allow for the maximum consequences for those who choose to undertake such acts.”
Additionally, Blumenthal heard testimony from Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Greenlee testified on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.
Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965 leading to the establishment of a nationwide network of community services directed to the elderly. The act enabled states to administer grants for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training.
Congress also authorized creation of the Administration on Aging to administer the grant programs. Since its inception the Older Americans Act has been amended several times and is considered the primary source of social and nutritional programs for the elderly and their caregivers nationwide.

The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income older Americans; training, research, and demonstration activities in the field of aging; and vulnerable elder rights protection activities. Information on the Older Americans Act can be found at the website www.aoa.gov.

During her testimony, Greenlee stated that older survivors of even modest forms of abuse have up to 300 percent higher morbidity and mortality rates than non-abused older people.
“The Older Americans Act has historically enjoyed widespread, bipartisan support. One of its great strengths is that it does not matter if an individual lives in a very rural or frontier area, or in an urban center – the programs and community-based supports it provides are flexible enough to meet the needs of individuals in diverse communities and settings…we believe that the reauthorization can strengthen the OAA and put it on a solid footing to meet the challenges of a growing population of seniors, while continuing to carry out its critical mission of helping elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities,” she said.
As America’s population ages the cost to care for the elderly is skyrocketing and federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are expected to run out of money in the near future. A switch from institutionalized care which can cost upwards of $12,000 per month per person, to home based care is considered the best option for providing the best and most cost-effective care for the elderly.
Blumenthal also heard testimony at the hearing from 90-year-old Connecticut resident Robert Matava, a victim of elder abuse after entrusting his son with his assets.
While Connecticut has a standing legislative Committee on Aging and a state Commission on Aging, not all states do and states often have differing laws on elder abuse and guardianship. The disparity of laws across state lines has led to increasing incidents of “Granny Snatching” whereby elderly people are institutionalized against their will often by unscrupulous relatives who concoct elaborate schemes to strip them of their assets.
Elder advocates have been struggling for years to convince both the federal and state governments to support one system of laws that will make it much more difficult to take strip the elderly of their rights, their dignity and their assets.

SOURCE:    The CT Watchdog


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Walpole Island Marches Against Elder Abuse (CANADA)

Walpole Island marches against elder abuse
By David Gough, QMI Agency
25 AUGUST, 2011

From taking their money primarily. Food would disappear, articles were sold," Gilbert said. "We figured that it was just the tip of the iceberg. It was probably more rampant than that."

Gilbert said council wanted to do something to bring awareness to the problem. A march was planned.
"The turnout here from our community I think is something that I'm overwhelmed with," Gilbert said, after the march.
A declaration against elder abuse was signed on Wednesday, and Gilbert said band council pledges to address the issue and make people aware of elder abuse and preventing it from helping.
He added police have been involved in a few cases, but many times elders are hesitant to admit there is a problem.

"In many occasions, there is immediate family involved. Secondly, we've been told they've been threatened that they will not see their grandchildren and it's terrible that they're held in that situation but we're calling attention to it."
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel was on hand for the march. She said elder abuse happens everywhere.

"We hear the horror stories every so often, and you think, 'how is it possible,'" asked Van Bommel.
She said the march was important because it brings the issue public so people talk about it.

"It's a good thing because people start to pay attention and watch their elderly neighbours to make sure they are OK."

Angus Toulouse, the regional chief of Ontario, said elders are a critical piece of First Nations communities.
"They carry the knowledge and history of who we are. They have retained the language and ceremonies and those songs that make us unique to who we are," Toulouse said.
The march was about giving elders the respect, kindness and love that they have provided for their families, Toulouse said.

SOURCE:     The Chatam Daily News

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Fraud Awareness: Hold On to Your Wallet (CANADA)

Hold on to your wallet

The RCMP address senior citizens about how to not fall victim to fraud. Photo: Stephanie Stein
August 24, 2011

Purse-snatching has become more evolved in these times
On Friday, Aug 19, the RCMP and the Salvation Army hosted an event about fraud awareness and senior citizens’ safety at the Salvation Army Grace Manor. RCMP representatives provided educational tools and presentations, enabling seniors to better protect themselves from fraudulent schemes and other forms of abuse.

“People will target vulnerable people like the elderly that trust easily. A lot of seniors came from a generation where it was alright to trust people. It’s not the case anymore,” said summer RCMP student, Genevieve Colberson.
It’s the summer student program against crime, where they set up different venues and provide tools to protect against fraud.
“The key is prevention. So if we can give them tips on how to prevent violation by educating them on the current scams, what’s going on, and what they can do to not become victims, then that’s what we’re hoping,” said Cst. Julie Morel of Media Relations.
Tips are offered on how to recognize if you’re being scammed through credit and debit card fraud, and identity theft.  It has been reported by the Canadian Antifraud Centre that $10 billion is lost annually to mass market fraud. Identity theft has taken a hit of $9.4 billion annually. And, $365 million a year is lost to credit card fraud. With chip technology, however, plastics fraud has gone down to $119 million in 2010.
“Sometimes it’s very hard to locate the criminals that’s why the key to this is prevention,” said Morel.  She added, “If violated, they need to report it to their local police.  We can’t investigate something we didn’t know occurred, so not to feel ashamed, and report it.”
In light of prevention, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) have formed a partnership to prevent elder abuse before it happens. With funding from HRSDC, the CAOT has developed an online resource tool entitled, “Strategies from occupational therapists to address elder abuse/mistreatment.”
“The most prominent abuse that is reported is financial abuse, involving unauthorized withdrawals, sale of property without consent,” said Janet Craik, the elder abuse project and CAOT’s Director of Professional Practice.

The document will be available Nov. 23 for download off the CAOT website by all practicing occupational therapists across Canada. The document facilitates problem solving and encourages therapists to build up a repertoire of resources they can go to in event of a problem.

SOURCE:     The Orleans Star

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August 22, 2011

Police Charge Grandson With Stealing From Grandfather (USA)

August 19, 2011
by Nick Beres


Murfreesboro police have arrested a man and charged him with stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars from his grandfather.
"This is as sad case where the elderly gentleman was confused and his grandson played on the fears to exploit money from his own family member," said Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro police department.
Arthur Porter is charged with elder abuse. Police said he told his grandfather, 84-year-old Paul Howlett, that  someone had a vendetta against the family and he needed to pay money for protection.  Police said there was no evidence of that.

Howlett said he doesn't want to press charges against his grandson.
"I will not press charges against him.  He had enough problems growing up," said Howlett.

Detectives said Porter admitted telling false stories and taking money. But Porter denied that and apologized for nothing when NewsChannel 5 spoke to him at the Rutherford County jail.
He admitted to taking the money which he says was left to him in a trust fund.
"No, I haven't spent it. I've put it up somewhere," he said.
"I can't trick him.  Even though my grandfather might act like he can't understand everything he's a very smart man," Porter added.
But his grandfather, who only recently lost his wife of more than 50 years, is now moving out of his home. He wouldn't say if it's because of the missing money.
He also added he forgave Porter.
Police said Porter also admitted telling his grandfather he had been kidnapped and held for ransom to get money.  There was never any evidence of a kidnapping either.

Police are working to get the money back for the grandfather. They hope to do that if it's not actually been spent.
But police have alerted the state's Adult and Family Services division to help with the case.

SOURCE:     NewsChannel5

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Sand City Man Guilty of Home Repair Scams (USA)

Sand City man guilty of home repair scams
The Monterey County Herald
Herald Staff Report

A jury Thursday convicted a former Sand City man of 24 charges, including financial elder abuse, residential burglary, grand theft and contracting without a license.

In 2006 and 2008, Timothy Ralph Carrillo, 49, solicited home repair and remodeling projects from elderly residents and other victims in Pebble Beach, Carmel, Seaside and Watsonville. He disappeared with large sums of money without providing services.

Prosecutor Jeannine Pacioni said nine victims, seven of whom were elderly, testified to losses ranging from $1,260 to $65,000.
Carrillo is in California on loan from the state of Texas, where he is serving a 25-year sentence for scamming the elderly. He has prior felony convictions in California for residential and commercial burglary, grand theft, drunken driving and obtaining money by false pretense.

He faces a maximum possible sentence of 34 years in prison after his Texas commitment. Judge Russell Scott will sentence him Sept. 16.

SOURCE:    The Monterey Herald

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Age Concern Conducts Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention (NEW ZEALAND)

Age Concern Conducts Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention

Media Release: Age Concern New Zealand

19 August 2011

Age Concern Conducts Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Seminar

What can you do to help stamp out elder abuse and neglect?

This challenge was set down by Age Concern’s Professional Adviser Jayne McKendry at an open forum held today at the University of Otago Medical School in Wellington.

Ms McKendry says it is estimated 20,000 New Zealanders will experience elder abuse and neglect at some point in their lifetime, therefore it’s important to educate those who work with older people.

“If you suspect an older person is being abused or neglected, don’t let your fear of meddling in someone else’s business stop you from speaking out.”
“Talk to the older person, let them know you care and are worried about them, but do not put them at risk by confronting the abuser yourself, unless the older person asks you to and you have a plan to keep them safe.”
Post-doctoral candidate Moira Smith, who attended today’s seminar, says the take-home message is to ensure older people are seen within our communities and their perspectives are valued.
Specialist Nurse Consultant Silke Kuehl says she will take what she has learned into her work environment. “Emergency staff need to be able to pick up the signs of elder abuse and perhaps we need a better system to refer people on.”

“A large percentage of our patients are older people and I don’t know if we meet their needs very well,” she says.
Further information about elder abuse and neglect can be found at www.ageconcern.org.nz

SOURCE:   Scoop.co.nz

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Legislation to Prevent Elderly Abuse Signed into Law (USA)

Legislation to Prevent Elderly Abuse Signed into Law
August 19, 2011
 By margo 

From the Senator’s Desk

Legislation sponsored by Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida) that promotes the development of senior citizen-based domestic abuse prevention programs was recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

S4235 directs the Office For the Prevention of Domestic Violence to develop senior center-based domestic violence prevention programs.  This new law aims to create new resources for victims of elder abuse. These new programs would be utilized and offered at senior centers throughout the state.
“Senior centers serve as a gathering place for many seniors in their community, making them an ideal environment to offer domestic violence prevention programs. Developing prevention programs designed specifically for seniors will be especially helpful as seniors often are more reluctant to seek out help when it comes to such sensitive issues,” Valesky said.

“Elder abuse is a tragic social problem that affects a significant number of older New Yorkers, and we know that in the vast majority of the cases it happens at the hands of those we know – both family and friends. All too often, elder abuse goes unnoticed or unreported. It is critical that seniors and the professionals that serve them be made aware of the warning signs of elder abuse and learn what resources are available to support them,” said Jenny Hicks, Vera House’s Coordinator of the Elder Abuse Committee of the Syracuse Area Domestic and Sexual Violence Coalition.
Senator Valesky’s legislation helps to promote the proper care of the elderly in senior centers, and makes staff and other community members aware of the growing concern of elder abuse in the senior citizen community.
“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for recognizing the serious issue of elder abuse and signing this legislation into law,” Valesky said.

SOURCE:   The Madison County Courier

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Understanding and Preventing Elder Abuse

By Jaine Carter
August 19, 201

After a lifetime of hard work and responsibility to others, the latter years of our lives should be the “golden years.” Unfortunately, for many, that is not the case.
Each of us is aware of an elder adult for whom we feel compassion. We may have observed that he/she appears confused and conclude that s/he may have dementia or the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease. She complains of repeated broken bones and frequently has bruises. Her children do not call or visit. Even former friends avoid her, which in itself, is a form of abuse. Instead, turn your compassion into understanding. It will help you learn how to take proactive steps to improve the life of an older person instead of avoiding him.
Why should you care? You should get involved, because it could happen to you. Elder abuse is an under recognized problem with devastating, and even life threatening, consequences. The National Center on Elder Abuse, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that more than 500,000 older people are abused each year and that number is growing.

Elder abuse can occur anywhere; in the home, in nursing homes, or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures and races. Research indicates that more than one in 10 elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases are reported. Why? Because many of us just don’t want to get involved.

“Elder abuse” refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. This includes physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment. Self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.

Physical abuse includes the use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder. Abused elders may have slap marks, unexplained bruises, pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns.
Emotional abuse, perhaps the most devastating to the human spirit, includes verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation or belittling actions that cause mental anguish, pain or distress to a senior. Children and other close relatives may refuse to visit an older parent if they “don’t behave.” Visitation with grandchildren may be denied (article to follow).
Exploitation of older, unsuspecting citizens is a growing worldwide crisis. Many older people, especially women, are not savvy about money matters. Inexperience makes easy targets for theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property.
Learn more. Helplines include: Florida Elder Hotline:             1-800-962-8273      ; Collier County Elder Abuse Hotline at             (239) 775-1101      ; the Statewide Senior Legal Helpline:             1-888-895-7873      ; and the National Eldercare Locator at            1-800-677-1116      .
Locally, Vickijo Letchworth, an Elder Abuse Response program advocate for the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, reports, “The Elder Abuse Response here at the shelter is a comprehensive program designed by the shelter to meet the unique challenges facing individuals, 50 years of age and older, who are abused by someone on whom they depend for care or support.” Programs include safety planning, access to public benefits, housing, legal advocacy, assisting with Social Security insurance and disability applications, injunctions for protection, and support groups. For more information, call            (239) 775-3862      , ext 242.
Make a commitment to help an elder. Keep in contact by talking with your older friends, neighbors and relatives. Maintaining communication will help decrease their isolation. It will also give them a chance to talk about any problems they may be experiencing. Report suspected mistreatment to your local adult protective services agency or law enforcement. If you feel that an elder is in immediate danger call 9-1-1 and explain the situation.

© 2011 Naples Daily News. 

SOURCE:    The Naples News

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Man Suspected of Elder Abuse Has Criminal Past (CA. USA)

Steven Sanoff Jr. was on felony probation and police caught him more than a year ago with a cache of illegal weapons and drugs.

Steven Sanoff Jr.'s arrest Thursday on suspicion of elder abuse after an all-night standoff wasn't his first brush with the law.
The 44-year-old, who lived with his parents in a newer two-story tract home on Morning Glory Court, was locked up more than a year ago after police found a stash of military weapons, records show.

Police found high-capacity magazines, illegal assault rifles, police batons, nunchuks, tear gas and pepper spray holed up in Sanoff's room during a search on Jan. 19, 2010. They also found methamphetamine and morphine and said he was high on some drug when they arrested him.
"We've had contacts with him in the past," Lt. Mike Boehrer said. "This isn't the first time we've had to deal with him."

Sanoff – whom neighbors described as shy, evasive and a little weird – was convicted of 11 felony counts following his arrest last year, court records show.
He was also found guilty of enhancements because of older felony convictions dating back to 1998 and 1999 for assault and illegally possessing a gun.
Sanoff was sentenced in May 2010 to a year in prison with credit for 106 days served. He was also ordered to attend counseling and pay a litany of fines.
Months after his release from prison, however, he's back behind bars.
Police rushed to Sanoff's house around 4 p.m. Thursday after a neighbor called in saying that his elderly mom, Ollie Jan Sanoff, was in trouble.

Sanoff was arrested after a three-hour standoff at his parents house, where he held his mom hostage while crisis negotiators tried to coax him out.
The SWAT team eventually used chemicals to gas him out of the house. Sanoff bolted out the back door before officers tackled him to the ground.
After three hours stuck inside, the mother also stumbled out, dazed, panicked and injured, neighbors said. She walked straight to an officer who escorted her to an ambulance waiting outside that rushed her to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Sanoff hasn't been charged yet in connection with this week's incident, but was booked early this morning at the county jail in Martinez on suspicion of elder abuse, battery and probation violation.
Neighbors said Sanoff had always struck them as bizarre. He would step outside in full military gear and barely spoke a word to anyone, said an across-the-street neighbor kid who declined sharing his name.
Some next-door neighbors said they don't recall ever seeing him except maybe once a year.
"He'd never make eye contact and we hardly ever saw him," the neighbor kid said. "We knew he was weird. But, I mean, he's not harmless, obviously, after what happened."

SOURCE:    The Danville Patch

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August 18, 2011

Details Emerge in Elder Abuse Case (USA)

By George Stahl
Special to the Sun
 August 17, 2011 

According to numerous Sheriff’s reports obtained by the Kern Valley Sun and public court documents, a number of events occurred involving Joseph McCoy and his mother Darlene Green in the months prior to the April 1 death of Green’s mother Margaret Gray. Ultimately, 30-year-old, McCoy, who lived with his grandmother, Gray, at 2313 Reeder Dr., and 56-year- old Green of Weldon, were arrested and are facing charges of elder abuse/neglect leading to the death of the 90 year old Gray. Both pled not guilty at their arraignment on Aug 1. and are due in Superior Court on Sept. 19 to answer to the charges.

On Feb 24, according to Deputy Vazquez, he received a copy of a report written by Melody Batelaan from Aging and Adult Services (AAS) in which she indicted that Gray was found to be neglected, due to her current medical conditions. The testimony at McCoy’s and Green’s Preliminary examination in the case of elder abuse/neglect leading to Gray’s death given by paramedic, Nathaniel St. Clair, of CARE ambulance, Dr. Manuel Sacapano of Kern Valley Hospital, and Vazquez is consistent with the report written by AAS.

In Deputy Vazquez’ report he noted that while at Gray’s home on Feb. 11 to conduct an elder abuse investigation, “Based on the condition Gray was in, her caretaker being in custody, her age, her refusal, and her inability to clean herself, I determined that she was unable to care for herself, I placed a WI 5150 hold on her”

According to www.leginfo.ca.gov Welfare and Institutions code 5150 enables law enforcement upon probable cause, to take a person into custody and place him or her on a 72-hour period for evaluation if the officer determines that as a result of mental disorder, the person is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled. Gray was then transported to Kern Valley Hospital for treatment.

Gray died at Life House in Bakersfield on April 1. Darlene Green was arrested on May 13 in connection with her mother’s physical neglect and named as a co-defendant in the case against McCoy for Gray’s abuse and death. A readiness hearing is scheduled for McCoy and Green on Sept. 9 and the trial is set for Sept. 19 at the Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield. 


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NHS Introduces Clearer Thinking on dementia (UK)

NHS introduces clearer thinking on dementia
Cross-party support for England's national dementia strategy is leading to more research, training and 'dementia cafes' for patients and carers
17 August 2011

A change of government typically creates uncertainty about which of the previous administration's initiatives will be ditched. Fortunately for Labour's 2009 national dementia strategy, it won cross-party support and is still seen as a description of the way to improve the quality of life for the 750,000 people in the UK with dementia, and their carers.
"Having a national strategy has helped to bring people together, recognising that dementia is one of the biggest challenges that we face," says Andrew Chidgey, the head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society.
"I think the biggest change from before the strategy is the increase in public and political interest. Dementia is now much more important on the public policy agenda and something that is being taken far more seriously."
For the first time at the last general election, the manifestos of the three main parties included commitments on dementia. Labour pledged better access to psychological therapy, counselling and memory clinics; the Liberal Democrats said they wanted to help the NHS produce savings and use some of this for dementia; and the Conservatives promised to boost research.
The 2011-12 NHS Operating Framework had dementia as one of only two new priority areas, the other being the health of war veterans. NHS organisations are now required to make progress on the national dementia strategy, and primary care trusts to publish local plans for dementia services. "So I think that was a fairly clear signal from the government they were prioritising this work," Chidgey says.

In line with the pre-election pledge, in June the Department of Health (DH) promised £20m over five years to four new National Institute for Health Research (NHIR) biomedical research units. It has committed the Medical Research Council to increase funding for neurodegeneration research by 10%, to £150m over the next four years. The number of dementia research experts will be increased through new academic clinical fellowships. More patients and carers will be involved in research through the NIHR's dementia and neurodegenerative diseases research network.

At a local level, councils and NHS organisations are beginning to commission dementia advisers, who make contact with patients and their carers after diagnoses and remain in touch as long as needed, helping to access information and advice. "We have probably got 70 to 80 dementia advisers in place and those are being evaluated," Chidgey says.

About two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community, and peer support networks are also becoming more common. These include 'dementia cafes', a concept pioneered in the Netherlands to provide informal settings where people with dementia and carers can come together and talk to each other about the issues they face. (See case study on a dementia cafe in Romford.)


SOURCE:   The Guardian UK

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Annual Elder conference Scheduled for Sept. 29 (AZ. USA)

 August 16, 2011

Don't miss this opportunity for NACOG Area Agency on Aging's 20th Annual Elder Issues Conference in Flagstaff Sept. 29, at the High Country Conference Center.

"Creating Caring Communities: Opening Pathways to the Future" offers professionals in the aging field and those who work with people who have disabilities an opportunity to hear nationally renowned speakers. Addressing the audience in a plenary session will be Bob Blancato from Washington, D.C., who has served as Executive Director in the White House Conference on Aging and more recently as President of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Additional professional development sessions include Elder Abuse Awareness, Prevention and Prosecution, Aging Wisely in the 21st Century and LGBT Aging: Challenges and Opportunities.

A special feature of this year's conference is the Virtual Dementia Tour, which provides the participant an opportunity to experience first-hand how it feels to have dementia in one's life. Cheryl Pugh, Ombudsman from NACOG AAA and certified trainer/facilitator will be conducting this training in several sessions during the conference.

The conference is certified for eight training credits from AZPOST for law enforcement. Early bird registration deadline is Sept. 7. Call            (877) 521-3500       toll free for more details on the conference speakers and sessions or visit the conference Website atwww.regonline.com/nacog_aaa.

SOURCE:   The WMI Central

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August 16, 2011

Ageism: It is Real and It is Wrong (CANADA)

Ageism: it is real and it is wrong
Aug 14 2011
The Toronto Sun Editorial Board

The term ageism makes politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers uncomfortable.
Some think it’s a fabricated word designed to give legitimacy to the complaints of an aggrieved minority. Others admit discrimination against the elderly exists, but they don’t know how to define it, measure it or codify it in law.
They didn’t like sexism or racism either, but driven by public pressure they developed laws and guidelines that could be applied.
Now the Law Commission of Ontario is attempting to do the same for ageism: turn it into an injustice that can be recognized, documented and remedied.
Last week it published a draft report designed to help lawmakers identify and take action against policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of age. Until November, it will hold public consultations for the next three months to make sure nothing is missing or misconceived. A final draft will be released in early 2012.
“With the aging of Canada’s population, it is increasingly important that we have sound legal and policy approaches to issues affecting older Canadians,” said Patricia Hughes, executive director of the provincial advisory agency. “While pioneering work has been done in this area, there has not yet been a comprehensive, coherent and principled approach developed for this area of the law.”
The carefully researched policy paper won’t win over skeptics. But it will address the concern that ageism is too amorphous to be judged or prevented.
It begins by pointing out both Canada’s Charter of Rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code explicitly prohibit age-based discrimination. It then shows the gap between the legislation and the reality: Caregivers routinely assume seniors can’t make their own decisions. Policymakers don’t bother to consult them on issues affecting them. Health-care and social service providers withhold supports to which are entitled. People patronize them, ignore them or exclude them the life of the community.

To move toward equality for older Canadians, the commission says, all laws should reflect these principles:

 • Respect for the dignity of the individual.
 • The presumption of ability, not disability.
 • The right to be included in community affairs.
 • Freedom from abuse or exploitation.

SOURCE:    The Toronto Star

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