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May 31, 2011

Elderly Abuse rife Since Earthquake (NEW ZEALAND)


Elderly abuse rife since earthquake
 30th May 2011
The elderly are taking the brunt of earthquake stress, with elder abuse rife in the suburbs.

Age Concern community nurse Kerry Howley estimated cases of reported elderly abuse had increased by 40 to 50 per cent since the earthquake.
"There's a huge increase in stress and there has been some abuse related to financial issues. Some families in financial hardship treat an elderly person like a bank- using them for money." she said.

Ms Howley knew of one case where a 91-year-old woman had been a targeted in an earthquake shelter by a 41-year-old man.
"A gentleman met an older lady at a shelter and took her home. He built up her trust and then took lots of her money. They didn't know each other before the earthquake. He just saw the opportunity and moved on her," she said.

Much of the abuse was verbal, but could also be physical or neglectful, Ms Howley said.
"I had one elderly couple in their 90s who were put into respite care because their home was so damaged in the earthquake. But their daughter wanted them to return home, even though they had no sewage or water, because she was in charge of their money. When they were in care their social worker wanted to know where all the money was going," she said.
With thousands of houses ruined in February's earthquake, many people have been forced to move in with their elderly relatives.
Police Inspector Dave Lawry said: "There's been a lot of elder abuse going on. People's houses are trashed so they're moving in with mum and dad, or other family members, who they don't necessarily get along with."
Inspector Lawry said fights had been developing, with the elderly often being "pushed around."




Some of the abuse had been "historic," only coming to light after the earthquake as neighbours and friends checked on the usually isolated elderly.
"Sometimes the relationship with the family has always been abusive, but the elderly person just thought it was normal or that nothing could be done about it," Ms Howley said.


SOURCE:      starcanterbury.co.nz
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Elder Care: Breaking the Silence: Voices of Hope


Breaking the Silence: Voices of Hope
A writer at the Swampscott Senior Center is helping to spread the word on elder abuse.

Maria Mello, writer, painter, naturalist and a regular at the Swampscott Senior Center’s Creative Writing Class for over 10 years, recently put her talents to use to assist in the creation and performance of an original play based on true stories of elder abuse and neglect, titled, Breaking the Silence: Voices of Hope.
Mello’s original poem, Afraid, opened the show.
The poem, with its soothing rhythms and rhymes, and Mello’s lilting voice, begins by laying out a simple picture of what most of us want in our later years, and then sneaks in another possible outcome--fear.
As I grow older all I need
Are gentle peace and sunlit days
A simple life I want to lead
Some time to follow my own ways
            And not to be afraid.
The following stanzas examine the ways the peaceful golden years can be anything but peaceful. For example:
Then there’s the friend who takes your check
Pays all your bills and shops for you
She brings you food but holds the change
Who knows what silly things you might do
            You’re lonely and afraid.
In the performance that followed, actors dressed simply in tan pants and black tops voiced different roles in discrete scenes, each of which emphasized different ways seniors are vulnerable. Some of the roles were:
·         the hairdresser whose elderly client’s checks start to bounce after she has taken in a boarder;
·         the widow next door who didn’t want to ask for help because he didn’t want to leave his house and “end up in a home;”
·         the sister who’s worried about her sibling’s sudden new “friends,”  who aren’t friends at all.
All the parts were voiced with feeling. Each scene also told the ways relatives, friends and neighbors can help—step in, rely on the outreach worker at the local senior center, and call elder protective services.
According to Elizabeth Cochran of the Elder Justice Network, which funded the project through a grant from the National Committee to Prevent Elder Abuse, the program is designed so that each time the show is put together at a new location, the participating seniors contribute their own stories, or stories they feel are relevant to the issue of elder abuse and neglect. Thus, every show is different.
Cochran pointed out that as the population of elders increases, so do the occurrences of elder abuse and neglect, including self-neglect.
The play I saw was put together and written by Kelsey McCabe, protective services worker at Greater Lynn Senior Services, along with seniors from Peabody, and performed at the Lynnfield Senior Center.
Elder abuse “can happen in any environment,” says Bill Foley, outreach coordinator at the Swampscott Senior Center. “It can be financial, physical, emotional or sexual.”
Those who suspect abuse in Swampscott, says Foley, should call Greater Lynn Senior Services and say, “I’d like to report elder abuse or contact protective services.”
Although the Center in Lynn is the local point to investigate abuse, Foley said that anyone with questions or concerns about the issue is welcome to call him at the Swampscott Center, at            781 596-8866 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            781 596-8866      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      .
The number at Greater Lynn Senior Services is             781 599-0110 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            781 599-0110      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      .
Swampscott Senior Center Director Marilyn Hurwitz has seen the show and “would love to do it here.”
Which would be just fine with Mello. She smiles. “It was a lot of fun.”

SOURCE:   Swampscott.patch.com
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Elder Care: Self-Neglect

The quiet menace
Self-neglect, the most common mistreatment among Houston's elderly, is a growing threat as baby boomers age
By RENÉE C. LEE
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
May 30, 2011

When caseworker Karen Edward arrives at her client's northwest Houston home, the 74-year-old woman is sitting outside her front door complaining of vision problems and feeling sick to her stomach.
"Do you need care?" Edward asks. "Did you take your insulin?"
"No," Clara replies in a faint voice.

It takes about 15 minutes for Edwards to persuade Clara, a diabetic, to get out of the midafternoon heat and indoors to take her medicine. Clara lifts her weak body from an old lawn chair and shuffles into her home of 49 years.

Loose electrical wires hang outside the front door of the three-bedroom house. The lawn has gone from lush green grass to dry dirt.
Inside, the carpet is worn and the walls need painting. Two weeks ago, neither was fully visible because they were covered floor-to-ceiling with Clara's belongings. She had so much clutter, she couldn't get around without falling.

Self-neglect common
Clara, who asked that her last name not be published, was referred to the Adult Protective Services agency about a month ago. Edward determined that Clara had fallen into self-neglect — the most common form of mistreatment among the elderly and a risk factor for early death, according to geriatric research.
In the Houston area, more than 60 percent of 1,500 cases handled each month by Adult Protective Services deal with elderly people who no longer can protect and provide for themselves, APS officials said.

People tend to dismiss odd behavior in the elderly as eccentricity, or they don't want to get involved in someone else's affairs, experts say. But self-neglect is likely to increase as baby boomers grow older, they say, making intervention and prevention more important than ever.
"We're trying to educate the public and people dealing with the elderly about the services available to them," said James Booker, director of Region 6 of APS, which oversees Harris County and 12 surrounding counties.



Abridged
SOURCE:    CHRON.COM
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May 25, 2011

Penalty for Dumping Elderly Parents Pushed (PHILIPPINES)


Penalty for dumping elderly parents pushed
 May 23, 2011

Written by : Bernadette E. Tamayo
ANY individual who would abandon his or her parent “in any place” would be imprisoned up to 10 years or pay a fine of P300,000 if a measure filed by Sen.Panfilo Lacson becomes law.

He filed Senate Bill 2819 allowing a parent, who is in need of 
support, may file a petition for support before the court and pray for the issuance of a support order against those children who failed or refused to provide the necessary support.

Lacson lamented that despite 
Filipinos close family ties, some still abandon their elderly, sickand incapacitated parents to fend for themselves. SB 2819 mandates children to “show filial responsibility” to their parents at their time of need. 

A respondent who continues to fail in giving support for three consecutive months without justifiable cause, faces imprisonment of one to six months or a fine of P100,000.

“We Filipinos are well-known for our close family ties. Because of this close family ties, we have the usual inclination to care for our elderly.  However, even with this close family ties, there are elderly, sick and incapacitated parents who are abandoned by their children,” he said. 

SB 2819 states that legal representation of the parent will be provided by the Public Attorney’s Office and no court fees will be assessed. It also seeks to establish an Old Age Home for the elderly, sick or otherwise incapacitated parents in every province and highly urbanized cities.

Lacson noted the rules requiring children to support their parents “have existed for thousands of years.” SB 2819 also calls for a support order to compel children to provide the necessary support to their parent. 

“Such an order shall include the name of the children required to give support, the amount necessary for the support of their parent and the share of each of the children. The death of one of the children of the parent in need of support will not affect the liability of others,” he said. 

“But if the court determines after due notice and hearing that the parent in need of support abandoned, abused or neglected the respondent, it may dismiss the petition or may reduce the quantum of support ordered by such amount as may be just,” Lacson said.





SOURCE:     The Journal.com.ph
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Abuse of Older People Increasing (I.E)

Health bits: Abuse of older people increasing
May 23 2011

There were 2,110 complaints of abuse of older people reported to the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year but this is likely to be an underestimate.
Oonagh McAteer, an elder abuse officer with the HSE, said the real incidence could be five times higher than this.
Psychological abuse is the main problem, followed by financial abuse in nearly one-in-five cases. More than one in 10 were suffering physical abuse.


SOURCE:    The Independent.ie
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Buncombe County Reports Rise in Abuse of Elderly (USA)


Buncombe County, NC, reports rise in abuse of elderly and mentally disabled adults
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 
May 23, 2011

Abuse of the elderly and other vulnerable adults has more than doubled in Buncombe County over the past few years, a trend that is being echoed across the state, adult services officials said.
In Buncombe County, protective services workers responded to 797 reports of adult abuse last year, compared with 318 cases in 2005, The Asheville-Citizen Times reported Monday.
Nancy Warren, program administrator for the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, said incidents of elder abuse are also rising elsewhere.
"We're definitely seeing the same pattern across the state," Warren said.
Adult protective services workers in North Carolina have responded to nearly 10,000 reports so far this fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services figures. Five years ago, 6,670 cases were reported in a one-year period.
And national research indicates that for every adult abuse complaint filed, as many as two dozen more go unreported, Warren said.
"I don't know what we would do if the actual numbers were reported," Warren said. "It's an enormous problem."
Warren said more active reporting of elder abuse accounts for some of the rise, but other reasons include insufficient support services for mentally disabled individuals, and shorter medical stays without sufficient home follow-up care.



Abridged
SOURCE:    The Daily Journal
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May 14, 2011

"Despicable" Care Worker Stole From Elderly (UK)


"Despicable" care worker stole from elderly
12th May 2011

A FORMER carer who stole money from two vulnerable elderly people has been branded “despicable” by her former boss.
Kelly Wright admitted stealing £120 each from a man aged 91 and a woman aged 81 – after she entered their homes in Malvern using a secret key code.
Wright, aged 26, of Moat Crescent, Malvern, admitted two counts of burglary when she appeared before magistrates in Worcester.
The court was told Wright knew the codes from when she had previously worked as a carer for Malvern-based Care 4 Me.
After the hearing, Brian Lee, director of the company, said: “I think it’s despicable of any person who is entrusted to look after the vulnerable to behave in this dreadful manner and to take advantage of them.
"It was through the assistance we provided she was identified and brought to justice.”
Mr Lee said Wright had been subject to full criminal and professional checks before being employed.
He has written to all his clients with a key code urging them to regularly change that code.
Matt Dodson, prosecuting, said the burglary on Friday, February 4, was of a 91-year-old retired doctor living alone in a bungalow.
He had been in his lounge when Wright called at his home at about 5pm and assumed it was one of his evening carers but later discovered £120 was missing from his wallet.
CCTV footage showed a dark blue Citroën Saxo at the scene, which led police to Wright.
In the other incident on Friday, January 14, the victim was an 81-year-old woman who received care in her home three times a day.
Mr Dodson said: “She was aware a girl had entered her bedroom. She said: ‘Who is it?’ and she said ‘It’s Jess’.
"She heard the female on the stairs and said she was quite frightened at the time. She discovered £120 had gone missing from her handbag.”
When interviewed by police Wright – who has no previous convictions – initially denied she had been to the two properties, but later admitted it.
Mr Dodson said: “She was asked why she did so and she said it was because she was in arrears with her council tax and had debts of £1,000.
"She said she felt bad about committing these crimes on vulnerable people and said she had contemplated suicide and had written a note while on police bail.”
Amer Hussain, defending, said Wright was not picked out at an identity parade and it was her own admission that led to the facts of the case coming to light.
He said: “She has expressed remorse to the police for what has taken place and is liaising with police to try and repay the individuals.”
The case was adjourned for sentencing on Tuesday, May 17, and Wright was released on unconditional bail.



SOURCE:      The Worchester Mews
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Abuse of Elders, Often by Family Members, is a Growing Problem (USA)


Abuse of elders, often by family members, is a growing problem
by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
April 28, 2011
Moorhead, Minn. —
It was an April evening a year ago when a mother and son began arguing in their Moorhead home. She accused him of stealing her money.
The unemployed and divorced son, 57, who had moved into the home three and a half years earlier, choked his mother as she sat in her rocking chair, according to court documents. He then pushed or threw her down the basement stairs.
While she lay at the bottom of the stairs, her son stepped over her as he went outside to bury 369 $100 bills in the backyard. About 45 minutes later he called an ambulance.
Like many victims of elder abuse, the woman didn't want to tell her story. The woman still fears her son will harm her. MPR News has decided not to name him to protect her identity.
But her plight is increasingly common. Elder abuse isn't tracked as a crime in Minnesota, so statistics are hard to come by, but experts say the problem is growing.
The abuse frequently happens in the victim's home, and the abuser is often a family member. The typical case involves money, physical abuse or neglect -- sometimes with brutal consequences.
The Moorhead woman suffered a broken hip, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs. No longer able to live independently, she will be in a nursing home for the rest of her life, Clay County Prosecutor Jenny Samarzja said.
Prosecutors were only able to charge her son with third-degree assault.
It's not clear how often such abuse occurs.
Minnesota tracks abuse involving vulnerable adults -- anyone 18 and older who is physically or mentally impaired and unable to care for themselves. More than of the reported cases of vulnerable adult abuse in Minnesota involve people 65 and older, according to the state Department of Human Services.
Nationally, an estimated 11 percent of people 60 and older experience some form of abuse or exploitation, according to a 2009 study by the National Institute of Justice.
But only about 20 percent of all cases are ever reported, say experts at the National Center on Elder Abuse.



SOURCE:     Minnesota Public Radio
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Jury Trial Set for ex-Police Sergeant Accused of Stealing from Mother (USA)


Jury trial set for ex-Salinas police sergeant accused of stealing from mother

May. 12, 2011

A former Salinas police sergeant is set to undergo a jury trial in a couple of weeks on charges that he stole more than $40,000 from his mother.
Jay Malispina, a 19-year veteran of the force, is accused of taking $40,600 of his mother's money and transferring it to his own bank account for personal expenses, including gifts to her grandchildren, San Jose Sharks tickets, a cruise and home improvement projects.
The defendant is accused of committing the crimes against Karolyn Malispina between 2004 and 2008.
A total of 11 checks — ranging from $300 to $5,000 — are believed to have been written, signed and transferred to Malispina's bank account, which was also listed under his then ex-wife's name.
Malispina, who was with the Salinas police at the time of his arrest, has since retired from the department.
Today, Juliet Peck, his attorney, told Monterey County Superior Court Judge Terrance Duncan that the trial remains set for May 23. The case is expected to return to court on May 18.

SOURCE:     The Californian
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Nun Scammer Found Guilty of Financial Elder Abuse (USA)


Nun Scammer Found Guilty of Financial Elder Abuse
Jury Convicts Denise D'Sant Angelo on 12 Felony Counts
May 11, 2011

A Santa Barbara jury today found Denise D'Sant Angelo guilty of embezzling $30,000 from an elderly couple whose home was about to go into foreclosure. The bespectacled fraudster, convicted last year of lining her pockets with money meant to save housing for a group of nuns, convinced the husband and wife she was skilled in the ways of financial and legal maneuvering and could save their home if they paid her.
She didn't, and Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota proved in court that D'Sant Angelo used the money to pay for her rent and other personal expenses. She met the victims while going door-to-door on behalf of the nuns, and it was revealed during the trial that D'Sant Angelo often pitted members of the victims' family against one another to her advantage.
The jury convicted D'Sant Angelo on six counts of felony financial elder abuse, six counts of felony grand theft, and one count of misdemeanor unlawful practice of law. She was also found guilty of the special allegation that she committed the crimes – spread out over the course of a year-and-a-half – while she was out on bail during her prior embezzlement case. If she receives the maximum sentence this time, D'Sant Angelo faces 11 years in prison.
Judge Frank Ochoa granted Cota's request that D'Sant Angelo's bond be forfeited and she be immediately taken into custody. He argued she's a threat to the public and showed herself willing to continue scamming people while out on bail. Ochoa agreed, and D'Sant Angelo was lead out of the courtroom in handcuffs shortly after the jury was dismissed.
Cota said immediately after the verdicts were read it was telling that the jury, after deliberating for only three hours, reached a unanimous decision after listening to D'Sant Angelo tell her side of the story on the stand for four days. During closing remarks, Cota called D'Sant Angelo a “textbook case of a con artist, plain and simple,” and that she “gained [the victims'] confidence in order to steal their money.”
D'Sant Angelo will be back in court on Monday, June 6 for a sentencing hearing.



SOURCE:     Independent.com
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May 8, 2011

Huge Under-Reporting of Elder Abuse (IRELAND)


'Huge under-reporting of elder abuse'
08/05/2011
by Niall Hunter, Editor - www.irishhealth.com

The HSE receives over 2,000 referrals to its elder abuse service each year, the annual meeting of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has been told.
However, Oonagh McAteer, an elder abuse officer with the HSE, said it was felt that elder abuse was hugely under-reported and the yearly incidence of abuse could be five times this number.
She said there had been 2,110 referrals of cases of suspected elder abuse made to the HSE last year. In 70% of cases the elderly people involved have been over 75.
Ms McAteer told the meeting in Galway that 30% of cases were psychological abuse, followed by neglect and financial abuse at just under 20%, followed by physical abuse at 12%.
She said there was a misperception that elder abuse was mainly happening in nursing homes. However, HSE data showed that 82% of abuse victims were living at home and 95% of abuse was alleged to have occurred in a person's place of residence.
Ms McAteer said the person most often causing concern was a family member and in 46% of cases a close family member, son or daughter. In over half of the cases the alleged abuser and victim lived together. The data showed that that 62% of alleged victims were women.
She said a study published last year by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP) showed that 2.2% of older people felt they had experienced abuse or neglect in the previous year.
This indicated that there could be 10,000 elder abuse cases in any one year.
Ms McAteer said when the NCPOP study was broadened out to include any episode of mistreatment or abuse over the age of 65, it was estimated that nearly 19,000 people in Ireland are victims.
Prof Cecily Kelleher, head of the UCD School of Public Health, told the meeting there were high rates of heart disease, respiratory conditions and suicide among the Traveller community and the smoking rate in the community was 60%.
Discussing details from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study, she said there was virtually nobody over the age of 50 among travellers.
Prof Kelleher said there was a higher level of discrimination among travellers in Ireland than that encountered by the African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States.



SOURCE:     The IrishHealth
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3 Cases Revealed, But Elder Abuse Largely Hidden (USA)


3 cases revealed, but elder abuse largely hidden
May 08, 2011

Donna Tower's uncle told his family that someone was stealing his money, but the family didn't believe him at first because he has Alzheimer's.

In the end, the family learned that he was telling the truth - that the administrator of a Winterville nursing home was taking his money, and his brother's, but no one would believe him.
"(She) had been taking their checks and we didn't realize it," Tower said. "My uncle with Alzheimer's had said someone was stealing his money all along, but we just brushed it off because we thought it was just in his mind."
Sherrye Dianne Huff, former administrator of the Winterville Retirement Center, was arrested Monday on five felony charges - three counts of theft and two counts of exploiting an elderly or disabled person - and one count of misdemeanor theft for stealing from the Alzheimer's patient.
The investigator, Winterville police Sgt. Jimmy Fulcher, discovered while looking into the theft case that elder abuse is more widespread than people realize.
He arrested another Winterville Retirement Center employee on charges she punched another Alzheimer's patient in the face for taking some butter off a food cart in the facility's dining hall.
The 82-year-old resident died a few weeks later and authorities are investigating to see if her death was related to the assault.
Soon after, police say another employee of the Winterville Retirement Center stole drugs that had been prescribed for the patient who died, and police later found out the administrator was stealing money from other residents.
The three cases of abuse and financial exploitation happened in less than three months.
"More than likely, (elder abuse) it's more widespread than we know," said Fulcher, who last week launched a fourth investigation into the possible theft of money from another Winterville Retirement Center resident.

The first case Fulcher investigated at Winterville Retirement Center happened Feb. 22, when employee Cynthia Ann Barrow punched the Alzheimer's patient, then told police that she only pushed the woman, who then slipped.




"Elder abuse is one of the most unrecognized and under-reported crimes," said Ravae Graham, a deputy director with the state Department of Human Services. "Many abuse victims don't realize it, don't know what to do about it, or are too afraid to report their abuse or neglect."
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that for each documented case of neglect or abuse, five cases go unreported.
Though people place trust in professionals to take care of their loved ones, relatives need to look for signs of abuse, according to an Athens woman, who took her mother out of an area nursing home after only a month when she discovered employees weren't giving her mother the medication she needed.

Complaints about abuse or neglect can be made with the ORS online at https://services.georgia.gov/dhr/reportfiling/searchFacility.do?action=constituentComplaint.
Anyone who suspects that elder abuse is occurring should call Adult Protective Services at (888) 774-0152 or the state Department of Community Health's Healthcare Facility Regulation Division at (800) 878-8442.


Abridged
SOURCE:    OnlineAthens.com



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

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