Empowering Seniors with relevant Information on Elder Abuse.
"Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person”. (WHO)
Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.
Let me start with acknowledging the kindness and generosity of many authors of articles posted on this blog. This blog would not have been successful, if not for the many excellent articles written on the subject of Elder Abuse.
We must not be complacent of the fact that majority of Elder Abuse cases are NOT reported. These are cases where the elderly victims are too frightened of losing the only family they have or, because they believed they are somehow responsible for what happened to them.
We must continue to highlight the fact that Elder Abuse is NOT acceptable in any language, shape or form.
Neglect or inaction, when you are responsible for the health and welfare of your parent(s) or charge, is also elder abuse.
Do we tell the elderly: “Sorry, your claim to Human Rights has expired, when you turn 65 years old.”
It is incredible that aside from “so-called” inquiries/reports made by politicians to delay making definitive actions to stop Elder Abuse; nothing much has happened. This is still the scenario.
Financial Abuse of Elderly Underreported, Study by Professor Shows
Dec. 15, 2011
Financial exploitation of the elderly is underreported, underinvestigated and underprosecuted — and victims may be particularly vulnerable during the holidays, according to a leading expert on elder abuse at the University of Virginia School of Law.
"Because financial exploitation typically involves family members and is often driven by the financial need of the individual exploiting the victim, I would expect financial exploitation of elderly persons to increase significantly during the holiday season," said Thomas L. Hafemeister, an associate professor at the Law School and an associate professor of medical education in the School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences.
Hafemeister and Shelly Jackson, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, are in the process of publishing a dozen related articles about their research on elder abuse.
They conducted a study in Virginia that examined the financial exploitation of elderly people living in a domestic setting compared to other forms of elder maltreatment, such as physical abuse, neglect, and a combination of financial exploitation and physical abuse or neglect.
They found that adult protective services caseworkers tend to view financial exploitation cases as more difficult to investigate than cases of physical abuse or neglect. And they found that caseworkers believe that police and prosecutors are less likely to pursue incidents of financial exploitation.
Elderly people who were victims of financial exploitation lost a sizable amount of money and assets, with average losses of $87,967, the researchers found.
While it is widely believed that primarily con artists target the elderly's finances, in most cases financial exploitation was actually committed by someone close to the victim, often a family member.
"There's a mistaken assumption that the people who exploit elderly individuals are strangers, are predators; that there is this cadre of individuals out there in the community, roaming around and looking for victims," Hafemeister said. "Well, that's not the way this typically works. Sure, there are some individuals who will move from victim to victim, but that's relatively infrequent. Generally, it's someone very well known to the individual."
Financial exploitation of the elderly can be devastating, Hafemeister said, partly because the lost funds are often essential in helping the senior citizen to maintain independence, and partly because the perpetrators are so often someone the victim trusted and relied upon.
The prevalence of elder abuse — including financial exploitation — is uncertain, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging's National Center on Elder Abuse. According to the best available estimates, roughly 700,000 to 3.5 million older Americans are abused, neglected or exploited each year, the agency reports. And research suggests that as few as one in six cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
As a result of financial exploitation and abuse, senior citizens across the U.S. lose a minimum of $2.6 billion per year, according to a Metlife Mature Market Institute report in 2009.
By all accounts, the problem is expected to grow worse in the years ahead as the baby boom generation reaches age 65. By 2030, older Americans are projected to make up 20 percent of the nation's population, or roughly double what it was in 2007, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.
To minimize the chances of becoming a victim of financial exploitation, Hafemeister advises senior citizens to avoid becoming too dependent on a single person, no matter how much they trust that person.
It also helps, Hafemeister said, to have multiple people staying in contact with the elderly person and watching out for warning signs, such as worrisome changes in the senior citizen's behavior, an overreliance on a single person, or a pushing away of family members and others with whom the senior citizen had previously been close.
"Having multiple sets of eyes involved can provide oversight, as well as some checks and balances, to discourage exploitation, and if it occurs, to catch it at a relatively early stage," he said. "Similarly, friends and relatives would be well advised to stay as actively involved in an elderly person's life as possible so that warning signals of financial exploitation can be readily detected and remedial steps taken to minimize losses."
Hafemeister said he is skeptical that new laws specifically targeting financial abuse of the elderly will have a significant impact on the problem. Rather, he said, better training of caseworkers, police and prosecutors might be more effective.
In larger cities, he noted, prosecutors have established special units devoted to investigating and pursuing allegations of elder abuse, particularly financial exploitation.
"Either those prosecutors have special training to aid them in examining financial transactions involving elderly persons or they have available to them experts in this field. And that seems to make a big difference," he said. "For smaller communities, however, it can be difficult to find the resources to set up this sort of special unit. Such communities may instead turn to regional training programs and a pooling of resources."
Sad to say, but elder abuse in nursing homes is not as uncommon in California as was thought, and even in other areas across the United States. To prove this matter, one such terrible scenario can be accounted of what happened just outside of California which has attracted the attention to the matter. Sadly, it was the very caretaker of the elderly woman who was the one behind the maltreatment.
Not too long ago, a woman, 68 years old, was discovered in her apartment in Indianapolis, Indiana gagged, beaten, and tied up. Apparently, this elderly woman has been bound for two days already in her apartment well before the neighbors realized the woman was hitting the walls of her apartment as a cry for help. Based on the statement given by the police, the elderly woman’s caregiver, who is also her roommate, cracked the threats by telling her that she was going to cut up the woman’s body with a chainsaw and then bury her dead body just behind the house. The caregiver was said to have taken an insurance policy with a worth of $10,000 on the client’s account.
Officials gave statements that for each elder abuse case that has been reported to them, there are about 25 cases that do not get reported to them too, which simply means that this amount of victims go through such experience in silence and with no help coming to them. The usual preys of elder abuse are those elderly ones who are suffering from dementia. In one nursing home abuse case coming from Michigan, there were three men who kidnapped an elderly man who was at a long term care facility. Based on wxyz.com, the three men kidnapped a man, who was 90 years old and was suffering from dementia, from the nursing home where the man supposedly lived. A surveillance video of the event showed of two men picking up the elderly man and then lifting him up over the wall of the nursing home where he has been a resident.
The reason as to why the men kidnapped the 90-year-old man is still not apparent or whether or not the kidnappers were somehow related to this elderly patient. This 90-year-old who is going through dementia was discovered at a motel in a town just around the area. These two tales very well emphasize the possible susceptibility of elderly people who require care and attention and the cruelty of the culprit who perform abuse on the elderly.
The financial abuse of seniors will be one of society’s most significant issues in the next decade, Canadian Centre for Elder Law national director Laura Watts predicted.
An aging population, increased forms of dementia and widespread economic illiteracy are factors in an inevitable “tsunami of financial abuse”, a federal report on the care of vulnerable Canadians published in November stated.
Elder financial abuse is most often perpetuated by family members and close caregivers, the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care report, Not To be Forgotten, said. Conditions for a “perfect storm” of financial abuse are becoming more obvious as the first of the baby boomer generation, largely less well off than their parents, begin to retire.
Of the 35 cases of reported elder abuse in York Region in 2011, half were financial abuse related, York Regional Police seniors safety officer Const. Robyn Kassam said.
Financial abuse of an elderly person can take many forms, Const. Kassam said.
Warning signs include money going missing from bank accounts, wills and powers of attorney being changed unexpectedly and safety deposit boxes being emptied. Other red flags are persons befriending an elderly widow or widower, title being changed, unusual transactions on credit cards, multiple bank accounts and property or securities going missing.
It doesn’t stop there, she said.
If cheques are being written and cashed, signatures forged, mail not coming to the home or if someone changes the amount on cheques, a senior is being swindled.
According to Toronto Police Services, seniors, their caregivers and those familiar with their circumstances should be vigilant when an elderly person is suddenly short of money to pay for living expenses or if the senior has been brought to sign legal documents they say they don’t understand.
Elder abuse, including senior financial abuse, is on the rise, but remains a largely hidden scourge, experts said.
Most of the reports submitted and investigated in York Region had no criminal charges laid, Const. Kassam said.
That’s not to say related charges can’t be pursued. These include theft, theft by persons holding power of attorney, misappropriation of money held under direction, forgery, fraud, extortion, stopping mail with intent and false pretenses.
Punishment, subject to the value or amount of money involved, ranges from two to 10 years in jail.
The intricacies and consequences of a will and power of attorney deserve expert scrutiny, Mr. Kotzer said. Without protection against misappropriation of assets, you can literally be out on the street.
If this year's holiday period is anything like the last, seniors should be advised that, along with seasonal elevations of joy and good cheer, the risk of falling victim to elder financial abuse is also increasing. Older adults need to know the warning signals of financial abuse and exploitation, how to prevent it, and what to do if it does occur.
According to research conducted by Karen A. Roberto, director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, of the 1,128 news articles on elder abuse published from November 2010 through January 2011, 31 percent dealt with abuse of a financial nature. Although slightly more than one-quarter of these events were identified as singular random acts incurring relatively minor financial losses, a high level of brutality and disregard for human life characterized these crimes. Even more disturbing is the revelation that family, friends, and neighbors were identified as perpetrators in 45 percent of these cases and the overall dollar losses at the hands of family and friends were higher than from any other category of perpetrators.
"Our findings support what service providers have long suspected, older adults are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse during the holidays," said Roberto, who also serves as a professor of human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. "This might be due to the increase in the frequency of visitors in- and-out of their homes, money flowing more freely, and distractions that take them out of their normal routines."
10 tips for seniors to consider now and throughout the year
Preventing financial abuse begins with the elder. Some key considerations in avoiding such a situation include:
Stay active and engage with others; isolation increases both vulnerability and opportunity for victimization.
Monitor your financial affairs. Even if assistance is needed, you or a trusted friend or family member should double check bank and credit card statements and other financial transactions. It is advisable to use direct deposit when possible and to sign your own checks if able.
Stay organized. Know where your financial documents are (including wills, trusts, and power of attorney). Keep them safe and review annually; update as circumstances change.
Discuss benefits of appointing a Power of Attorney with your attorney so that your directives can be adhered to even if you become incapable of stating them yourself.
Be cautions in making financial decisions. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into making a hasty decision. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never give out bank account, social security or credit account numbers to solicitors.
Protect your passwords. Do not share banking, computer or ATM passwords with others, and notify company or bank if you notice any questionable charges or transactions.
Beware of telephone solicitations. It is not rude to hang up when an unknown caller tries to talk you into doing something you don't want to do or buying something you don't want. Hang up! Then call the National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222 to reduce the number of solicitation calls you receive.
Be careful of individuals who may take advantage of you. Elder financial abuse can be committed by anyone, including caregivers or family members. Be wary if anyone pressures you to do something with your money or possessions that you are not sure you want to do (e.g. adding their name to your bank accounts or property titles). Be especially careful of someone who tries to keep you isolated from others, and call a trusted family member or the police.
Recognize potential financial abusers. Most abusers are very persuasive in convincing the elder of their trustworthiness. Again, never make a monetary decision without talking it over with someone you are sure has your best interests at heart.
Know what to do if you believe you are a victim of financial abuse. Put aside your fear or embarrassment and discuss your concerns with someone you trust, be it another family member, clergyman, bank manager, or attorney.
Joe Quick, 45, 1528 Shenta Drive in Norcross faces multiple charges after police say he approached elderly women claiming their cars were broken before demanding to fix them on the spot.
A Norcross man arrested Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, suspected of scamming local elderly women faces multiple charges.
Joe Quick, 45, 1528 Shenta Drive, has been charged with two counts of theft by deception, two counts of robbery by intimidation, three counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception and four counts of elder abuse — exploitation.
According to police, Quick would approach elderly women and claim the driver's car was broken before demanding to fix it on the spot.
came forward after an initial press release was picked up by local and regional media outlets. The victims were females ranging in age from 60 to 78.
Cooper said in an e-mail that Quick had an extensive criminal history of similar offenses in Georgia and Florida and was also found to be on felony probation out of Dekalb County for the same type offenses.
Since the arrest, the Winder Police Department has gotten calls from several surrounding metro area counties that have seen reports of similar type encounters from elderly females and those jurisdictions are now looking at Quick as a potential suspect.
A caregiver was ordered held without bond today on charges of murder, elder abuse, embezzlement and identity theft in connection with the death of his 79-year-old client in Detroit.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office charged Gerald Nash, 67, today with killing William Houston, 79, in August at the Riverfront Apartments in Detroit.
Nash is accused of killing Houston through medical neglect and taking financial advantage of the older man.
Nash was arraigned in Detroit 36th District Court on charges of felony murder — carrying a mandatory life sentence without parole — second-degree murder, first and second degree abuse of a vulnerable adult, identity theft, check fraud, embezzlement of a vulnerable adult and taking $1,000-$5,000 under false pretenses.
He was jailed without bond pending a Dec. 28 preliminary examination.
The state is not doing enough to protect vulnerable adults from abuse-- that's the allegation in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont.
The advocates first raised this issue a year ago. They say Adult Protective Services has failed to respond in a timely manner to abuse allegations and is carrying a backlog of more than 300 cases.
Among the specific shortcomings-- a lack of emergency coverage on nights and weekends, and a case load for investigators that is twice the national standard. "Vulnerable adults are people incapable of protecting themselves from the nephew who steals the Social Security check or the caregiver who leaves the woman with physical and cognitive limitations sitting in her feces," said Barbara Prine of the Disability Law Project.
State officials did not respond to our requests for an interview. Back in June, they said they had put in place new procedures to help improve response time and eliminate the backlog. But they say a lack of funding limits what the agency can do.
The advocates for the elderly and disabled say Vermont should have a system in place for Adult Protective Services that functions at the same speed as Child Protective Services.
Abandoned by children, elderly couple fasts for justice
December 9, 2011
Harassed, tortured and abandoned by their children, an ailing elderly couple sat on a hunger strike for four days demanding justice before police intervened and the couple smilingly went back home to their village in Maharashtra.
The couple – Waman D. Sonawane, 75, and wife Tarru, 71 – sat on the pavement outside the sub-district office in Shirur Tuesday and ended their indefinite strike friday.
Speaking to reporters, the duo said they had divided their farmland and other belongings and handed over every thing to their two sons — Ramesh and Dattatray — a few years ago.
“After that, our life became miserable. Our sons made us live separately and forced us to go out and work. At our age, it was not possible for us to do any hard work or manual labour. We feel ashamed to have such unworthy children,” Waman said with tears streaming down his cheeks.
Tarru, also is tears, said they made several attempts to get justice from their village Shirasgaonkata, but the gram panchayat ignored their plight.
“Many times they did not give us food. Even what they gave was barely sufficient to fill our stomachs. We were forced to sit on a hunger strike in public because the village panchayat did not bother to listen to us and take action against our children under the harassment laws,” Tarru said.
The local media coverage finally moved the police to summon the two sons.
When questioned on their parents’ plight, the two first blamed each other and then reportedly said they could not afford to look after them.
The police checked their financial status and found that they could jointly look after their parents.
“The two have now agreed to contribute Rs.1,500 each per month and deposit the amount in a local bank account in their parents names. The parents, who live separately in another house, would look after themselves and lead a comfortable life,” police inspector Shirur Ashok Kshirsagar told IANS.
The police have warned the two sons against any further harassment.
Following the amicable settlement, the Sonawane couple wearily smiled before a large crowd which sympathised with them, called off their hunger strike and returned to their village, around 60 km from here.
Abuse of the elderly is increasing in Japan amid the rapid aging of the country's society.
The welfare ministry says the number of elderly people abused by family members and caregivers hit a record high last year.
The ministry says the number of such cases reported in the year through March was over 16,700, up more than 1,000 from the previous year. The annual rise is the 4th in a row since related surveying began in 2006.
Physical abuse was reported in 63 percent of the cases, followed by verbal abuse at 39 percent.
Twenty-six percent of the cases involved neglect, such as extended failure to feed or attend to victims.
Among family members responsible for abuse, 43 percent were sons, 17 percent husbands and 16 percent daughters.
The survey also shows that nearly half of the victims had symptoms of dementia.
Japan's population aged 65 or older has reached nearly 30-million, for a record high of over 23 percent as of September 2011.
A 90-year-old woman wanted to help her family avoid probate when she died, so she deeded her house to her son, with his encouragement. The son then bought the BMW convertible he'd always wanted, a new house, a big boat and other things he couldn't afford. He used his mother's home to guarantee those loans. She lost the home.
It raises the question: "What are you going to do with a 90-year-old homeless grandmother?"
It's just one example of financial exploitation of senior citizens that happens every day. One of the most underreported crimes, a conservative estimate places its impact at $1.5 million per week just in Utah. The repercussions affect not only the senior citizens and their families, but financial institutions, governments and taxpayers.
There is help, however.
Utah is at the forefront of helping seniors and their caregivers learn how to better manage their finances and prevent such exploitation.
One tool is a book, "Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over." It was written by Jilenne Gunther, an attorney with the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services, with a foreword by former Gov. Olene S. Walker.
Another tool is a program offered by Bank of American Fork called third party monitoring. Under it, a senior citizen may designate to a trusted person view-only access to his or her bank accounts in order to see what transactions are taking place, in an effort to stop exploitation before it becomes too great.
"Banks need to protect the people who are the most vulnerable," Bank of American Fork president Rick Beard said. "We've seen instances where people have caused problems. We've been giving financial tools to people in charge of taking care or to the elderly themselves. The idea behind it is that while it won't solve everything, it makes people aware and gives tools to protect some of the different kinds of fraud that we see. Monitoring and teaching are important parts."
He has personally met with seniors with such problems and said it is devastating to see a senior with those concerns.
"It's really hard to see them when they have lost their ability to sustain themselves," he said. "We're trying to put back into the community with a government-private relationship. We're working together to deal with a very real problem. Hopefully it allows the seniors a chance to enjoy their golden years without worrying about money."
Kathleen Quinn, director of the National Adult Protective Services Association, praised the program.
"I do not know of any other banks that are using the third party monitoring," she said. "I think it has a lot of potential. It's always good to have more eyes, checks and balances."
A book can be ordered FREE:
While supplies last, the book may be ordered free of charge by calling (801) 538-3910 or going to http://legalguide55.utah.gov. Copies have been sent to public libraries and senior citizen centers in Utah.
The average exploitation per case is $128,288. For those with mental impairment, that amount increases to $143,068. If Medicare costs are included, that figure increases to $171,600.
The closer the exploiter is to the senior, the greater the average amount for exploitation.
° The average loss per case when a child is the perpetrator is $157,326.
* The average loss per case when a family member is the exploiter is $125,193
(a 47 percent increase more than the average exploitation).
* The average loss per case when a grandchild is the perpetrator is $45,496.
* The average loss per case when a paid caregiver is the perpetrator is
* The average loss per case when the perpetrator had some sort of addiction
(alcohol, gambling, alcohol) was $25,688.
* The average loss per case when a stranger is the perpetrator is $30,219.
Methods of exploitation include both finances and property.
* Withdrawals from bank account
* Check (forgery)
* Credit Card (open debit card without knowledge, identity theft, or "borrow card")
* Personal property
* House (stolen through transferring the property)
* Car theft or "borrowing"
* Rent (living off senior despite agreement)
* Medicaid (exploited senior now forced to be dependent on Medicaid
More recently, Dr. Pillemer has taken a different tack. Instead of the usual carefully randomized study comparing outcomes after controlling for characteristics X and Y, he and his colleagues have been interviewing people over age 70 — “experts,” he calls them — to ask what lessons they have learned in their many decades and what they would like to tell younger people about aging.
He has been at it for five years now, and one result is the book, “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.” Another is an accompanying Web site, The Legacy Project.
The advantage of the Web site is that video interviews allow users to meet the “experts,” hear their laughter and listen to their counsel (sometimes easier when they’re someone else’s parents) about marriage and family, work, health, faith, life in general. You can see why Dr. Pillemer has been captivated.
Paula Span is the author of “When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions.”
Employees in long-term care homes who know or suspect someone is abusing an elderly person need to know it's not OK to look the other way.
"We want to make sure everybody's aware of that so that if you see it, you're responsible to report it because you're now part of it. You know about it," said Linda Hutchinson, a registered psychiatric nurse who trained staff at a Saskatoon care home about elder abuse awareness.
"I think people hear the word abuse and they want to turn their back or walk away. They don't want to get involved. The awareness now is, 'I have to report this. This is not acceptable.' "
The training at Saskatoon's Porteous Lodge was part of a federally funded pilot project being tested across the country.
The Promoting Awareness of Elder Abuse in Long-Term Care Homes project was launched this year by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario and the Canadian Nurses Association to increase understanding among staff of the problem and to enhance their ability to respond to situations of abuse.
Widespread understanding and policies to refer to can help create a safe workplace atmosphere where staff know they will be supported if they bring forward concerns about things they've seen on the front lines, Hutchinson said.
"Staff are afraid of retaliation if they see one of their co-workers hit somebody or even steal or something like that. It puts everybody on awareness that we're all out there watching," she said.
"If it's nothing, that's fine, but at least they've brought it to attention because maybe there needs to be an investigation," she said.
Elders can be victimized in many different ways, including by workers' own unintended neglect, Hutchinson said.
"It's action or lack of action for someone placed in your trust. Sexual, emotional, physical, financial - many are intertwined," she said.
Abuse and neglect can be perpetrated by family members, staff or other residents of long-term care facilities.
Neglect of a person's needs can be as seemingly minor as providing juice to someone who asked for milk, Hutchinson said.
Abuse could be a male resident who sexually touches a woman with dementia or a visitor who steals money from a resident's room.
There are well-documented cases of serious financial abuse, such as a recent Saskatoon court case in which a man pleaded guilty to stealing $65,000 from his uncle with dementia after obtaining power of attorney, Hutchinson said.
"Its very prevalent. Everyday across the country there's something in the paper about it," she said.
"Very often in long-term care it takes a while to figure it out, but when the bills stop getting paid, when the family is no longer going to purchase clothing or provide haircuts or activity money and they're saying, 'No, no, no. There's no money,' it sets up a red flag that something may be going on.
"We involve the public trustee and the guardianship in Regina who would then step in and do some investigation.
Alert front-line workers are most likely to observe such abuse, she said.
Ten facilities across Canada were chosen to test the program, which is expected to be available to any long-term care home in the country that wants it.
More people are living longer. And in this week's Scrubbing Up, US elderly care expert Dr Bill Thomas says the way they are cared for needs to change.
An ageing society, unprecedented financial pressures and the fact that we just deserve better mean the standard care home model needs radical re-engineering.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed in October that the number of centenarians in the UK has increased fivefold in the last 30 years.
The seismic change in life expectancy is fantastic news.
But the typical care home model is still grounded in healthcare concepts developed well over 100 years ago by Florence Nightingale. And it needs a massive shift if it is to reflect older people's changing needs.
'Antiquated and wrong'
Our model, which we run at centres in the US, creates small communities for groups of older people and staff to focus on living full and vibrant lives.
It is a radical departure from traditional care homes. There are already more than 100 in the US but none yet in the UK.
It is based around households of seven to 10 older people, supported by specially trained highly versatile workers who provide a wide range of assistance including personal care, activities, meals and laundry.
Conventional long-term care makes the carers the stars of show, in the spotlight all the time.
This approach places the elders at centre stage: they, and their families, become active and involved decision-makers.
The staff are still there, but they are backstage, where they are supposed to be, helping people to be involved in every aspect of running the household, from cooking to budgeting.
I have realised that simply doing a better job within the standard model is not going to get us where we need to go. It doesn't work, it's antiquated and it's wrong.
It's better to live in a place that's about growth and development than a place that's about decline, disability and death.
What we believe about older people influences how they feel about themselves. Enabling older people to play an important part in the way a home is run helps them remain independent and happy.
It's the relationship, it's the connection, it's the belonging that counts. We have to teach people to see the elderly as growing human beings.
Interestingly, one of the biggest concerns I hear about the approach is "what will the regulator say?"
In the US, regulators have been persuaded of the merits of this approach because they have seen the positive outcomes for older people.
The fiscal crisis is, in a strange way, an advantage.
Carrying on the way we have always done things carries a very high risk of failure. It's time to change.
Fortunately, this is change we can accomplish without increasing spending. The art of care-giving has tremendous value, it can make a life worth living and it is worth doing well.
Building design plays a part in the concept.
Starting with a blank sheet of paper provides a chance to develop something completely new and that is being tried at places including West Hall, an Anchor development currently being built in Surrey.
There are many incremental changes that can be implemented today in every care home in the world which, taken together, would make a real difference in the lives of older people.
The important thing to understand is that we are moving away from care that is based on tasks and facilities and toward a future in which relationships matter most.
Dr Thomas is the founder of the Eden Alternative and set up the Green House Nursing Home, both in the US. He is a paid advisor for Anchor - which provides retirement and care homes - in the UK.
For many older adults, loneliness and isolation make them easy targets for mistreatment and neglect.
Victimization of older adults is defined as the mistreatment of senior people by those in a position of trust, power or responsibility for their care.
Elder abuse is a top priority for Crime Stoppers of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District.
Different forms of abuse are separated into four categories: physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse and neglect.
The abuse of an older adult may be by anyone; including a friend, family member, caregiver, neighbour or even a total stranger.
Quite often people are aware that elder abuse is occurring and are hesitantto get involved.
Crime Stoppers wants to address this reluctance to report crimes against our seniors and is encouraging members of the public to send information to www.saultcrimestoppers.com or call us at 942-7867 or 1-800-222-8477
Human Rights Day: Why we need a convention on the right of older people
Posted By Bridget Sleap
08 December 2011
This year Human Rights Day celebrates the bravery of human rights defenders and the power of human rights activism around the world.
In 2011, older women and men in 57 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe demanded that their rights be protected as part of HelpAge's Age Demands Action campaign. They called for greater political participation in the drafting and monitoring of laws that affect them.
They called for an end to the age discrimination that prevents them from accessing services, such as bank loans. And they called for measures to ensure that their rights, to health or social security for example, are protected.
Important year for older people's rights
2011 has been an important year for older people's rights. The Organization of American States has agreed to draft a new regional convention protecting the rights of older people. And in Africa, a regional human rights law on older people's rights is being drafted.
This year also saw the first UN Secretary General's report devoted entirely to older people's rights, recognising the specific human rights challenges they face. The Special Rapporteur on the right to health also published a report on key issues regarding older people's right to health.
Also in 2011, the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) met three times. The OEWG was set up so UN Member States can review how human rights instruments address older people's rights, identify any gaps in protection and explore the feasibility of new instruments, such as conventions.
Debating a convention
The discussion at these meetings revolved around four main gaps in protection: information, monitoring, implementation and normative gaps. Whilst there was general agreement on the first three, the fourth caused controversy and debate.
Member States supporting a new convention (predominantly from Latin America) argue that existing human rights instruments fail to protect older people's rights in the same way as those of women and children. They argue this lack of specific human rights instruments on older people's rights is a normative gap that needs filling with a convention.
Other Member States (predominantly from the European Union) argue that such standard setting is not the answer.
The question is: why not?
Better protection of older people's rights is crucial
Older people are a population group with specific requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to guarantee their rights. However, existing human rights instruments do not adequately articulate what measures need to be taken nor clarify governments' obligations to protect older people's rights.
MIPAA, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, cannot be relied on to fill these gaps. It is not a human rights instrument and therefore provides no clarification on states' human rights obligations towards older people. It is not enforceable and has no accountability or redress mechanisms, which are critical to the protection of human rights.
As a society, we recognise that denial of rights and discrimination based on gender, race or disability are totally unacceptable and that we need universal standards of behaviour and legal protection to prevent this. These standards are articulated in relevant human rights conventions.
So why don't we need similar standards against ageism and discrimination based on age?
Age discrimination and ageism are entrenched
Getting older is as much a part of being human as being a man or woman, or being from a particular ethnic group. Discrimination based on age is, therefore, as much a denial of our human rights as discrimination that is based on the colour of our skin or our sex.
Could it be that ageism is so deeply entrenched in society that we are not even aware that we are being ageist, let alone challenge it in others? This failure to recognise and act against ageism is no trivial matter. It results in loss of dignity, discrimination, and denial of rights.
Setting universal human rights standards that are then incorporated into national law would be a major step forward in ensuring ageism becomes as unacceptable as other forms of prejudice. A human rights convention explicitly prohibiting age discrimination and clarifying human rights obligations towards older people would provide the standards against which all action can be monitored, and those in authority held to account.
Standing alongside older activists
So as we celebrate the activism of the older women and men who are defending their rights, we must stand alongside them.
We must take the unique opportunity of the OEWG, which meets again in the summer of 2012, to challenge how society treats older people and to encourage more governments, particularly from Africa and Asia, to participate in the debate.
Finally, we should all push for specific human rights standards within a convention on the rights of older people that will protect our rights and maintain our dignity in later life.
An 82-year-old Thornhill widow fell victim to a fast-talking con posing as a contractor and was bilked out of $3,300.
The woman was approached by a man claiming to have surveyed her roof. It was about to leak badly, he told her. His crew could fix it fast and reasonably, no money up front.
“All they did was seal the chimney and eavestrough,” she said. “He came in my house and demanded payment. He came on strong and then was hostile. He scared me. I paid.”
A week later, the scammer was back, demanding taxes on the original bill. Again, the senior was intimidated.
“I kept quiet and didn’t say anything until two police officers showed up,” she said.
The case only came to light because the perpetrator was charged with 30 counts of fraud and police followed up with his victims.
The senior remained silent. She asked for anonymity, citing fear and shame. She is part of a growing and largely hidden elder abuse epidemic.
Up to 10 per cent of Canadian seniors experience some form of elder abuse, an Environics for Human Resources and Social Development Canada study stated.
More than 96 per cent of Canadians think most of the abuse experienced by older adults is hidden or goes undetected and believe the issue should be a health and safety priority for seniors and people entrusted with their well-being.
Elder abuse is rampant, York Region Social Services Network program manager Tazim Bhanji said.
Precise statistics are unavailable because most seniors, particularly those in the South Asian community, don’t report abuse.
“We can’t capture statistics,” she said. “We’re aware of the issue, but seniors are reluctant to tell anyone. In the South Asian community, it’s a cultural issue. Seniors feel reporting abuse, be it physical, financial or psychological, brings shame to the family.”
Aris Pakalns, owner of Newmarket’s Comfort Keepers, providers of non-medical home care, deems elder abuse a hidden and complicated problem.
“It’s a hot topic no one wants to talk about,” he said. “If you’re abusing someone, obviously, you’re not going to talk about it. If you’re being abused, you’re embarrassed and fear you’ll lose any help if you discuss it.”
Elder abuse is more than a distasteful and worrisome issue, York Regional Police seniors safety officer Const. Robyn Kassam said. It can also be a crime.
On average, the community service bureau, in which Const. Kassam works, receives 400 calls per month pertaining to seniors 65 and older. Most are medical, accident or theft calls, she said.
About 35 of the calls are categorized as elder abuse.
New York nursing home abuse lawyer David Perecman joins the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services in calling for an end to the over prescription of anti-psychotic drugs to nursing home patients with dementia. The issue was recently examined at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Aging. The New York nursing home abuse lawyers at The Perecman Firm have handled all types of nursing home abuse cases over the past 30 years.
(PRWEB) December 08, 2011
Last week a hearing of the Senate Committee on Aging spotlighted the overuse of antipsychotic drugs among nursing home residents with dementia. The drugs, intended to calm disruptive behavior, were a costly practice that raises the risk of death, said experts who testified before the committee.
“People working in health care need more training in understanding and responding to challenging behavior in ways that don’t require the use of medication,” said Perecman, a nursing home abuse lawyer in New York for over 30 years.
Fox News (12/1/2011) reported that prescribing psychiatric drugs to nursing home patients with dementia is an unapproved practice that has flourished despite repeated warnings by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Office of the Inspector General found that more than 80 percent of elders on these medications in nursing homes had dementia, reported the New York Daily News.
New York nursing home abuse lawyers at The Perecman Firm understand number of psychiatric drugs are known for their sedative effect. However, the FDA had issued a black box warning on the use of these drugs for dementia patients due to an apparent increase in the risk of death, according to webMD.com. (2008)
“Elder abuse and nursing home abuse are all too common and of very serious concern,” said Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s nursing home abuse law firms.
SOURCE: PR WEB
Bond granted for mother, daughter in elder abuse case
A mother and daughter, charged with murder in the death of an 85-year-old, have been granted bond in Columbia County.
Posted: Dec 7, 2011 Reporter: Staff
COLUMBIA CTY., Ga.
A mother and daughter, charged with murder in the death of an 85-year-old, have been granted bond in Columbia County.
According to jail records, Deborah Yvonne Hill and Brittany Michelle Hurst were both given bond on the murder and cruelty charges.
Investigators responded to a house on Locks Hill in Martinez back in Augusta to investigate the death of an elderly female. When they arrived, they found Blanche Carpenter had died in the care of Hill and Hurst. Investigators determined the death was suspicious. Autopsy results said Carpenter had been dead for two days. They say she had not been provided food or water for days or even weeks.
In addition to Carpenter, there were three children as well as Hill’s husband and grandmother in the home. Hill’s husband was relocated and placed under the supervision of Adult Protective Services. Her grandmother was taken to the hospital.
Hill was subsequently charged with murder, cruelty to children and two counts of cruelty to persons over 65. Hurst was charged with murder and two counts of cruelty to persons over 65.
An elderly Louisville woman is out thousands of dollars this holiday season. That's after she was conned by a man who claimed he was an LG&E contractor.
"Well, I am mad. He said he was from LG&E," says Joyce Gibson, the victim's sister.
Gibson has a lot to be mad about. On Tuesday, the man came to their home in the Highlands and told her 89-year-old sister he had been working on their home.
"He said they had to run a dummy line so we wouldn't lose power."
But it appears the only thing he really had to run was a scam.
"He said there was a small fee," Gibson said. I do not consider $2200 dollars a small fee."
The ladies wrote the man a check and even got a receipt; however, they soon realized he wasn't an LG&E employee.
"I thought something was strange 'cause I looked at his truck and I didn't see LG&E on it," Gibson said.
That was the first red flag, but not the only one. LG&E sent us a statement saying customers should always ask to see "the person's company-issued employee or contractor identification card."
And always look for the LG&E logo on the side of the vehicle.
Metro police are now investigating the crime.
"We don't believe he had a badge or a picture ID and LG&E is stressing to the community that no one would just show up at random; they will give some type of notice," said Det. John Fogle, with LMPD Crimes Against Seniors.
Fogle says you also don't have to stop with checking the ID.
"Even if they still question that, they should at least call either the police or LG&E and verify they do have a man in the area," Fogle said.
"Sad thing is this could have been prevented," said Gibson.
Not only could it have been prevented, but Gibson now admits they could have done more to protect themselves and their money. "We should have asked for ID; we know better and we didn't."
The suspect is described as a middle-age white male with wavy hair. He was driving a green pickup truck with an extended cab.
Based on a report in this newspaper on Tuesday, it appears that some don't even have the time for their own families.
Some 675,000, or one out of three people, aged 60 and above are abandoned by their children.
They do not receive financial support from those they brought into the world and raised, and are deprived of proper care.
Some are left in old folk's homes. Even worse are those "disposed" of in hospitals.
Indeed, there are the children who treat public hospitals as dumping grounds for their aged and infirm parents because food, shelter and medication there are provided by the government. It also saves them the hassle of applying for places for their parents in government-run welfare homes.
These children leave false addresses and phone numbers, and disappear after leaving their elderly parents under the care of the hospitals. There are such cases all over the country. Should laws be enacted to punish these miscreants?
In India, children who fail to provide a monthly allowance as ordered by the court can be jailed up to three months, or fined Rs5,000 (RM305).
In Taiwan, those who abandon their parents may face up to a year in prison or a fine of up to T$200,000 (RM20,740). The Maintenance of Parents Act 1995 in Singapore states that parents are entitled to make maintenance claims from their children.
Would counselling be a better option? Should research be carried out "to identify the root causes of why children are abandoning their parents"? Or should these unfilial offspring just be tied up and beaten with rubber hoses until they see the error of their ways?
Whatever the most effective method, what's certain is that these are the ugliest of Malaysians.
Elder abuse and neglect are growing problems with the rapid aging of the United States, but Chinese seniors in this country face special challenges, according to a new study presented at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) annual convention, held in Boston, in November.
When asked about being mistreated, Chinese elders interviewed for the study identified psychological mistreatment as the most serious form of abuse, said Chang. Other forms included financial exploitation, physical mistreatment and abandonment.
E-Shien Chang, a Chinese American researcher at Rush University’s Institute for Healthy Aging, in Chicago, spent five years with her colleagues studying members of the Windy City’s Chinese community, who participated in the institute’s program to prevent elder abuse and neglect.
She and Dr. XinQi Dong, also of Rush, worked with the Chinese American Service Alliance, Chicago’s largest organization serving the Chinese community in the Midwest, to collect data.
Their final report included findings from interviews with 39 Chinese seniors ages 60 or older, who participated in focus groups. The study participants indicated said that "caregivers' neglect," such as deliberate refusal to provide an elder food or medication, was especially common.
Chang emphasized that the perceptions of abuse by Chinese seniors differ somewhat from other ethic groups because Chinese elders tend to rely on their children to care for them and avoid hired care providers.
In Chinese culture adult children are traditionally responsible for taking caring for their aging parents, so Chinese seniors may have higher expectations for their caregivers, Chang said.
But as their children grow up in the United States and have more exposure to the American culture than traditional Chinese culture, the older Chinese immigrants are more vulnerable to perceived or actual emotional abuse. For example, she said, Chinese seniors may have broad definitions of abuse, such as hearing their children shout, "Go to hell," a deeply disrespectful affront for them.
The study was published in the Journal of Aging and Health last spring. Chang and her coauthors found, “Chinese older adults have limited knowledge of help-seeking resources other than seeking assistance from local community service centers.” Also, many older Chinese immigrants are further isolated because they don’t speak English, which disconnects them from mainstream American society.
Elder Abuse Awakening Day
Chang and her colleagues also worked with the Chinese community to launch anti-abuse activities.
In June, they launched the first Elder Abuse Awakening Day in Chicago’s Chinatown. They invited professionals to the event to educate Chinese seniors about ways to prevent elder abuse. Also, the event included an essay contest for teenagers who learned about elder abuse and wrote about how to identify and prevent it.
The GSA meeting attracted 3,800 gerontology scholars from 30 countries. Featured topics among more than 1,500 sessions and research papers, 500 of which included minority content. Topics covered such wide-raging subjects as senior health care, Social Security and pension issues, older workers and the impact of senior arts and cultural programs.
Rong Xiaoqing participated at the conference of the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowships, a program of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America. This article was translated from Chinese by Summer Chiang of New America Media.
DEMENTIA sufferers' complaints are being routinely ignored in Queensland nursing homes as management struggles to provide the care residents need.
Nurses and carers have told The Courier-Mail resident complaints go unanswered as home management write the complaints off as simply a result of their illness.
Other residents and family members have complained of heavy-handed treatment at homes, including calling the police to remove patients and carers who raise concerns.
"Complaints got residents nowhere if they had mild dementia or no regular visits from family," one care assistant wrote to The Courier-Mail detailing her time on nursing homes. "They were just dismissed as not knowing what they're talking about.
"I saw them humiliated and intimidated, spoken about offensively as if they weren't even in the room.
"I saw harsh treatment of people who cannot fend for themselves."
In its submission to the Productivity Commission's aged-care report, Alzheimer's Australia, which lobbies on behalf of all dementia sufferers and their carers, said dementia was one of the most common reasons for entering a nursing home.
"Dementia can no longer be considered an issue affecting a small population of older adults in aged care but must be seen as part of the core business of aged-care provision," it says.
"Dementia-specific services should not simply be a way of locking away difficult individuals from other residents.
"For the vast majority of residents with dementia there is no need to separate them from individuals who do not have cognitive impairment in dementia specific care.
"Facilities should be designed according to dementia-friendly principles and the quality of dementia care in mainstream facilities should be improved."
A Courier-Mail investigation recently found dozens of nursing homes had failed to meet basic government care standards.
Failures included bungled fire safety evacuations, residents forced to share prescription drugs, frail and elderly residents soiling their beds because there was no help, and homes where staff and volunteers had not passed police checks.
Chronic wounds were being left untreated, and residents were at risk of malnutrition and dehydration, audits by the Aged Care and Accreditation Agency say.
Trial set to begin for 3 charged with abusing dementia patient at Pa. assisted living facility
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 05, 2011
Three woman accused of abusing an elderly dementia patient at a suburban Philadelphia care home are scheduled to go on trial.
Authorities say the abuse was captured on a hidden camera after the Alzheimer's patient complained to her family she was being abused by workers at the Quadrangle Continuing Care Retirement Community in Haverford.
Ayesha Muhammad, Tyrina Griffin and Samirah Traynham are scheduled to go on trial Monday. They face charges including simple assault, false imprisonment and neglect of care.
Authorities say the woman's family set up a camera and captured footage showing the defendants taunting the woman as she stood half-naked in her room.
The woman's family sued the facility's operator in October.
Police, prosecutors and social workers are teaming up to take on the problem of elder abuse in the days following two cases of men charged with aggravated abuse of vulnerable adults.
48-year-old Alfonso Moya, Jr. was the first man arrested for the alleged neglect that led to the death of his father. Doctors say the older man was covered with dried feces and bed sores when he was admitted to the VA hospital; he didnt' survive emergency surgery.
Police say Moya, Sr. had been deprived of food and medicine, left for days, maybe weeks in a bed soaked with human waste, all while his son allegedly took his father's retirement funds and prescription pain medication, selling them on the streets.
"It was neglect in a very profound way," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
The next day, 51-year-old Bradley Myers was charged after his 74-year-old mother Geneil Larsen was found by police near death in a chair caked in human waste. Myers later told police he hadn't seen his mother move from the chair for the past couple of weeks. Larsen later died.
Gill says the abuse of elder adults is an on-going challenge in the community and hopes a new community response team can meet that challenge.
Salt Lake County Aging Services now works closely with prosecutors and police to review cases of suspected elder or vulnerable adult abuse.
"And then we decide, 'Is it ready for prosecution? Are there other information, other resources we need?' and we collaborate," said Peter Herbertson with Salt Lake County Aging Services. "A lot of the abuses we're seeing right now are financial exploitation. What's really sad is, it's mostly family members are the perpetrators."
The response team has already handled several cases and Herbertson wants everyone to know his team is available.
"The sooner people that suspect abuse report it, the better outcome we're going to have. You don't have to know for sure, if something doesn't feel right in the life of a senior or a vulnerable adult, please pick up the phone and contact adult protective services," he said.
Adult Protective Services can be reached at 801-538-3567 in Salt Lake County or tollfree 800-371-7897 statewide.