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

December 2, 2013

The Elderly Are At Risk of Being Financially Abused - By Their Children

By Philomena Horsley
2 December, 2013

Australians are living longer and living richer than at any time. While some older people are enjoying their wealth - travelling the world, their luggage broadcasting that they are ''spending their children's inheritance'' - others live in aged care facilities, with their children keeping their eyes peeled on the ''Bank of Mum and Dad''.
As economic conditions worsen, this second group is at greater risk than ever of being financially abused. And research has found that adult children, particularly sons, are the most common perpetrators.
State Trustees Victoria has recorded a spike in the numbers of older Victorians who are financially abused as well as the amount of money involved. A research paper it commissioned, management of older Victorians' found that women over the age of 80 are most at risk of financial elder abuse, often by someone in a position of trust - their children.
Children with ''early inheritance syndrome'' feel a sense of entitlement to their parents' assets. They are not prepared to wait until their parents die. These impatient children seek ways for their parents to ''gift'' them money, or interfere in the management of their parents' assets to protect what they see as their entitlement.
Financial elder abuse involves taking or misusing an older person's money, property or assets. It also includes persuading an older person to change their will through deception or undue influence.
Financial elder abuse may begin with the best intentions - with an elderly parent asking a child to act as their power of attorney and thereby manage their finances. This can quickly progress to a sense of entitlement, particularly when adult children have mortgages or debts. They often justify their actions by saying: ''Mum doesn't need money now, and it's going to be mine anyway.''
Studies confirm that financial abuse is the most common, and fastest-growing, type of abuse of older people. The most vulnerable include those with diminished capacity due to dementia and depression, and older people who rely on others to manage their finances. However, there is little reliable data on its extent. It is often a silent crime - unreported, unacknowledged.
Earlier this year the banking industry tried to raise awareness of financial elder abuse by announcing initiatives to help prevent this silent crime. But like all silent crimes perpetrated mostly on women - domestic violence, sexual assault, bullying - financial abuse will be difficult to police.
Children with early inheritance syndrome often make ageist and sexist assumptions that devalue the rights of their elderly parents. A common one is that older people, particularly women who have not been the family's breadwinner, find discussions about financial issues complex and stressful. Not only is this patronising but also it disempowers older women. Another is that having a large amount of money does not improve an older person's quality of life. Most of us take comfort in the security of having savings. Why would older people be any different? The generation that experienced the Depression may take even more comfort from having a safety net than their children.
The third assumption is that a parent is no worse off after gifting money to their children. This is absurd. The less money they have, the less able they are to make decisions about how their money is spent.
Reducing an older person's income also reduces fees at an aged care facility - helpful for beneficiaries, but older people may appreciate the care they receive from staff at the facility. They may feel an aged care facility that provides daily care deserves their money more than children who visit infrequently with flowers and chocolates.
The final assumption is that an older person's current will is their final one. Most people change their wills throughout their lives as circumstances change. Why would older people be different? After spending several years in an aged care facility, parents may change their mind about who should receive their money. They may once have wanted their assets shared equally among their children. But later in life, when their children are financially secure, some older people may prefer to give money to Doctors without Borders, The Lost Dogs Home, or even a kind nurse at the aged care facility. This is surely their decision, not their children's.
As the vulnerability of older people increases, their dependence on family members also increases. Often they do not want to say ''No" to their children's requests for money or asset transfers for fear of upsetting these relationships. Sadly, at a time when they most need their children's love and support, the love of money can trump a person's love for mum or dad.
Dr Philomena Horsley is a research associate at Research Matters in Melbourne.


SOURCE:     The AGE
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Age-Friendly Seniors Project Gets Funding Boost


BY TERRENCE MCEACHERN
LEADER-POST
NOVEMBER 30, 2013

As our population continues to get older, so too is the desire to get elderly people more active in the community and raise awareness about elder abuse and ageism.
"As they age and no longer go to work, people sometimes get the impression that their best-before date has passed, and we don't need to pay any attention to them or include them in things that are happening in the community," said Kerrie Strathy, division head at the University of Regina's Lifelong Learning Centre. "But in an age-friendly community, there will be opportunities for older adults to remain active through social and recreational programs (and) volunteer activities," she added.
"This initiative is based on the knowledge that older adults in Regina have a wide range of skills and abilities to offer their community."
On Friday, the centre's Age-Friendly Community Project received $24,750 in funding from Richmond MP Alice Wong, minister of state for seniors.
By having elderly people engaged in the community through social and volunteer activities, the goal is to help improve their health and well-being and deal with issues such as isolation and lack of opportunities. As well, the project aims to raise awareness about elderly abuse and try to eliminate ageism by bringing young adults and elderly people together.
"We're hoping that by younger people working together with older people they can eliminate the myths of ageism from both ends and everyone will be in a stronger position in the community," said Wong.
The one-year project ends in April. Moving forward, Strathy said she would like to funding continue and issues such as better sidewalks and housing available for seniors be addressed.
"I think (Regina) City Council has heard some of these issues before, but to make sure that they really do come across clearly. So, when the city is planning what it is going to do, both in terms of infrastructure repair but also looking at new (construction), that it takes into consideration things that will make it easy for people to get around," she said.

SOURCE:        The Leader Post
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November 20, 2013

Organization Wants To Stamp Out Elder Abuse


Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. will hold an information session on elder abuse on Thursday in Woodstock.
 by Kristal Dixon (Editor)
November 18, 2013
An organization dedicated to advocating for Cherokee County's senior citizens will touch on an issue that's often overlooked by the public.

Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. will hold an information session and discussion on elder abuse at 1 p.m. Thursday at the William G. Long Senior Center in Woodstock.

Alice Irving, a member of the organization's board, said a representative from the Canton Police Department will speak on the topic. The event is designed to target not only senior citizens, but also adults children of seniors.

The session will go over the warning signs of elder abuse, which can encompass emotional, physical or financial abuse, and discuss what can be done to stop the abuse.
"Most people don't realize this occurs," she said of elder abuse. "We hear a lot about child abuse, but often elderly abuse is something that's swept underneath the rug."
The event is free and open to the public.
Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T., or Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, is a collaborative effort among local public safety agencies and other organizations that work to educate and inform older residents about resources that can help them live a better quality of life.

SOURCE:      The Woodstock Patch
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Hebrew Home At Riverdale Celebrates Advocacy Award

November 18, 2013
By Daniel Reingold

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale received the 2013 Outstanding Advocacy Award from LeadingAge at its national conference in Dallas last month. I had the honor of accepting the award on behalf of the organization. This award, which recognizes our leadership role in the field of elder abuse prevention for the past decade, meant a lot to us.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home is dedicated to helping elder abuse victims in many ways, from providing emergency shelter to educating the community to advocating on Capitol Hill and on the state and local levels.  We are facing a national epidemic – and it will only increase as the Baby Boomer population ages.  We must take action and never stop advocating for those who cannot.
The Hebrew Home at Riverdale successfully advocated both the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York State Department of Health to expand and alter their policies to prioritize senior housing applicants who are victims of elder abuse. As a result of this unwavering advocacy, we secured state funding to open The Terrace, an assisted living program on our Riverdale campus. Today, we offer long-term housing for elder abuse victims in a comfortable, home-like environment that provides healthcare, social opportunity and a safe place to call home. For some, this safety is a first in their lives.
On the federal level, the Hebrew Home advocated for HUD to permit elder abuse victims to have priority admission to our federally subsidized  low-income 202 apartment building, Hudson House. Hudson House provides apartments with amenities – close proximity to shops, nicely decorated living space and a built-in social system.
While attending the Dallas conference, I sat in the auditorium, watching the photo montage and video before accepting this award.  Each image provided a glimpse into our work and the people in our care. The photo of a woman getting her blood pressure checked. The video of another woman surrounded by the smiling and reassuring faces of our staff. Photos of elected officials visiting the Hebrew Home and learning of our mission. All of these images were gratifying and inspirational. Every day, the Hebrew Home, and the staff of the Weinberg Center, advocates.  We speak up. We take action. Ultimately, we make a difference.
I am so proud of our accomplishments, but the fight is far from over.  Our greatest hope with the receipt of this award is that long term care organizations throughout our nation will replicate our successful shelter model so that together, we can help end elder abuse.  Older Americans deserve our collective commitment.
(Daniel Reingold is the president and CEO at Hebrew Home at Riverdale.)

SOURCE:      McKnights
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Senior Victim To Valued Friend

November 16, 2013
By JAN SKUTCH

Eliot Karasick is a retired Wall Street executive who moved to The Landings in 2000 with a big heart for those less blessed.
When he hired Amy Lynn Lee as a housekeeper, he thought he had found a valued friend, someone he treated like a family member.
By the time Karasick caught on, Lee had defrauded him out of more than a quarter of a million dollars, including a four-bedroom home in Pooler and a new Toyota Camry.
“I was disappointed,” Karasick, 88, said. “I couldn’t believe how any human being could do that to another human being.”
For Assistant District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones, Karasick represented a common denominator for a large portion of the more than 75 elder-abuse cases she carries as part of her caseload at any time as District Attorney Meg Heap’s elder-abuse prosecutor.
“Really, there’s so much back story to these cases,” Jones said.
She understood Karasick’s plight and moved to address it. Working with Savannah-Chatham police financial crimes detective Raymond Woodberry, Jones took an 11-count indictment to Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann, got Lee to admit her actions and recovered a large portion of Karasik’s lost assets.
In many cases, such as Karasick’s, the issue is financial fraud or similar circumstances.
Other cases of elder abuse may involve neglect, physical violence or even death. Frequently, the person committing the abuse will be a family member, many of whom are motivated simply by greed, Jones said.
The whole area of elder abuse crimes is a fairly new one in the law and one that is still developing, Jones said.
“Elder abuse confounds people. We still don’t know what we are looking at,” she said.
“It’s much deeper than I expected.”
Point prosecutor
A prosecutor by trade, Jones acknowledges she remains “more of a social worker than anything else.”
Part of her challenge is that of community education concerning a problem that may elude much of the public’s understanding. That involves public appearances before business and professional groups.
“People don’t get elder abuse,” Jones, 36, said. “Elder abuse is wrong.
“I don’t believe it is right to hit, abuse, demean or attack people because they are women or children or patients in a mental health facility or elderly. That’s what keeps me doing this work.”
Jones, who balances her job with a husband and two children at home, rejects the burnout potential from her caseload.
“What I am thinking about is getting better,” she said.
Heap, the district attorney, is on the same page as Jones.
“Elder abuse is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and unfortunately Savannah is experiencing these crimes as well,” Heap said. “As district attorney I believe it is my duty to protect to the best of my ability our seniors and disabled adults.”
She praised Jones as “an experienced and passionate prosecutor who will work with the police to bring justice to those who have been victimized.”
When Heap resurrected the elder abuse position in January, she turned to Jones as her lead prosecutor.
Jones had been the office’s lead domestic abuse prosecutor in State Court before moving to Superior Court in August 2012. There she took on a share of elder abuse cases. In her new role, Jones still carries another 75 domestic violence cases at any one time.
With Karasick, Jones was faced the potential problem that no one would believe he was the victim of his caretaker.
“The process starts way before the crime ever begins,” Jones said. “It is a slow burning, building type of thing.”
Her immediate challenge was to amend the existing indictment against Lee as Karasick was dealing with health issues, partly because of stress from the case.
Jones calls it “kicking it into high gear. This is how we want to handle these cases going forward.”
Concerned for self, too
Karasick moved to a home at The Landings in early 2000 after he retired from a Wall Street career in stocks.
Lee started to work for Karasick as a housekeeper in 2008, helping him to deal with his wife’s aging issues and to maintain his home.
“She paid a lot of attention to me,” he said. Karasick he always — “by nature” — has compassion for those with less.
“I was concerned for her as a human being,” he said. “… She had me really fooled.”
With time he became increasingly dependent on Lee and increasingly drawn in by her tales of woe about domestic problems and hard times.
And by her 14-year-old daughter, who called him “grandpa.”
“I was a sitting duck for her (Lee) because I felt sorry for her.”
“But, I was concerned for myself too,” he said, noting that he increasingly relied on Lee.
Because she allegedly had no place to stay, he located a $400,000 home in Pooler he could get for $200,000 and loaned her the money with an agreement she would pay rent.
When her old Volkswagen fell apart, he went with her to shop for a new car, a 2012 Toyota Camry Sports Model. He would help her pay for it, including a $10,000 gift to cut costs.
When he moved to the Marshes on Skidaway Island, he offered to allow her to move temporarily into his Landings residence, then on the market. She declined, he said.
He even left the Pooler home at 306 Village Green Lakes to Lee in his will, Karasick said.
“I had so much,” Karasick said. “She had so little or nothing. She’s like an adopted child.”
The bottom dropped out when Karasick needed a hip replacement in December 2011. Lee volunteered to spend the first night at the hospital with him.
Before he was wheeled into surgery, he gave Lee his wallet for safe keeping. Within minutes, she was off on a three-day spending spree with his credit cards, including Sam’s, Target and Kroger.
He did not discover that until later when he reviewed his credit card statements.
Her greed extended to creating two $300 checks to herself, which she cashed at a bank without any signature, he said.
“I didn’t know that she was a thief,” he said.
Concerns initially dismissed
When he went to a lawyer about possible legal action against Lee, Karasick said the response was, “I wouldn’t bother. This happens many times a day. … You’re just asking for a lot of heartaches.”
Karasick said he initially took that advice but after realizing the depth of Lee’s fraud, “I got really angry. I wanted to do something about it.”
That got him to Detective Woodberry and ultimately to Jones in the prosecutor’s office.
“We talked constantly,” Karasick said. “She called me her coach. … If it hadn’t of been for her, I don’t know what would have happened.”
At the end, Lee, 44, chose to plead guilty as part of a negotiated plea to three counts of identity fraud, three counts of forgery and single counts of elder exploitation and theft by taking.
Her sentence: 10 years in prison with 30 days to serve and the balance probated.
Special conditions of probation bar Lee from having any contact with Karasick or his family members and requires that Lee:
• May not be primary care giver or manage the finances of anyone over 65 years old who is not related to her.
• Vacate the home at 306 Village Green Lakes in Pooler and return title and ownership to Karasick.
• Sign title to the 2012 Toyota Camry over to Karasick.
• Make restitution of $6,500 or the cost of outstanding home owner’s association fees on the Pooler property.
Because the plea was entered under the First Offender Act, adjudication of guilt was withheld. If Lee successfully completes her probation, no conviction will follow her.
In the end, Karasick said he was satisfied.
“She has nothing else to give except her life. By taking that, what do I gain?”
To have forced the case to trial could have meant Lee’s teenage daughter would have been caught up in it, a result he did not want.
“I was terribly angry but not angry enough to do anything stupid to hurt her or her child.”
SHALENA COOK JONES
Age: 36
Title: Chatham County Assistant District Attorney
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Spelman College, Atlanta, (1999), University of Georgia School of Law (2002), Member Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court and Order of Barristers
Professional experience: Chatham County assistant district attorney (2010-13); attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas (2009-10); private practice, Law Offices of Shalena Cook Jones (2008-09); senior associate, Cruser & Mitchell LLP (2005-08)
Achievements: President-elect of the Port City Bar Association, Chair Chatham County SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) and Multi-Disciplinary Team on Elder Abuse, member of the Savannah Council on Aging, certified ACT specialist qualified to instruct law enforcement, social agencies and community members on crimes involving at-risk adults.
IF YOU NEED HELP
The law provides that a person who suspects elder abuse of any kind should contact Adult Protective Services at 1-866-55-AGING (1-866-552-4464).
Or you may contact your local police agency to make a crime report.
Source: Shalena Cook Jones
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ELDER ABUSE, GO TO:
helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm
ncea.aoa.gov
nccafv.org/state_elder_abuse_hotlines.htm

SOURCE:        Savannah Now
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Take Steps To Safeguard Finances For The Elderly

Prevent exploitation by knowing of friend’s or relative’s situation and keeping good records.

BY CLAUDIA BUCK
THE SACRAMENTO BEE
November 16, 2013

It started when an alert broker called to let Alan Sims know that $3,360 was being withdrawn weekly from his 103-year-old friend’s brokerage account. Turns out that a live-in caretaker was padding her hourly wages, writing checks of varying amounts that could have pushed her annual salary to more than $165,000 a year.
Sims, executor of his elderly friend’s estate, and her attorney had to step in and confront the caregiver, who was immediately fired.
“It was devastating,” said Sims, recalling the events eight years later. “Not only the amount of money that was taken, but the trust that was broken.”
Sadly, it’s not unusual. Every year, thousands of examples of financial abuse of the elderly occur, often at the hands of friends, family or caregivers. In 2010, the annual amount of losses due to financial exploitation of seniors was estimated at $2.9 billion, according to a study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
“Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common than we like to think,” said Marylou Robken, a Carmichael, Calif., CPA who has worked as a forensic investigator on dozens of elderly abuse cases in the past 15 years. “So many elderly people are isolated, and they may not even know that something’s wrong.”
Certainly, financial exploitation of seniors is nothing new. In recent years, local, state and national organizations have attacked the problem on numerous fronts, encouraging more awareness, better reporting and stiffer penalties.
Plenty of older Americans are more than capable of handling their own affairs and value their independence. But for many, “admitting that we can no longer manage our financial affairs can be as traumatic as having to give up driving,” noted Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board in Washington, D.C.
GETTING HELP
An estimated 50 million-plus U.S. residents are 62 and older. As cognitive abilities fade or health issues intervene, it’s a given that many of us will be — or already are — picking up the financial reins for aging parents, family, friends or neighbors.
That role is what’s known as being a fiduciary, someone who puts another person’s best interests above their own. It takes many forms. It could be a daughter who has power of attorney for financial or medical decisions on a parent’s behalf. It could be a trusted friend who’s the designated receiver of veteran’s or Social Security benefits for someone unable to do banking. It could be the trustee named to manage assets in a person’s living trust.
KEEP GOOD RECORDS
Fiduciaries are expected to act in the other person’s best interest, manage the finances carefully and maintain good records.
Keep a detailed list or a file of all money you receive or spend. Include the date, amount and purpose of checks paid or deposited, as well as names of people/companies involved. Keep receipts and notes, even for small expenses. For example, write on the receipt: “$50, groceries, AllBrands Grocery Store, May 2.”
After Sims was given power of attorney for the financial affairs of his 103-year-old friend, for instance, he maintained a written journal and took meticulous notes of every financial transaction he made on her behalf. Also, checkbooks and other financial documents were safely put away where they weren’t accessible to caregivers.
AVOID CONFLICTS
No matter what kind of fiduciary role you’re taking, it’s imperative to keep the senior’s money separate from your own, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says. For instance, it might be OK to buy a car with the senior’s funds to drive to doctors’ appointments or to do banking, but if you’re using the vehicle mainly for personal use, that could be a conflict of interest. Same with paying your relatives to do work at the senior’s home or apartment.
GET SIGNED UP
No matter our age, all of us should designate someone to act on our behalf, in the event we’re incapacitated due to illness or other impairments. Some financial advisers recommend that anyone reaching 18 or college age should fill out a power-of-attorney document for financial or health care reasons.
REPORT FINANCIAL ABUSE
In a 2012 national survey of certified financial planners, more than half — 56 percent — said they’d worked with older clients who were victims of “unfair, deceptive or abusive” financial practices. In its new guide, “Financial Self-Defense for Seniors,” the financial planner board outlines 10 common financial frauds that may entrap seniors, such as “free lunch” seminars or inappropriate investments.
According to the board’s survey, only 5 percent of seniors report financial abuse, either due to embarrassment, fear of naming the perpetrator or uncertainty about exactly what occurred.

SOURCE:     The Idaho Statesman
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Park Hill Woman Faces Elder Abuse Charges

She is accused of mistreating her mother, taking her money

November 16, 2013
By Anita Reding
Phoenix Staff Writer

A Park Hill woman is accused of abusing her mother and is facing felony charges.

Three counts of abuse by caretaker were filed this week in Cherokee County against Ella Milstead, 53, who is the legal guardian of her mother, Opal Murphy.

Court documents state that Milstead physically abused her mother, not providing her medications and using her financial funds for her own personal use.

The Department of Human Services was notified of allegations of caretaker neglect, caretaker abuse, caretaker exploitation, and financial neglect by Ella Milstead, according to court documents. A social worker went to Murphy’s home, which is also in Park Hill, Aug. 19 and Sept. 10. Murphy, who had bruises on her arm and back, told the social worker that “Ella had hit her” and “Ella grabbed her arm and threw her down on the floor.”

Court documents also state that the social worker determined that there were “several medications that Murphy had not been given in months. “

Milstead stated that she is the only one who gives Murphy her medications and told the social worker she is the only person who has control of Murphy’s finances and bank account, the court document states.

When asked multiple times by the social worker to provide bank statements for six months and any receipts or verification showing how she spent her mother’s money on her mother’s care, Milstead provided only four months of bank statements and no receipts or verification. Bank statements also indicated that there were other accounts “ran by Ella of Opal’s money and that account information was not provided, ” documents state.

Murphy owns a trailer park in Park Hill and Milstead has been managing the trailer park, which includes collecting rent,  since she became her mother’s guardian. There are 11 trailers at the park owned by Murphy, and each tenant pays $160 monthly in lot rent. All renters pay with either cash or money orders. Milstead admitted that she cashed the money orders from the renters and did not deposit the lot money in her mother’s account and “there is no indication as to where the cash money went,” court records state.

Milstead said that she quit her job to take care of her mother and that “she is living off Opal’s income,” court documents state. Milstead said that her mother does not have access to her money and said she is the only one with her mother’s debit card and the only one who has access to her mother’s bank account.

Court documents list exploitation totals at $24,881 — $10,566 in Social Security payments, $10,560 in rental property income and $3,755 which was transferred from another account in August.

Milstead is free on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to enter a plea during an initial court appearance Dec. 10, according to Ryan Cannonie, assistant district attorney.

Each felony count is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or by a fine up to $10,000, according to court records.

SOURCE:       The Muskogee Phoenix
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Seniors, Families Can Do Plenty To Protect Themselves

By Spencer Roush

Nov. 17, 2013

Talitha Nichols thought she was doing the right thing when she gave a woman in trouble a ride.
The woman tapped on Nichols’ window as she was pulling out of Carnival Foods, 1215 N. Memorial Drive, saying her car had broken down and needed a ride to Sixth Street where the car was sitting.
“While I was talking to her, she hollered at a guy and said, ‘She’ll take us,’” Nichols recalled.
Nichols said she doesn’t normally feel like a target, but she did that day when the man and woman ended up stealing her purse and $1,500 in cash, while she was performing an act of kindness. Nichols knew something was wrong when they arrived at Sixth Street and didn’t see a broken-down car. She said the woman must have taken the purse when she was talking to the man about a jack.
“What would they have done if I had seen her grab it and I grabbed it too?” Nichols asked, knowing the outcome would have been different or she could have been hurt.
Lancaster Police Detective Bryan Underwood said crimes against seniors happen all the time, and it can be more than phone scams and petty theft.
Underwood, who specializes in senior citizen investigations, said Nichols and other elderly people are targeted and victimized because they are “a very trusting group of people.”
“They come from a time when a handshake was an honorable binding contract, and (criminals) use that as a tool to deceive seniors,” Underwood said, whether it’s someone who says they will do work around the home that never gets done or other types of financial thefts and deception.
“We have seen an increase in senior crimes over the past several years,” Underwood said. “It’s probably always occurred, but we’re seeing more, and some of that may have to do with more reporting of crimes.”
Underwood works hand in hand with Dave Kessler from the Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office and Job and Family Service’s Adult Protective Services to investigate and prosecute crimes against seniors.
Adult Protective Services specifically investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation.
According to APS Director Patty Ciripompa, 30 percent of their case load involves financial exploitation, and in 78 percent of those cases, a family member is the perpetrator.
Ciripompa said she can’t give an explanation of why family members would take advantage of elderly relatives, but substance abuse and addiction is often involved. A lot of times, she said, it’s their adult children or grandchildren who have either moved back into the home or are providing care for them.
Prosecuting crimes of theft and deception involving family members can be difficult, according to Underwood and Ciripompa, because they don’t want to get their loved ones in trouble.
“It’s very frustrating for us,” Ciripompa said. “Because if there’s not a cooperative victim willing to follow through even though we know darn well they did it ... we can’t go further in prosecuting them. It becomes a very complicated case.”
Before 2008, Ciripompa said reports of financial exploitation were low.
“I would say it was 8 percent or less of referrals before (2008),” she added.
Self-neglect always has been the highest reported allegation, which represents 44 percent of APS’s case load this year. She said self-neglect can be a number of different things, such as unsafe living conditions, a lack of food or heat in the home or needing additional at-home care.
Adult Protective Services has received 576 referrals this year from many different sources, some of which are self-referrals. Cirimpompa said if there is an issue of self-neglect in the home, APS can assist in finding any senior older than 60 some help, including an emergency response button.
The remaining cases APS responds to include abuse — which can be sexual, emotional or physical in nature — and “neglect by other.” According to APS, 16 percent of cases this year involved some kind of abuse.
“This year we have not had a case of sexual abuse, but we have in the past,” Ciripompa said. “That’s really an under-reported kind of thing, I think.”
Twenty percent of APS cases involve neglect by someone else, such as a health care worker or family member.
Ciripompa said family members should be involved in their elderly relative’s lives to notice any changes in their behavior because it can indicate there is a problem, especially in neglect and self-neglect cases.
“Pay attention and spend time with older adult relatives,” she said.
There are small ways for family members to assist seniors living alone. Noticing potential hazards around the home, she said, such as lightbulbs that need changed, phone access around the home and in the bedroom and moving anything obstructing walkways are all helpful.
“Those are little things I think relatives should be aware of,” she added.
To report an allegation or submit a referral for assistance, call 740-653-4060 and follow the prompts to reach the Adult Protective Services line.

SOURCE:      The Lancaster Eagle Gazette
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Carer Tied Woman, 88, Up With Her Dressing Gown Cord

Carer tied woman, 88, up with her dressing gown cord so she could have cigarette break
Sussanah Carr tied up dementia sufferer because she did not want her wandering around care home while she was working
Carr starts 12-month supervision order tomorrow after being spared jail

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
17 November 2013

A care home assistant used a dressing gown cord to tie an  88-year-old woman with dementia to a chair while she went outside to smoke a cigarette.

A court was told that Sussanah Carr, 43, restrained the pensioner because she had been wandering around the care home.

She told a colleague what she had done and was reported to police, but denied it when interviewed by officers.

However, she later went back to the police station to admit her crime after being questioned by care home bosses at an internal inquiry.

When she was finally brought before a court, she pleaded guilty to a charge of ill-treating and wilfully neglecting a  person without capacity.

Carr was spared a jail sentence, however, when Judge Michael Addison gave her a 12-month supervision order.

When the offence came to light, she was dismissed from her job at Sutton Lodge, a Bupa care home in Weybridge, Surrey, where she had worked for about ten years.

Guildford Crown Court was told the victim had been repeatedly getting out of bed and walking around when Carr arrived during an overnight shift earlier this year.

Prosecutor Flora Page said the incident was over ‘in a matter of minutes’.

Miss Page added: ‘The victim had been wandering around . . . and Miss Carr  had been chasing after her and following her around. However, a time came when she sat her down in her chair and, using the cord of her dressing gown, tied it on  the chair.’

Summing up later, Judge Addison said a key detail was the fact that it was secured around her waist in such a way that the woman would have been able to untie herself. He told Carr, of Shepperton, Surrey: ‘You were in charge of looking after an old lady suffering from dementia.

‘She was sat in the chair and you put the dressing gown cord around her waist. It was tied in a bow. She could have undone it.

‘I sentence you on the basis that she was only tied to the chair for a number of minutes.

‘It is a serious matter to ill-treat someone who lacks mental capacity in a home, but it does seem that this offence is right at the bottom of the scale.’

Judge Addison said there was no evidence that the woman suffered any distress and he did not understand why the case had not been dealt with at an earlier hearing at North Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Staines.

Elaine Stapleton, defending, said Carr had lost her livelihood and record of previous good character because of one incident in many years of caring for people with dementia.

Miss Stapleton said: ‘She has a long history of caring for vulnerable people in that home. What happened means she has stopped taking her medication. She has had a number of difficulties with her health.’

In a statement after sentencing, Graham Brittain, of Bupa Care Services UK, said: ‘The behaviour of Sussanah Carr was clearly unacceptable.

‘We immediately suspended her and reported her to the appropriate authorities to ensure that vulnerable older people are protected. The court has now taken appropriate action.’


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November 4, 2013

Elderly Doctor Ripped Off for $3.5 Million Fraud


October 31, 2013
By Brenda Craig

San Francisco, CA: A quick check of the California Bar Journal from October 2013 gives just one more example of the financial exploitation of American senior citizens. According to the Journal, this is the largest “misappropriation in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel’s memory.”

In 2004, a young San Francisco attorney, Wade Anthony Robertson, met a wealthy 77-year-old doctor from Maryland. Robertson had a great investment for Dr. Cartinhour. He told him he could invest in a big litigation case that was going on in New York and the return on his money would result in a multimillion-dollar payback.

Robertson kept convincing Dr. Cartinhour to pour more and more money into the scheme. In fact, Robertson was using the doctor’s money to finance his own investments.

Dr. Cartinhour became suspicious and hired another attorney in 2009 to check on Robertson. The plan to defraud Dr. Cartinhour began to unravel. Cartinhour brought a suit against Robertson and was awarded $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages.

Robertson, who is no longer eligible to practice law, began a series of frivolous suits aimed at delaying repayment of Dr. Cartinhour’s funds.

In September 2013, nine years after Dr. Cartinhour’s unfortunate first meeting with Robertson, a judge in the case found Robertson “culpable of moral turpitude by engaging in a scheme to defraud, misrepresentation and abusing the legal process,” as noted in the California Bar Journal.

The judge also noted that Robertson has shown no remorse for his behaviour, and that he failed to admit any wrongdoing, and furthermore, his “misconduct occurred less than three years after he was admitted to practice law.”

Dr. Cartinhour is just one of the millions of older Americans that are targeted for financial exploitation every year in the US.

The Office of Attorney General in the State of California advises seniors to always have a family member supervise financial transactions and that professionals supervise the family members. And being rich, poor or middle income, it doesn’t seem to matter to the would-be perpetrators of financial exploitation.

Fortunately for Dr. Cartinhour, the courts in California came to his rescue. It has some of the toughest financial elder abuse laws on the books.

SOURCE:        Lawyers and Settlements
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Jeremy Hunt: UK Should Adopt Asian Culture Of Caring For The Elderly


Patrick Butler Social policy editor
The Guardian
18 October 2013

Jeremy Hunt will today tell British families they should follow the example of people in Asia, by taking in elderly relatives once they can no longer live alone.
The health secretary, whose wife is Chinese, is due to say in a speech on Friday that he is struck by the "reverence and respect" for older people in Asian cultures, where it is expected that older grandparents will go to live with their children and grandchildren rather than enter a care home.
He will say: "In those countries, when living alone is no longer possible, residential care is a last rather than a first option. And the social contract is stronger because as children see how their own grandparents are looked after, they develop higher expectations of how they too will be treated when they get old.
"If we are to tackle the challenge of an ageing society, we must learn from this – and restore and reinvigorate the social contract between generations. And uncomfortable though it is to say it, it will only start with changes in the way we personally treat our own parents and grandparents."
In his address to the National Children's and Adults Services conference, the health secretary will say society has collectively ignored what he calls the "national shame" of the "forgotten million" older people isolated at home or in care with no one to talk to, and he will urge people to visit and offer companionship to lonely older people.
"According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, there are 800,000 people in England who are chronically lonely. Some five million people say television is their main form of company – that's 10% of the population. We know there is a broader problem of loneliness that in our busy lives we have utterly failed to confront as a society."
Hunt will defend his plans to set up a rigorous, Ofsted-style inspection regime aimed at rooting out abuse and poor quality care in residential homes. Under the new chief inspector of social care Andrea Sutcliffe – who he refers to as "the nation's whistleblower-in-chief" – 25,000 care homes will be inspected by March 2016 and given online "easy to understand" ratings. Homes will be expected to pass a "good-enough-for-my-mum" test and inspections will rely heavily on the care experiences of residents.
The Care Quality Commission is to take on 600 volunteers with first-hand experience of the care system to help carry out the checks. The commission is also considering using hidden cameras and "mystery shoppers" to monitor quality standards. Failing care homes will be fined or closed down.
Hunt will say: "Simple, resident-focused inspections which look at the things that really matter, rather than simply the boxes that have been ticked [will help us achieve] an Ofsted-style rating that tells us in plain language if a service is outstanding, good, requiring improvement or inadequate."
It is important not to settle for "good enough care", Hunt will say. Society has to rise to the challenge of making Britain "the best place in the world to grow old in".

SOURCE:      The Guardian
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Former Alameda County Superior Court Judge Sentenced To Probation For Stealing From Neighbor

By Paul T. Rosynsky
Oakland Tribune
10/22/2013

OAKLAND -- A former Alameda County Superior Court judge was sentenced to five years probation Monday for stealing money from an elderly widowed neighbor who trusted him with her life savings.
Paul David Seeman, 58, of Berkeley, was sentenced as part of a plea deal in which he was found guilty of one count of financial elder abuse and one count of perjury. Seeman was accused of stealing from his now-deceased widowed neighbor, Anne Nutting, who was 97 when she noticed irregularities in her finances.
Investigators originally believed Seeman stole more than $1 million from Nutting, a figure that also included the estimated value of possessions Seeman sold on behalf of Nutting when he controlled her estate.
As a result, he was charged with 32 felonies, including financial elder abuse for stealing from Nutting and numerous counts of perjury for lying on state financial disclosure forms that all judges are required to complete.
But court documents revealed that, in the end, investigators could only prove that Seeman stole more than $5,000 from his neighbor.
A $250,000 "loan" Seeman claimed he took from Nutting was paid back just after police called Seeman asking questions about Nutting's finances. And investigators could not prove that Seeman took the money earned from the sale of Nutting's valuable possessions, court documents show.
"Given the entirety of the case, this was the appropriate resolution," said deputy district attorney Jason Sjoberg. "He did commit a criminal act, and he has been held accountable for it."
While Seeman avoids jail time under the deal, his career in law, at least in California, is over. As part of the plea deal, Seeman loses his bar license and his right to practice law in the state. Earlier this year, Seeman agreed never to be a judge again.
Seeman also was forced to pay Nutting's estate the $5,600 that he stole. The former judge also cannot live with, care for, or act as a financial aide to any elderly person who is not a direct relative. In addition, he is not allowed to possess any "financial instrument" in any person's name but his own.
Laurel Headley, Seeman's criminal defense attorney, said in a prepared statement that her client has paid the price and agreed to a deal to end the case.
"He appreciates that the sentence took into account the many good works he has accomplished in his life," Headley said.
Seeman, who appeared in court, turned down a request to make a comment.

SOURCE:      The OC Register
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Gardendale Couple Charged With Elder Abuse After Allegedly Stealing $24,000 From Victim

Nov 01, 2013 
By Tom Allen 
BIRMINGHAM, AL

A Jefferson County couple was arrested today in connection with defrauding an 88-year-old woman.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, detectives began an investigation in August after the victim's niece reported suspicious transactions on bank and credit card accounts. Among these were the purchase of a firearm and ammunition.

Investigators say 29-year-old Nora Armstrong of Gardendale was the victim's housekeeper and sitter. Her husband, 32-year-old Lee Aaron Armstrong accompanied her to the victim's home while she worked.
The couple allegedly used her credit and bank accounts to purchase weapons, clothing, exercise equipment, food and cell phones.

They also added international calling to the victim's telephone account -- Nora Armstrong is originally from Honduras, authorities say, and her family is still there.
JCCO says the couple allegedly stole more than $24,000 from the victim.
Nora Armstrong was arrested this morning in Gardendale, while Lee Armstrong was arrested at his place of employment in Cahaba Heights. They've both been charged with elder abuse by financial exploitation and held at the Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bond.

SOURCE:      Alabama's 13
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Visalia Man Jailed, Facing Charges of Elder Abuse

76-year-old man hospitalized
 Oct. 31, 2013
Written by Kyle Harvey

A 47-year-old Visalia man has been charged with elder abuse after Visalia police officers reportedly discovered a 76-year-old man living in substandard conditions Wednesday night in southeast Visalia.
Police responded about 9 p.m. to the 1400 block of East Sunnyside Avenue after a 911 caller reported hearing an elderly man screaming from inside a storage shed.
Officers who arrived at the scene discovered evidence that a person had been bound to a chair in the shed. The elderly male at the residence was judged by officers to be in poor physical shape, malnourished and living in a residence that was in bad condition.
The man’s nephew, Marcos Abrego, was also found at the scene. He was arrested and booked at the Main Jail, facing charges of cruelty toward an elder dependent. His bail has been set at $50,000.
The elderly male was taken to receive treatment for unspecified injuries at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez said. The man’s condition was unavailable Thursday afternoon.
If you wish to report elder abuse, contact the county’s Adult Protection Services agency at 1-877-657-3092.

SOURCE:       The Visalia Times
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October 18, 2013

Daughter Of Elder Abuse Victim Wins Case Against Carer

By Sam Strangeways
Oct 16, 2013

The adopted daughter of alleged elder abuse victim “Auntie Em” has won a six-year legal battle with her mother’s former carer.
Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled in the Supreme Court that Rosamund Hayward does not have to pay Yvonne Dawson $25,000 in unpaid fees, as she was ordered to do by a magistrate in 2010.
But Mr Justice Kawaley said Ms Hayward’s “apparent unwillingness to live up to her moral obligations” in relation to contributing to the cost of care for her mother was “on the face of it, not just unreasonable, but bordering on the outrageous, considering that she is seemingly entitled to inherit her mother’s home”.
He said it was difficult to see why Ms Hayward shouldn’t pay for her own costs in the long-running civil case, adding: “It is to be hoped that [Ms Dawson’s] legal advisers will have the ingenuity to find some means of achieving some measure of financial justice for her.”
The harrowing case of “Auntie Em” — whose real name was Wilhelmina Liburd — was revealed by The Royal Gazette in September 2007, when her nephew Stephen Woodley and Ms Dawson told of the terrible conditions she was found living in at the family home in Upland Street, Devonshire.
Ms Dawson described seeing cockroaches crawling across the senior’s skin and food, while environmental health officers declared the property unfit for human habitation due to clutter, dirt, roach and rodent infestation and droppings, unsanitary water, roof fungus and bed bugs.
The near-blind great-grandmother, who lived with Ms Hayward and other family members, moved temporarily into Ms Dawson’s home to be looked after.
She ultimately ended up at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where part of one leg was amputated due to gangrene.
Mrs Liburd died in 2011, aged 98, at the hospital’s Continuing Care Unit and Ms Hayward has never faced any criminal charges in connection with the alleged mistreatment of her mother.
Ms Dawson launched legal proceedings in 2007 against Ms Hayward, the only child of Mrs Liburd and her late husband, to recover money she claimed she was owed for caring for the senior at weekends.
Mr Woodley, she said, hired her and paid for her weekday fees, with Ms Hayward agreeing to meet the costs of weekend care.
Magistrate Tyrone Chin provisionally ruled in May 2008 that there was a contract between the parties and, in December 2010, reaffirmed that decision, ordering Ms Hayward to pay $25,000, plus $70 costs.
Ms Hayward immediately appealed the decision but it took until last month for a judgement in the case, when Mr Justice Kawaley agreed with her lawyer Ray DeSilva’s argument that Mr Chin’s decision was “plainly flawed” because it had not been shown that a legally enforceable contract existed between the two women.
The magistrate referred to one payment of $280 for weekend services in October 2006 as evidence of Ms Hayward’s agreement to a contract.
That wasn’t sufficient, according to Mr Justice Kawaley, who wrote: “The learned magistrate did not support his finding that a contract existed by reference to any other specific aspect of the evidence adduced at trial in support of [Ms Dawson’s] case.
“Nor did he make any express findings on the issues which formed the basis of [Ms Hayward’s] submission of no case.”
He said the 2010 judgement simply reaffirmed the earlier ruling, adding: “It follows that if that ruling is not supportable, neither is his final judgement. The appeal is allowed on the ground that [Ms Dawson] failed to prove her case.”
The Chief Justice said it seemed obvious that Ms Hayward was “at a minimum, morally obliged to contribute to the costs of her mother’s care”.
The magistrate’s decision, he added, appeared both pragmatic and consistent with ordinary notions of justice, in that it would have meant Ms Dawson was paid for her “valuable services” and Ms Hayward, who was willing to receive the benefit of her mother’s property, would have to contribute to Mrs Liburd’s care.
But the judge agreed with Mr DeSilva that it did not meet with strict legal principles and should be set aside.
Mr Justice Kawaley said the case took too long to deal with and changes were needed to the law to ensure “more active case management” of civil matters by the Magistrates’ Court, with the help of counsel.
Neither Ms Hayward nor Ms Dawson could be reached for comment yesterday. Mr DeSilva told this newspaper he could not comment on the judgement until he had spoken to his client, as did Richard Horseman, lawyer for Ms Dawson.

SOURCE:       The Royal Gazette
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Banks On The Front LInes When It Comes To Detecting Elder Abuse

By Susan Salisbury
PALM BEACH POST
OCTOBER 16, 2013

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.

A lot of older people don’t bank online. They prefer to visit the bank branch, where they might even have a favorite teller.
That means employees at banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are on the front lines when it comes to being able to spot possible financial abuse of the elderly.
They might notice something fishy about withdrawals from a customer’s account, such as a change in the amounts or unusual transactions.
Yet they sometimes worry that reporting their suspicions to law enforcement might violate the customer’s privacy rights.
Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and seven other agencies issued guidance to banks and other institutions, saying that they should not hesitate to disclose a customer’s personal information if fraud or other illegal activity is suspected.
A federal privacy law known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allows common-sense exceptions to allow reporting of possible fraud or unauthorized transactions.
‘‘Older Americans are all too often victims of financial exploitation,’’ said Richard Cordray, director of the consumer bureau.
‘‘They make attractive targets because they often have higher household wealth — whether it is in retirement savings or home equity.’’
Elderly people may be less able to recognize financial exploitation and fraud, the most common form of elder abuse, Cordray said.
Elder abuse includes the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds, property, or other assets.
‘‘A lifetime of savings can be wiped out by falling prey to a scam artist,’’ Cordray said.
‘‘Employees at financial institutions can be instrumental in preventing such fraud.’’
When seniors fall victim to theft by a trusted family member or a scam, they may be too embarrassed or too frail to pursue legal action — so it is critical that other s look out for them, Cordray said.

Here are some possible signs of financial abuse of older adults, from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network:
■ Erratic or unusual banking transactions, or changes in banking patterns.
■ Frequent large withdrawals, including daily maximum currency withdrawals from an ATM.
■ Sudden insufficient fund activity.
■ Uncharacteristic nonpayment for services, which may indicate a loss of funds or loss of access to funds.
■ Debit transactions that are inconsistent for the older adult.
■ Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
■ The closing of CD or other accounts without regard to the penalties.
■ A caregiver or other individual who shows excessive interest in the older adult’s finances or assets, does not allow the older adult to speak for himself, or is reluctant to leave the side of the older adult during conversations with other.
■ The older adult shows an unusual degree of fear or submissiveness toward a caregiver or expresses a fear of eviction or nursing home placement if money is not given to a caretaker.
■ The financial institution is unable to speak directly with the older adult, despite repeated attempts.
■ A new caretaker, relative, or friend suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of the older adult without proper documentation.
■ The older adult moves away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other ‘‘friends’’ or strangers.
■ The older adult’s financial management changes suddenly, such as through a change of power of attorney to a new individual.
■ The older adult lacks knowledge about his or her financial status, or shows a sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters.

SOURCE:     The Boston Globe
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Coon Rapids Case Highlights Elder Abuse Issue


Article by: DAVID CHANEN , Star Tribune
October 14, 2013

Daughter is accused of intentional deprivation under a new state law after her 87-year-old mother lay ill for a month before she died.
For at least a month, police say, Dawn Kulbeik’s elderly mother lay in bed suffering from pneumonia, dehydration, malnutrition and bed sores that were bone deep. Two days before Kulbeik finally called 911 for help, the 87-year-old woman had lost consciousness and stopped communicating.
Doris Ferrian died a couple of weeks later last October, of natural causes. Law enforcement authorities and social service agencies have spent significant time since then reviewing the case, leading ultimately to felony and gross misdemeanor neglect charges filed Monday against Kulbeik.
The Anoka County case is one of the first charged under a Minnesota law passed last year making it a felony if a caregiver intentionally deprives a vulnerable adult of necessary food, clothing and medical care and knows it could result in substantially or great bodily harm. The action closed a gap that frustrated county attorneys when such cases would result in little or no jail time or minimal fines.
The Hennepin County attorney’s office, which pushed for the change at the Legislature, has yet to charge anybody with it.
“How does the system handle somebody responsible for the care of a parent, who fails to make good decisions and may not understand the full nature of the care that is necessary?” asked Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo.
Kulbeik, 54, is developmentally challenged, according to authorities.
She and other relatives couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
The gross misdemeanor charge Kulbeik faces is of intentionally neglecting a vulnerable adult. The only contact police have had with her was the day she called 911.
Ferrian was unconscious with a rapid pulse and breathing when paramedics arrived at Kulbeik’s apartment in Coon Rapids on Oct. 8, 2012, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday. She was septic because of the advanced stages of the bed sores. A social worker who saw her at Unity Hospital in Fridley made a maltreatment report with Anoka County, the complaint said.
At the Coon Rapids apartment, Ferrian’s granddaughter, the granddaughter’s husband and their child slept in one bedroom. Kulbeik and Ferrian occupied the other bedroom.
Kulbeik told police she had been the primary caregiver for a year before her mother’s death.
A month before she called 911, Kulbeik noticed that her mother hadn’t been walking much and that her appetite had decreased, according to the criminal complaint.
She knew that there was a problem with Ferrian’s decline and that it was getting to be too much for her to handle, the document said.
Kulbeik was unable to explain to police why she didn’t seek medical attention for her mother’s bed sores, according to the papers.
When police searched the apartment, they found biological fluids on Ferrian’s bedding that had seeped into the mattress, through the box spring and onto the floor.
Charges weren’t filed for a year because neglect cases are often difficult to investigate and several agencies reviewed the case, said Palumbo. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office didn’t forward its case to the county attorney until March.
Kulbeik has been charged by summons and hasn’t made an initial court appearance.
SAFE Elders initiative
In June, Palumbo helped launch a statewide initiative to confront elder abuse with an arsenal of resources to educate people about the problem.
With nearly $50,000 in donations, the organization Minnesota SAFE Elders created a tool kit that includes such things as a video and free training materials, an app for first responders, and a “prosecutor’s trial notebook,” a collection of abuse cases that attorneys can use as a reference when developing their own cases.
While the Kulbeik case wasn’t a result of the SAFE Elders initiative, it highlights the issues the group is trying to address in the community, said Palumbo.
“The injuries to the victim were extremely severe,” he said. “We are obviously holding the defendant accountable for her failure to provide aid.”

SOURCE:      The Star Tribune
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Suffering In Silence: Neglected Elderly Woman's Death Shows How World Is Failing Its Seniors

By Associated Press,
October 17, 2013
SYDNEY

By the time the ambulance showed up to the house, the old woman’s screams were, as the paramedics would later tell it, already at a 10 out of 10.
On a bed in the foyer lay 88-year-old Cynthia Thoresen, her eyes screwed up in agony, her skin covered in feces, with a broken leg gone untended for weeks.
The fact that Cynthia even lived in the house was a surprise to the neighbors. None had seen her. None had any idea she’d spent her final days in hellish pain after a fall. None knew that her daughter and caretaker, Marguerite Thoresen, had waited at least three weeks, and up to three months, before calling for help.
In the end, Cynthia Thoresen joined a large and growing cohort of elderly people across the world who live, and increasingly die, in silence, left to fend for themselves against a problem society has barely begun to notice: Elder abuse.
This type of abuse, which often includes neglect, is still so hidden that it is hard to quantify. But the broad picture gleaned from hundreds of interviews and dozens of studies reviewed by The Associated Press is clear: Tens of millions of elders have become victims, trapped between governments and families, neither of which have figured out how to protect or provide for them.

Abridged
SOURCE:    The Washington Post
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The Disturbing Trend In America We're Not Talking About - Elder Abuse

 By Ariel Gordon
October 15, 2013

The Disturbing Trend in America We're Not Talking About — Elder Abuse
This article was written in collaboration with PolicyMic pundit Matthew Rozsa.
Elder abuse may not be making national headlines, but it ought to be.

In Mercer County, Penn., a woman was dropped off starving and emaciated because her grandson spent $86,000 of her money on drugs and personal amenities. Across the country in Oregon, four elderly plaintiffs are in the process of suing a retirement community for financially abusing them by tricking them into signing misleading rental documents. Meanwhile, a Georgia woman has been charged with running an unlicensed retirement homein order to financially gouge its elderly residents while neglecting to meet their needs.
The issue goes beyond scamming and shady senior citizen facilities; even legitimate retirement centers often mistreat their elderly patients. One of the writers of this piece witnessed an occurrence involving a gentleman in his 50s, who will be referred to as Moe. Born in Syria and raised in Lebanon, he retained his accent and many of his customary habits even though he has been living in America for over 30 years. Despite having been diagnosed with PTSD and some anger issues, Moe was a great conversationalist and maintained a healthy level of identity, reality, and morality at all times. Nevertheless, he was subjected to cruel mistreatment at the center. One worker in particular liked to tease him by referring to Moe as his "wife" and poking fun at Moe's Muslim heritage, such as offering him pig-based food items and ridiculing how Moe (who wasn't especially devout) would still eat them.

On another occasion, this co-author saw one of the employees rub the stomach of a client after he had finished a meal. After the client made his displeasure apparent and said "don't touch me," the worker simply chuckled it off as a joke while none of his colleagues confronted him about his behavior. In an equally upsetting case, there was another client in his 80s who had a reputation for falling asleep at the center due to his habitual insomnia. There were no rules against this act and for the sake of the man’s health and well-being, his naps should have been permitted. However, workers would repeatedly awaken the man and scold him for resting rather than taking part in activities. Of course, there were very few activities available for the gentleman to join, and so he would fall back asleep and the harassment from the workers would continue. This interruption of his sleep would lead to the man’s further exhaustion and inability to join in other groups that would be beneficial to him.
Indeed, there weren’t many days when there was no evidence of poor treatment. Sometimes it was as low-key as a quip putting down a client that was blown off, but even those acts could not be ignored. After a lifetime of these individuals being told they were crazy, stupid, lazy, ugly … they deserved to be placed somewhere that did not harbor these thoughts and this treatment.

In a recent national study of Adult Protective Services (APS), there were 253,421 reports of abuse of adults age 60+ or 832.6 reports for every 100,000 people over the age of 60. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) is doing its part to prevent abuse of those in late life, such as a committee devoted to contributing research and practice examples to a literature review; and a forum to deepen understanding of the findings and an interdisciplinary training curriculum. They also have training videos and a website, webinars, and presentations. There is still much to be done to deal with the daily abuse of elderly persons. The solution comes from the individual as well — those who witness abuse and are willing to speak up, those who will risk their title and professional reputation to protect the innocent and defenseless. Recognizing abuse is the first step, then confronting it, and finally, reporting it. 

SOURCE:      The PolicyMic
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Focus On Crimes Against Older People in Crown Office Guidelines


14 October 2013

Crimes against older people will be given increased scrutiny under new Scottish prosecution guidelines.
The policy outlines offences including domestic abuse, bogus callers, scams, housebreaking and assault.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service focus on crimes of vulnerability or hostility based on age was welcomed by campaigners.
A COPFS spokesman said the policy advocated a strong presumption in favour of prosecution.
The offences covered range from abuse in the home and anti-social behaviour to investment scams and housebreaking, where the fact the occupant is older is exploited by a thief.
Negative impact
The COPFS said the Older People's Policy reflected an ageing population and the negative impact being a victim of crime can have on older people.
Solicitor General for Scotland Lesley Thomson QC said: "No-one should live in fear of crime. Criminals profiting from others is particularly detestable when they prey on the more vulnerable in our society.
"We know from the research that incidents of elder abuse are under-reported to criminal justice authorities.
"Some of the reasons for this include: difficulty in communicating allegations; mental health; fear; embarrassment; or language barriers where the victim's first language is not English."
She added: "The Scottish prosecution service is committed to meet the particular needs of older victims and witnesses and to treat them with the respect they deserve."

Victim Support Scotland and Age Scotland both welcomed the move.
Greg McCracken, from Age Scotland, said: "We would encourage others with a stake in the justice system to consider what steps they should take to take account of older people's specific needs."

SOURCE:       BBC, UK
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October 10, 2013

Elder Care Rights Groups Rally At Arkansas Capitol

BY MALCOLM GLOVER
OCTOBER 7, 2013

Supporters of nursing home reform in Arkansas are continuing efforts to get community leaders and organizations involved with efforts to improve elder care facilities.
Organizers of the Tenth Annual Residents’ Rights Rally assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Monday to commemorate National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month.
Martha Deaver, president of Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents, says the rights and safety of the vulnerable must be protected.
“The national data shows that nine out of ten nursing homes in the United States are cited for healthcare violations,” said Deaver. “Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is a national epidemic and it is not necessarily unique to Arkansas.”
Dr. David Montague oversees the work of the UALR Senior Justice Center. He says more must be done to ensure there are advocates representing the needs of severely disabled nursing home residents and those residents in elder care facilities who speak a different language.
“We need to focus on reaching people who are not aware of the statistics, perceptions, and realities that exist concerning elder abuse in communities across the state,” said Montague. “There are changing demographics in Arkansas and we have to make sure students have the knowledge and tools necessary to help solve some of the problems impacting that older population.”
Monatgue says the UALR Senior Justice Center remains the only university-based program in the country that primarily uses undergraduate students to address crimes that impact senior citizens.

SOURCE:    
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Nursing Homes Residents' Rights, Ombudsman Program

Residents' Rights, Ombudsman Program
Oct. 07, 2013
Press release submitted by Alternatives for the Older Adult

Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities along with family member, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long- term care residents by celebrating Residents' Rights Month. Residents' Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long- term Care (The Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term residents.

The theme for Residents' Rights Month 2013 is, "Speak Out Against Elder Abuse" with the goal of encouraging residents and others to be educated about and speak out again elder abuse.

"Residents' Rights Month is an excellent opportunity to re-affirm our collective commitment to residents'rights and to honor long-term care residents," said Sarah F. Wells, Consumer Voice Executive Director. "We want to help create a safe and secure environment for older adults and individuals with disabilities, no matter where they may happen to live. Whether it's the residents themselves or witnesses of elder abuse, there is no reason some should keep quiet and avoid taking action. We hope to facilitate and encourage ways for residents, their loved ones, or witnesses of elder abuse to use their voice and speak out against this serious issue."

The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their individual rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in other types of facilities such as assisted living, supportive living or skilled nursing facilities maintain their rights as U.S. Citizens. Residents' Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents.

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has worked for more than 30 years to promote residents' rights daily. More than 8,000 volunteers and 1,000 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Authorized under the Older Americans Act and administered by the Administration on Aging, the program also provides information on how to find a facility, conducts community education sessions and supports residents, their families and the public with one-on-one consultations regarding long term care.

Alternatives for the Older Adult, a nonprofit which promotes the independence and quality of life of older adults and their families, recognizes the importance of residents' rights by providing the Ombudsman Program for ten counties in the state of Illinois including Rock Island, Mercer, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, McDonough, Putnam, Bureau, Warren and Henderson County.

Regional Ombudsman for Alternatives for the Older Adult Nancy Schold explains why the community should recognize the importance of Residents' Rights Month.

"Residents retain all of the rights they enjoyed while living in the community. As with every other citizen of Illinois, the rights of nursing home residents are guaranteed by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Illinois. Residents retain the rights of free speech, practice of religion, freedom from unlawful search or seizure, and the right to vote. In addition, Residents gain the additional rights of safety and good care." Schold said.

For more information about Residents' Rights Month or the Ombudsman Program contact Alternatives for the Older Adult.

SOURCE:     QC Online
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Lending Warning For Aged

By Lydia Anderson
Oct 7, 2013

Parents and grandparents are being warned to think carefully before handing over nest eggs to younger relatives desperate to buy a first home.
New Reserve Bank lending restrictions making it harder to get a home loan with less than 20 per cent deposit have sparked fears many first-home buyers will turn to their families to help raise the necessary funds.
Age Concern has issued a warning to its members, saying many parents and grandparents may be pressured to lend younger members of their families money or sign on as a guarantor for their mortgage.
Age Concern chief executive Ann Martin said when grown-up children got into financial strife they often asked parents to dip into savings, or expected parents to front up with cash.
She said parents needed to learn to say 'no'. Ms Martin recommended older people discussed potential lending arrangements thoroughly first and sought legal advice before agreeing to anything.
Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention co-ordinator Heather Campbell, of Whangarei, said she had not seen cases of parents lending money for home loans, but typical cases of elder abuse involved an older person spending a lot of money on a family member.
"Outside people see that as abuse, but when you go into it the older person doesn't mind or doesn't want to report it . . . because it's a family member - but often they are being taken advantage of," she said. "I have seen abuse where the grown-up child may have control of finances, have access online to bank accounts, or they might have their parents' eftpos card."
It was tricky to pin down cases of elder abuse if the older person was not complaining about it, Ms Campbell said.
"At the end of the day there's no law against someone giving their money to someone.
"If you willingly give someone money it becomes such a grey area because there's no deception," she said.
- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

SOURCE:      The New Zealand Herald
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Banks Aid Fight To Halt Scams That Cheat Aged

 Oct. 6, 2013
By Susan Tompor
Gannett News Service

Just one year ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that it could not find any federal requirements for banks to train tellers and others to spot or report elder financial exploitation.
Increasingly, banks are being told that their employees are part of the solution on the front lines to stopping financial abuse.
Federal regulators joined forces to issue guidance to clarify that privacy rules don’t trump common sense for reporting suspected elder abuse to law enforcers or state adult protective services agencies.
“Older Americans are all too often victims of financial exploitation,” said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “They make attractive targets because they often have higher household wealth — whether it is in retirement savings or home equity.”
Families caring for older relatives know too well about the constant fear that some outsider, or maybe even a relative up to no good, might find a way to get a senior’s ATM card and PIN. Or maybe a friendly sounding con artist can persuade an older adult to wire $4,000 to cover taxes for his or her so-called winnings on a big sweepstakes. And maybe those calls about a big sweepstakes win just keep coming and coming — and the senior keeps on sending money.
Signs to watch for
Ann Langford, program manager for the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, a nonprofit that supports services for older and disabled adults in Detroit, said in the tough economic times, some family members have sought to fix their own finances by coercing an older relative to hand over cash.
“They may have a loved one who has money,” Langford said.
She noted that banks often want to protect their customers, but she said it may help to have the privacy regulations clarified so some tellers know what’s allowed.
A “No Excuse for Elder Abuse” campaign was launched last March in the Detroit area and included a tip that involved asking a bank manager to train tellers on how to detect elder financial abuse. “It’s a stealth crime that just needs to have a spotlight on it,” Langford said.
What are some signs that might trigger a suspicious-activity report at a financial institution? Regulators said it could be lots of stops at the ATM for withdrawals that hit the daily maximum allowed on that account. Or a sudden onslaught of bounced checks, which might indicate an unexpected loss of money.
Are there debit transactions that don’t seem to make sense for an older adult? Is the older adult wiring large sums of money out of the blue? Did the elderly customer show up at the bank window and close a certificate of deposit, even though a large penalty would be paid for early withdrawal before that CD matured?
Why the guidance now? Cordray and other regulators said financial institutions had expressed concern that they couldn’t take action without violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which establishes how and when a financial institution can disclose non-public personal information to third parties not affiliated with the institution.
Richard Riese, senior vice president of the American Bankers Association’s Center for Regulatory Compliance, said the guidance helps confirm privacy rule interpretations that banks have been relying on to report elder financial abuse.
Some other possible signs of abuse include when the bank is unable to speak directly with the older adult, despite repeated attempts to contact him or her.
Financial exploitation is defined as illegally or improperly using an older adult’s money, property or other assets. Older adults can lose money through exploitation by relatives, caregivers, scam artists, financial advisers, home-repair contractors, guardians and others.
Success stories
But sometimes, there’s a little hope that not every scam out there will successfully tarnish a senior’s golden years. Debbie Matz, board chairwoman of the National Credit Union Administration, said some credit unions have had success at being watchdogs for their customers’ money and prevented elder financial fraud.
One credit union in Colorado, for example, stopped an 85-year-old from losing $50,000 to one financial exploitation trap.
Stopping the money from ever being handed over to an abusive relative or a con artist is essential. Some seniors are too upset or frail or just too embarrassed to take legal action. And the scammers know that too well.

SOURCE:       The Poughkeepsie Journal
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Nursing Home Went to Extraordinary Lengths to Hide the Truth (AUSTRALIA)

By RUTH LAMPERD HERALD SUN
OCTOBER 06, 2013

FRANK Montalto thought the worst. Three missed phone calls - one from his brother and two from his mother's nursing home - could mean only one thing. Dear old Mum was gone.
His older brother, Joe, was told their mother had a heart attack and fell. It was 4.30pm on May 31, 2011. Frank was at work.
He walked to his car and drove to where his mother had spent her final years, Arcare's Hampstead nursing home in Maidstone.
There was a checklist of things to do. An engineer, as he drove his mind was already constructing a list.
He walked up to huddled staff at the home's common room, noticing they looked scared. Shocked. Deaths are common in these places.
But in his countless visits to his parents he'd never seen staff wide-eyed and motionless like this - like a rabbit in a spotlight, he later described it.
Joe was already there when he walked into their mother's room.
Caterina Montalto, 76, lay peacefully in her Jasmine ward bed, a blanket up to her shoulders. Her hair was brushed and dry.
He noticed a graze on her forehead and a small mark on her chin. Nothing to worry about, though. He heard of her regular bumps and falls.
The priest came, gave the last rites. The funeral director took her body to the mortuary for embalming in the traditional Italian way.
What Frank did not know was that four days later the coroner's office would call his family. Tell him an investigation was underway. Caterina's body was needed for a post-mortem.
All was not as it seemed. A 22-year-old junior carer at the nursing home, who had seen where Caterina was found, claimed there had been a terrible accident. And, worse, a cover-up. Nobody had told the family how she really died.
A coronial hearing in July took evidence from a nurse who falsified a progress report. From a carer allegedly given a plate of scrambled eggs as a "bribe" to stop her talking.
From staff who said they'd been threatened with the sack if they spoke of Caterina's death. From a facility manager who fired the whistle blower the day after she told authorities.
Frank speaks to the Herald Sun about his family life, only to let people know that his mum deserved the best. He wanted to look after her when she was old.
He and Joe searched for a place as good as any for professional care as her dementia set in.
Frank's father Vito is still at Hampstead.
Frank won't be drawn to speak about the facility. All that he had to say on that he said to the court.
He told the Coroner he met with the Arcare chief executive Colin Singh and chief operations officer Kay Foster a week after his mother died.
Mr Singh reassured him they would "take extra care'' of his father.
Frank insisted they treat his father like all the other residents. He's now waiting for the investigation wheels to finish turning. The Coroner Heather Spooner is unlikely to hand down her findings till January.
Frank never expected his mum to live long. But she should not have gone when she did. Not like that.
His dad doesn't know - wouldn't understand - that his wife has died. Nor how she went.
For that one, small mercy, Frank is grateful.

SOURCE:    The Daily Telegraph, au
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