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

January 30, 2013

Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse

By Sunita Kapahi
January 29, 2013

Georgia's population aged 60 and older has increased significantly in recent years, and the number of elderly individuals in the state is expected to keep growing. Georgia has taken many steps to meet the needs of these individuals, including elder abuse prevention and reporting.

Every day, older adults and adults with disabilities suffer from abuse, neglect and exploitation. While abuse either directly harms or places an older adult at risk, neglect finds a caregiver intentionally or unknowingly withholding basic necessities. Less understood than either abuse or neglect but just as widespread, exploitation or financial abuse occurs when caregivers improperly or illegally use resources for their own benefit. Caregivers, for example, may steal from older adults, misspend their government checks or trick them into rewriting their wills.
All of these abuses can occur in an older adult's own home or in a community living arrangement, and often, abusers are people these individuals trust the most. Though abuse can have devastating and life-threatening consequences, it continues to be one of the most undetected, under-recognized and underreported social problems in the United States.
If you're concerned an older adult might be suffering abuse, knowing signs and symptoms can help. Changes in a person's behavior or emotional state, including expressions of agitation, withdrawal, apathy, fear or anxiety, may suggest a problem. The refusal of a caregiver to allow you to visit the older person alone may also signal abuse. To learn more about forms of elder abuse, neglect and other safety concerns, visit the National Adult Protective Services Association.

In Georgia, the Department of Human Services' Division of Aging Services also assists older individuals, at-risk adults and persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers. In 2011, Adult Protective Services averaged more than 3,000 cases per month.

To report elder abuse, call Adult Protective Services at 404-657-5250 or 1-866-55AGING (1-866-552-4462; press "2") between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also report abuse on the web. If you perceive an immediate and serious risk, do not hesitate to call 911 for help.

SOURCE:      Georgia Gov

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Aging America: Elder Abuse, Use of Shelters Rising

Dan Sewell/The Associated Press

NOTE: This story is part of a joint project between The Associated Press and the Associated Press Managing Editors looking at the silver tsunami -- the aging of the baby boomers -- and its impact on communities and the services they provide, from health care to accessible housing, shopping and other aspects of everyday living.
MASON, Ohio 
She raises her hands to her snow-white hair in a gesture of frustrated bewilderment, then slowly lowers them to cover eyes filling with tears. The woman, in her 70s, is trying to explain how she wound up in a shelter that could well be where she spends the rest of her life.
While the woman was living with a close family member, officials at the Shalom Center say, her money was being drained away by people overcharging for her grocery shopping, while her body and spirit were sapped by physical neglect and emotional torment. She says she was usually ordered to “go to bed,” where she lay in a dark room, upset, unable to sleep.
”She just yelled at me all the time. Screamed at me, cussed me out,” the woman says of a family member. “I don't know what happened. She just got tired of me, I guess.”
The Shalom Center offers shelter, along with medical, psychological and legal help, to elderly abuse victims in this northern Cincinnati suburb. It is among a handful in the country that provide sanctuary from such treatment, a problem experts say is growing along with the age of the nation's population.
The number of Americans 65 and over is projected to nearly double by 2030 because of the 74 million baby boomers born in 1946-64, and the number of people 85 and over is increasing even faster rate. The number of seniors being abused, exploited or neglected every year is often estimated at about 2 million, judging by available statistics and surveys, but experts say the number could be much higher. Some research indicates that 1 in 10 seniors have suffered some form of abuse at least once.
”That's a big number,” said Sharon Merriman-Nai, project director of the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly, based at the University of Delaware. “It's a huge issue, and it's just going to get bigger.”
Recognition of and mechanisms for dealing with elder abuse are many years behind strides that have been made in child abuse awareness and protection, experts say.
Getting comprehensive numbers of the abused is complicated, experts say, because the vast majority of cases go unreported out of embarrassment, fear of being cut off from family -- most abuse is at the hands of relatives -- or confusion about what has happened.
Abuse sometimes comes to light only by chance. County-level adult protective services caseworkers can get anonymous tips. In one recent Ohio case, a hair stylist noticed her elderly client was wincing in pain and got her to acknowledge she had been hit in the ribs by a relative. Another Shalom Center patient was referred by sheriff's detectives who said his son beat him.
”Are these older people going to be allowed to live their lives the way they deserve to?” said Carol Silver Elliott, CEO of the Cedar Village retirement community, of which the Shalom Center is a part. “We really are not addressing it as a society the way we should.”
The Obama administration has said it has increased its focus on protecting American seniors by establishing a national resource center and a consumer protection office, among other steps. But needs are growing at a time when government spending on social services is being cut on many levels or not keeping up with demand.
In Ohio, slowly recovering from the recession, budgets have been slashed in such areas as staffs that investigate elderly abuse cases.
Staff at the Jobs and Family Services agency in Hamilton County in Cincinnati is about half the size it was in 2009, spokesman Brian Gregg said. Even as national statistics indicate elder abuse is increasing, the number of elder abuse cases the agency can probe is lower, down from 574 cases in 2009 to 477 last year, he said.
There are no longer enough adult protective services investigators to routinely check on older adults unless there is a specific report of abuse or neglect.
”We do the best we can down here,” Gregg said, noting that the agency has a hotline to take anonymous reports and that it is seeing more financial scams targeting elderly people.
The price for not getting ahead of the problem and preventing abuse of people who would otherwise be healthy and financially stable will be high, warned Joy Solomon, a former Manhattan assistant prosecutor who helped pioneer elder abuse shelters with the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, which opened in 2005 at the Hebrew Home community in New York City.
”My argument always is, if all you do is come in when the crisis has occurred, it is much more costly than preventative care,” said Solomon, director of the shelter, which takes in about 15 people a year. “We're going to have to pay for it anyway.”
She and others in the field say the first steps are to raise public awareness and train police, lawyers, criminal justice officials and others to recognize and respond to signs of abuse.
Prosecutors often have been reluctant to purse elder abuse cases, which can be complex because of medical and financial complications, the witness' ability to testify or reluctance to testify against relatives, according to research for the National Institute of Justice.
In suburban Los Angeles, Orange County started an Elder Abuse Forensic Center nearly 10 years ago; it helps police, geriatrics specialists, lawyers and social services workers coordinate efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute abuse cases.
New York City started its Elder Abuse Center in 2009 to bring a multi-organization approach to the problem, saying nearly 100,000 older people are abused in their homes in the city alone. While he was Ohio's attorney general, Richard Cordray, now director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, initiated in 2009 the state Elder Abuse Commission, something current Attorney General Mike DeWine has continued.
The commission has focused on training and education and hopes to launch a public awareness campaign this year, said Ursel McElroy, the longtime adult protection services investigator who leads it. The commission also has been pushing for legislation to improve legal protection and abuse prevention, expand training and improve statistical data.
In New York, part of the Weinberg Center's mission is to help other communities replicate it. It has assisted shelter startups in upstate New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Minnesota along with the Shalom Center in Ohio.
The center marked its anniversary in January. While more than 40 people have been referred to the nonprofit, faith-based center, only three have gone through with admittance, signs of the reluctance of people who fear losing family relationships -- even if they are bad -- or the feeling of being at home.
Set up as a “virtual shelter” because victims are integrated into the full Cedar Village retirement community, it is meant to provide 60- to 90-day emergency stays while caseworkers provide help and seek out the best alternative, such as with a different caregiver or relative.
In the case of the woman who complained of abuse in a relative's home, a call to adult protective services by someone familiar with her led to an investigation and her referral to the shelter.
She has little money, health problems and few alternatives, and after a while, she asked if she could stay at Cedar Village permanently. Caseworkers and officials at the nonprofit, faith-based home agreed that was the best place for her.
The center asked that her identity be protected for this story because the close relatives who allegedly abused her don't know where she is.
She paints, plays in a residents' bell choir, plays bingo with others regularly and has her own room and TV to watch favorites such as “Ellen” and reruns of “I Love Lucy.”
The healthy diet the center keeps her on means she misses some of her favorite foods -- beans and corn bread, fried pork chops. But she loves the tuna salad, the group activities and having a life with people who care about her.
”I've got quite a few friends,” she says. “They're just nice people here. I have somebody to talk to, and I appreciate it.”

For more information online, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse (http://ncea.aoa.gov); The Weinberg Center (http://m.hebrewhome.org/weinberg-center.asp) or the National Institute of Justice (http://tinyurl.com/a9v48yc).

SOURCE:       The Times-Standard


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January 23, 2013

Elder Abuse on the Rise as OAPs Targeted for Thef and Deception (IE)

By Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent
January 22 2013

GROWING numbers of pensioners are falling prey to theft, fraud and deception – often from the people they trust most.

Elder abuse officers in the Health Service Executive (HSE) are receiving a marked increase in reports of older people being financially exploited.
More than one in five of all 1,850 reports of elder abuse made in the first eight months of 2012 involved some form of financial deception, the Irish Independent has learned.
However, the reported cases of financial abuse are just the tip of the iceberg and the real numbers who may be suffering in silence, or unaware they are being targeted, runs into thousands.
A damning dossier has been compiled by HSE elder abuse officers.
The shocking files reveal cases of:
? Forging or forcing an older person's signature.
? Abusing joint signature authority on a bank account.
? Misusing ATMs/credit cards.
? Cashing an older person's cheques without permission.
? Taking pension money.
? Getting an older person to sign a deed, will, contract or power of attorney through deception or undue influence.
? Persuading an impaired older person to change a will or policy to alter the beneficiary.
? Using a power of attorney, including enduring power of attorney, for purposes beyond those for which it was originally executed.
? Promising care in exchange for money or property and not following through.
Four in 10 of the files were referred to gardai and legal action was taken in the case of 70. Sons and daughters were likely to be the perpetrators – but neighbours also emerged as taking financial advantage of an older person.
John Costello, a solicitor with Beauchamps in Dublin who was part of a Department of Health working group on elder abuse, told the Irish Independent that serious issues of exploitation could arise in cases where there was a joint bank account. "It is a minefield and banks need to be more careful where large sums are involved," he added.
He said new regulations by the Law Society come into effect this month which make it mandatory for separate solicitors to act for both parties where gifts of property are involved. The move had been criticised on cost grounds but the change was necessary to protect older people, he added.
Dermot Kirwan of Friends of the Elderly said several older people had been hoodwinked by telemarketing carried out by a hearing aid company.
"The householder receives a call from somebody saying they are doing a survey. Then they offer a free hearing test in their home," he said.
"After the hearing test, the person is asked for a deposit and it can mean the tester walking with the older person to the credit union or post office to hand over money." Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland said there was a perception that older people were easy prey. "They are often caught in a bind because they are dependent on the perpetrator," he added.

SOURCE:         Independent ie

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January 22, 2013

Three Years in Prison for Nurse in Elder Abuse Case

Pamela Maclean 
Jan 14, 2013
A California judge sentenced the former director of nursing at a Kern County skilled nursing facility to three years in prison last week for illegally prescribing psychiatric drugs as a form of chemical restraint, hastening the deaths of three elderly patients.

Gwen D. Hughes, 59, who worked at Kern Valley Healthcare District hospital pled no contest in October to one felony count of elder abuse that contributed to the victim's death. She was taken into custody immediately after sentencing. The case marked the first criminal prosecution in California alleging elder abuse for misuse of psychiatric medication. The overuse and abuse of psychiatric drugs to control dementia patients is of growing concern nationwide,

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said in a statement on the case, "Elder abuse in skilled nursing facilities is a particularly heinous crime because vulnerable victims and their families have placed their trust in the facilities to provide quality care, preserve their dignity and enjoy a better quality of life."

SOURCE:       NewAmericaMedia

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January 16, 2013

Legislation Protecting Canada's Seniors Comes Into Force (CANADA)

National News: Legislation Protecting Canada's Seniors Comes Into Force
Contributed by admin on Jan 14, 2013

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Alice Wong, M.P. for Richmond and Minister of State (Seniors), welcomed yesterday’s coming into force of the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act.
“Our Government is ensuring that crimes against our elderly are punished appropriately,” said Minister Nicholson. “Elder abuse is disgraceful and appalling; the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act will ensure tougher sentences for those who take advantage of these vulnerable members of our society.”
“This legislation further supports our Government’s existing action to eliminate elder abuse in all forms,” said Minister Wong. “Elder abuse will not be tolerated. Our Government continues to ensure that Canadians are made aware of this serious issue and that they have the necessary information and supports for preventative action.”
The Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act better protects seniors by ensuring tougher sentences for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians. Under the amendments to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age – and other personal circumstances such as their health or financial situation – will now be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.
The Government addresses elder abuse in a number of ways, including its elder abuse awareness campaigns and the New Horizons for Seniors Program. In 2011, the Government increased its investment in this program, which includes projects to increase elder abuse awareness, by $5 million per year, bringing its annual budget to $45 million.
More information about elder abuse can be found at www.seniors.gc.ca.
An online version of the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act is available at www.parl.gc.ca.

Footnote: Written by: Department of Justice Canada

SOURCE:       The NorthumberlandView

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New Law Mandates Elder Abuse Reporting

New Law Mandates Elder Abuse Reporting
Reported by: Colin Lygren

It’s an unthinkable crime, but it is happening every day across California. Family members and caregivers are abusing the elderly physically, mentally and financially.

Laws already on the books mandated caregivers report suspected elder abuse, but a new law changed who they report it to and how quickly they do it.

Those in California required to report suspected elder abuse now need to call law enforcement officials in additions to the ombudsmen’s office, which are patient advocates.

“I expect it will have quite a positive result that law enforcement will be able to get involved in cases readily where they need to be involved,” said Roberto D'Amico with Shasta Adult Protective Services. He explains prior to 2013, pertinent details of abuse could take a while to trickle down to police.

“So that gets around that difficulty and it will make that information immediately available to law enforcement so they can pursue it in an appropriate time frame,” said D’Amico.

“It’s sad when you see abuse happen because you know these patients have had great lives,” said Andy Tenney who operates Oak River Rehab in Anderson, one of the facilities affected by the change.

“So I think it is a good thing. it does not affect us that much because we have been reporting to all the agencies as it was up front,” said Tenney, noting his facility pays close attention to its patients and immediately reports any problems.

“Whether it's financial, emotional, physical or many others, my heart goes out to that and that is why we try to help as much as we can,” said Tenney.

The law is needed locally; Shasta County's rate of elder abuse is higher than the state average. But much of it goes unreported because it happens at home, beyond a watchful eye.

“Anybody can... And really should call us and let us know,” said D’Amico.

If you suspect elder abuse at home or in a licensed care facility, call adult protective services to report it.


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January 8, 2013

Financial Elder Abuse on The Rise

Financial Elder Abuse On The Rise
December 18, 2012


It’s a common occurrence — family members ripping off an elderly parent.
A recent Consumer Reports’ investigation finds theft and fraud by loved ones is on the rise.
“They take advantage of them, and they are much more susceptible to it because they say — well it’s my daughter, it’s my granddaughter, it’s my son — somebody that they trust,” says Carol Sikov Gross, a Pittsburgh elder law attorney.
Sikov Gross is one of Pittsburgh’s seven certified elder law attorneys — there are only 430 nationwide — and she has seen that abuse right here.
“Father gets his daughter to put her name on his bank account, and suddenly daughter is taking out money from father’s account,” she says.
Take the case of 74-year-old Arthur Green who built a lakeside retirement home and was persuaded to sign it over to his granddaughter with the promise he could live out his days there.
“Snap of the fingers, she changed. She got money hungry,” Green says of his granddaughter.
His granddaughter tried to evict him and sell the property.
“Arthur was absolutely at risk of homelessness,” says Denis Culley, Green’s attorney through Neighborhood Legal Services. “He was also completely impoverished because this land and house is the only thing of any value he owned in the world.”
This is not far-fetched.
“I get calls all the time about that,” adds Sikov Gross. “‘What would it cost to do a deed? I want to add my kids. I want to put my house in their name.’”
But like joint bank accounts, it can be a license for abuse.
“Once you put someone else’s name on your deed, they’re an owner,” Sikov Gross says. “So their creditors can come after your house. If they get divorced, their ex-spouse can come after your house. They can try to sell your house.”
Consumer Reports advises seniors to have bank statements sent to a person you trust to monitor accounts — arrange for direct deposit and automatic bill pay — and consult an elder law attorney for legal changes involving children.
Click here for more information from Consumer Reports.
“Most people can trust their family members, but you just have to make sure you do it the right way,” adds Sikov Gross

SOURCE:       PittsburghCBSLocal

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

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