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

April 29, 2013

Toughen Maine Law to Prevent, Fight Financial Exploitation of Elderly

By Tabitha Sagner and Kelly Souder, Special to the BDN

April 21, 2013

It is estimated that by 2030, almost 25 percent of Americans will be 60 years of age or older. Elder financial exploitation harms the dignity, health and economic security of millions of Americans. Each year more than 12,000 Mainers are victims of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Elder financial abuse is underrecognized, underreported and underprosecuted. It has not been extensively studied, nor is it well understood.
The oldest demographic, those 85 and older, are the fastest increasing population of seniors and have a 30 percent chance of dementia. Many seniors are dependent on others for help. Sometimes, those helpers exercise substantial influence over seniors. To gain compliance with their demands, perpetrators often use threats of withdrawal of love, care, medications, food and social interactions and threaten institutionalization.
By median age, Maine is the oldest state in the nation and has more 300,000 people age 60 years and older. It’s estimated about 38,000 people in Maine are affected with Alzheimer’s disease and that thousands more suffer from other forms of dementia. One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is financial difficulty due to loss of abstract thinking. Now that Maine’s baby boomers are reaching the age of retirement, there is an increased risk for more instances of financial exploitation in the coming years.
A 2012 study found the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion dollars nationwide. This creates a burden for state and federal services as the victims’ diminished resources are no longer enough to provide for basic needs and standards of living. This is not only a problem for the victim; the problem falls on the shoulders of all Mainers.
Police investigations of financial exploitation are commonly ceased — often because the perpetrator can demonstrate, via a power of attorney, his or her name on a bank account or other legal document. Often the victim consented to the use of funds, even if doing so left the victim destitute.
LD 527, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, proposes three modifications to the current statutes to better protect vulnerable adults.
The first modification is the addition of “dementia or other cognitive impairment” to protect people who are not able to adequately judge their situation and cannot give their consent.
The second modification states that consent cannot be given by “undue influence.” This is sometimes described as a deceptive means to control another person’s decision making. Examining undue influence could mean a more involved process of evaluating the true intentions of the vulnerable adult in the changing of their will, power of attorney, name on a joint account or the voluntary turnover of an asset.
Including the use of undue influence provides an increased incentive for law enforcement and prosecutors to pursue cases involving powers of attorney where the person is left destitute because of the misuse of their only assets by someone who had a right to use the assets.
When a power of attorney is misused in violation of the duty created, it is the same as theft. Currently, regardless of the amounts misused, the crime can only be a misdemeanor. This is where the last modification comes into play. The modification increases the penalty to a felony. If the value of the property is between $1,000 and $10,000, it becomes a Class C crime. If the value of the property is more than $10,000, it becomes a harsher Class B crime. This proposed bill would allow for the legal system to offer more punitive penalties to those who take advantage of our older, vulnerable adults.
Elder abuse in Maine is on the rise. Many seniors rely heavily on low incomes for their feeling of identity and independence. Taking a senior’s money creates a devastating loss. The term “financial violence” is more fitting to describe the horrific impact of financial exploitation. This bill creates the initial steps needed to enable prosecutors and law enforcement to better protect our seniors and vulnerable adults.
For these reasons, we encourage people to contact their legislators and urge them to pass LD 527, An Act to Protect Elders and Vulnerable Adults from Exploitation.

Tabitha Sagner of Old Town and Kelly Souder of Winterport are both Master of Social Workstudents at the University of Maine, set to graduate in May. They are also students in theHartford Partnership Program for Aging Education through the University of Maine Center on Aging.

SOURCE:          Bangor Daily News
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Elderly Financial Abuse Costs Seniors $2.9 Billion Annually

The Southwest Times

 An estimated one million older Americans lose $2.9 billion each year through the financial abuse of the elder generation.
The perpetrators are not thugs with guns or threats or strangers, but family, neighbors, friends, caregivers and financial officers.
To combat this menace and help the elderly preserve finances, possessions and homes, the New River Valley Elder Justice Coalition will sponsor a Community Dialogue on Financial Abuse among Older Adults.
The session will be held Tuesday, May 7, at Highland Ridge Rehab Center, Dublin, from   9:30 a.m. to noon.
Brunch will be served. To register, call 674-4193 by May 1. More information about this event is available by calling Janet Brennend, Agency on Aging at 980-7720.
A panel representing law enforcement, long-term medical care, banking and finance and adult protective services will provide information during a question and answer session.
An open discussion on elder financial abuse and resource sharing will also be part of the session.
A grant from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley is funding the session.
Fraud by strangers accounts for 51 percent of elder abuse fraud, with business sector another 12 percent. Medicare and Medicaid fraud adds for percent.
Women are twice as likely as men to become victims of such abuse, most of them 80 to 89 yeas of age, living alone and requiring some level of help.
The typical victim is a frail white female, 70-89 years of age with cognitive impairment. She trusts others, is lonely or isolated. Family members are scattered and seldom visit or uninvolved.
Nearly 50 percent of the perpetrators are men, 30 to 59 years of age.
The abuse often leads to credit problems, health issues, depression and loss of independence, as well as finances, possessions and homes.
Many people know of such incidents, but seldom become involved until it is too late.
There are similar incidents that have occurred locally, but not reported nor any measures taken to overturn them. Recovering the losses are difficult.
One case in Georgia involved a couple, she the caregiver and her husband, were indicted for defrauding an elderly veteran with dementia out of about $182,000. Police say the couple took about $500,000 from the 80-year-old man.
 Another case, in California, involved a CEO and CFO of an investment firm who were charged in 66 felon cases of bilking older investors out of $2.3 million over eight years.
 These may be the exception, but hundreds of thousands of lesser amounts add up to $2.9 billion a year.

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April 26, 2013

Conference to Offer Education, Awareness About Senior Abuse, Support Services

By Sheena Read, QMI Agency
April 22, 2013

An upcoming conference will highlight elder abuse and available support systems.
The Nanton Quality of Life Foundation will be hosting a seniors conference called Shining A Light:  A Seniors Conference on May 8.

The one-day conference will offer a series of workshops providing education and awareness to help local seniors, family members, service providers, volunteers and the public understand what elder abuse is.
“We know the need is out there,” says Nanton Quality of Life Foundation executive director Nicole Van Langen. “In there region there has been instances of senior abuse.”
The conference will help participants understand the many facets of abuse, and how to respond to the various forms of abuse.
It is the hope that this understanding will reduce the incidence of elder abuse through increased awareness and knowledge of the issue, says Van Langen.
“I think people are becoming more informed as to what constitutes the specifics of elder abuse,” says Van Langen. “I think it also helps that the government has provided a definition for it.”
Van Langen says she doesn’t believe that elder abuse is increasing, but likens it how there was a movement of growing awareness for domestic abuse about 30 years ago.
Elder abuse can occur in financial, physical, prescription, sexual, emotional and neglect forms.
“I think that education and information equals power,” says Van Langen.
“We have experts in those fields coming in to define all areas of abuse, and what to do if you’re a victim,” says Van Langen.
Included in the day’s workshops will be an expert on frauds and scams.
“I think that what happens is people don’t know what to do once it happens. He’ll show the information on what to do to protect yourself,” she says.
Another workshop will deal with how to maintain mental wellness.
“People will suffer in silence, especially in a small town,” she says. ‘
Van Langen says that the Nanton Quality of Life Foundation has obtained some great resource materials for packages for participants.
Although the target audience for the conference is seniors, Van Langen says that is applicable for anyone who has a senior in their life, as well as service providers like financial institutions, volunteers and care givers.
“In order to pinpoint abuse, sometimes it takes a team effort,” she says. The conference will be holding a limited number of seats for service providers.
“The information provided will be just as applicable,” says Van Langen.
There is no cost to attend this conference, and everyone is welcome.
 For more information, contact the Nanton Quality of Life Foundation office at   403-646-2436.

SOURCE:         The Nanton News
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Lawmakers Push New Elder Abuse Bill

Apr 23, 2013
By WBRC Staff - email

Several Birmingham lawmakers are taking a step toward fighting elder abuse. They joined Senator Cam Ward in Alabaster on Monday to update the progress of new legislation.
Researchers say 6,000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year, but these lawmakers fear many are not reported. That is why state lawmakers are pushing for this bill
According to experts, neglect and financial exploitation are the most common problems when it comes to elder abuse.
Sen. Ward authored the bill and Monday, he spoke to senior citizens in Alabaster about the specifics of the bill.
Part of that talk included sharing the story of Virginia Frick, who from 2006 to 2010 swindled out of $2.5 million by a man named Joe Giddens, a family friend who was appointed power of attorney.
Giddens received a penalty of 10 years in prison, the same as it would have been had he illegally gained $150 from his victim.
The proposed bill would make it a felony to commit such crimes, depending on the level and amount of abuse. It would also stiffen prison sentences for specific types of elder abuse.
The Alabama Legislature defined elder abuse last year and it will outline it with punishments this year. This bill would also make elderly abuse cases easier to prosecute.
This bill has already passed the full Senate and out of house committee. It's now set to go before the full house.
Sen. Ward says he feels that a vote will happen before the end of the legislative session and he feels confident it will pass.
Proponents of this bill urge seniors to contact their local lawmakers to show their support of the bill.
Copyright 2013 WBRC.


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April 22, 2013

Multi-Million-Dollar Settlement for Victims of Patient Abuse (CANADA)

Class action lawsuit launched in 1999 detailed multiple cases of abuse at Montreal long-term care facility St-Charles Borromée
CBC News
Apr 18, 2013

After years of experiencing unspeakable cruelty at the hands of those supposed to be taking care of them, a group of seniors and severely disabled people at a Montreal long-term care facility have emerged victorious.
In 1999, a class action lawsuit detailing hundreds of cases of abuse was launched against the St-Charles Borromée hospital in Montreal.
But it wasn’t until 2003, when family members of a patient there began secretly recording staff verbally and psychologically abusing their relative, that people began paying attention.
During 90 hours of recordings, staff called their relative — a 51-year-old woman who was left severely disabled after a car accident when she was 18 — a “pig,” repeatedly told her to “shut up,” refused requests for water and teased the woman by telling her a man was watching her outside her window and masturbating.
The tapes set off a chain of events that began with then-health minister Philippe Couillard calling a provincial inquiry, the suicide of hospital director Léon Lafleur and, ultimately, an all-out exposé on the conditions in Quebec nursing homes.
The scandal also encouraged other patients to come forward with their own stories of abuse, and the class action lawsuit was extended to include people who’d lived at the facility between 1993 and March 2006.
“It was a situation of grave negligence, of lack of coordination in service and care, a lack of respect, a lot of problems according to standards of how you treat patients and how you board and feed them,” said patients’ rights advocate Paul Brunet.
Settlement agreement reached 13 years later
An out-of-court settlement was finally reached this week, 13 years since it was launched; if accepted, a few hundred victims and the families of those who’ve since passed away are set to be awarded $8.5 million.
“It was long overdue,” Brunet said.
“I mean, after 13 years without the case even being heard in Superior Court — that is the real result of, in my mind, some negligence on the part of the defence lawyers.”
When asked whether he believed the delay was part of a strategy on the defence’s part, he said he didn’t know.
“But I know one thing — it’s disrespectful to patients.”
He said waiting so long on a case affecting elderly and severely disabled people was “not in very good taste.”
Since 1999, nearly one-third of the residents named in the class action lawsuit against St-Charles Borromée have died.
Long-term alternatives for long-term care
Brunet said he went to the former St-Charles Borromée last week — now a government-run long-term care facility known by the French acronym, CHSLD — and noticed part of the chapel was being used as a storage room.
It’s not necessarily indicative of abuse, he said, but it shows a lack of respect for the people being cared for at the residence.
He pointed to measures currently being looked at to keep elderly and disabled people at home instead of placing them in long-term care facilities.
He said having caregivers visit patients at home in lieu of sending them off to a home was a promising start.
“It’s not much more expensive, but it’s certainly more human,” he said.
But for those who have no other option but to be placed in a residence, Brunet encouraged family members and friends to visit.
“What kind of message do we send [the residences] if we don’t go and visit?” he asked.

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PA. Supreme Court Forms Task Force to Address Elder Abuse

April 19, 2013 3:09 PM

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has created an Elder Law Task Force charged with
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd studying the growing problems involved with guardianship, abuse and neglect, and access to justice involving the commonwealth’s senior citizens according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
The task force, which will be chaired by Justice Debra Todd, has been charged with recommending solutions that include amended court rules, legislation, education and best practices.
“The increased population of older Pennsylvanians has strained the resources of our courts and their ability to provide services to these individuals,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille said in a statement. “The needs of this growing population will continue for years to come, especially in regards to guardianships, elder abuse and access to justice.
“Now is the time to put in place solutions that will allow older Pennsylvanians to age without worries that they will be abused or their money will be taken.”
The task force, which will be comprised of 38 elder law experts including judges, lawyers and social workers, will be made up of three different subcommittees, one addressing appointment and qualifications of guardians and attorneys, one dealing with guardianship monitoring and data collection, and the last focusing on elder abuse and powers of attorney.
The task force will have one year in which to complete its work.
“As a society, we have increased concentration on child abuse, but the issue of elder abuse has not kept pace,” Justice Todd, the task force’s chair, said in a statement. “This task force is the judiciary’s attempt to study the issues under its purview and make adjustments now, before the numbers of older Pennsylvanians and the commensurate jump in abuse, occurs.”
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has noted that according to the United States Census Bureau, the over-65 population is now larger in terms of size and percentage of population than it was in any previous census.

The commonwealth currently ranks in at number four in the nation in percentage of citizens 65 and older
To illustrate the problems being addressed by the task force, the AOPC listed three examples of Pennsylvania stories involving elder abuse.
One involved a 64-year-old Lancaster man who depended upon a personal care aide to bathe him, dress him and fix his meals because he is an amputee.
According the police, the aide actually ended up neglecting him so badly that the man developed skin ulcers deep enough to reach his muscle and bone.
The man eventually lost his remaining leg to amputation because of the wounds.
The second example offered was that of a Dauphin County man who stole nearly $380,000 from his 89-year-old great aunt, a retired teacher. The man was the woman’s power of attorney, and he ended up cashing in his aunt’s pension money and Social Security checks.
The final story involved a dying Bucks County woman who had asked a neighbor to handle her personal finances because she was about to enter a nursing home.
Rather than pay the nursing home bills, however, the neighbor allegedly spent the money on luxury vacations, trips to casinos, expensive jewelry and for country club and golf club memberships.
The neighbor is facing 35 years behind bars for the five felony theft charges that have been lodged against him.
“At least these cases were eventually reported,” Justice Todd said in her statement. “The U.S. Administration of Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that for every one case of elder abuse reported, five more go unreported. This is shameful, and we need to do better.”
Research funded by the National Institute of Justice showed that nearly 11 percent of people 60 years of age and older suffered from some sort of abuse in 2009.
The task force’s work coincides with the passage of Senate Bill 620 last month that makes changes to Pennsylvania’s powers of attorney law designed to help protect against elder abuse.
The legislation gives courts more power to act if financial abuse is suspected of those who hold power of attorney, and it would require the signature of those granting power of attorney to be acknowledged in the presence of a notary public.

The proposal also protects third parties from liability by ensuring that powers of attorney are legitimately executed.
In prepared comments, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, the Montgomery County Republican behind the measure, said that the legislation “would provide significantly more protection against those who are seeking to defraud the elderly. Recent cases in Pennsylvania have demonstrated the need for more oversight for those who are being given power of attorney. The elderly are highly vulnerable in these situations, and are too often taken advantage of.”

SOURCE:         The PennRecord
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Senior Citizens Learn to Outsmart Crooks at Victim Rights Seminar

By Jeri Packer
Staff Writer
April 19, 2013

They target the vulnerable, the “easy marks,” stripping them of their life savings if they can.

Groups like the St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office of Victim Rights and the Council on Aging, serving St. Clair County assist seniors all year round to help them live full lives, despite the challenges of aging.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an annual event that promotes victims’ rights and services. The focus during last week’s observance was New Challenges/New Solutions, centering on senior citizens’ issues. Elder abuse schemes are as numerous as ever. To combat these plots targeting the elderly, several county agencies sponsored a “Protecting Our Seniors” seminar.

The seminar was sponsored by the St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office of Victim Rights, Council on Aging, Sheriff’s Department and the Port Huron Police Department.

Speakers were experts on elder abuse issues and discussed senior citizens’ susceptibility to physical, emotion and financial abuse, said Victim Rights Coordinator Sheryl Eckert.

Eckert said there are many elderly victims who remain undetected by the Victim Rights office until the sheriff or police get involved. In these cases, the agency can step in and volunteer their services to people who have been taken advantage of and demoralized.

“Crimes against seniors are significantly under-reported,” Eckert said. “They like their independence and don’t want to admit they were taken advantage of.”

At the seminar, speakers talked about current scams to look out for, said Eckert. In one such scheme, a charlatan duplicates the Internal Revenue Service website and sends a message that says someone will get “x” amount of dollars if they fill out the form, she said. Then the victim unknowingly gives out their personal information, including their social security number, while filling out the fake form.

St. Clair County Det. Kelsey Wade, a speaker at the seminar, said her contribution was to “help this vulnerable adult community preserve financial well-being and make sure they sustain their quality of life.”

She warned against participating in a scam that claims a prize can be claimed if money is first sent to secure it.

“Always check with somebody first or call the sheriff’s department to verify it is valid,” she said. The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office contact number is (810) 987-1700.

Sr. Assistant Prosecutor John Walke talked about probate court and wills and how putting off getting affairs in order can ultimately leave a person vulnerable in their latter years.

“In elder abuse — from a legal perspective — one of the ways they make themselves vulnerable is because they don’t plan ahead, making some plans to protect themselves later on,” he said.

For the last three years, the Council on Aging of St. Clair County has been able to give Safe Horizons a grant to fund a new resource to the aging community.

“It’s a fantastic use of dollars to help this vulnerable population,” said Safe Horizons Executive Director Sarah Prout.

One senior she recalled didn’t have a copy of her birth certificate and couldn’t get any services. Safe Horizons was able to intervene and get her the assistance she needed.

Although the majority of seniors Safe Horizons help are women, about 35 percent are men. They might need the services of a case manager, placement into senior housing, lessons in financial literacy or an eviction of an abusive grandchild or partner from their home, she said. They may need counseling to help them to put up healthy boundaries or a Personal Protection Order against someone abusive.

“Just because they are elderly doesn’t mean they’ve lost their rights,” she said. “We provide them with services and connect them to the community. Our service is to make sure seniors are safe in their homes.”

For more information, call or e-mail Victim Rights Coordinator Sheryl Eckert at (810) 985-2301 or email seckert@stclaircounty.org.

SOURCE:        The VoiceNews
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Watch for Elder Abuse

By Kathleen J. Ernce
April 20, 2013

Mr. Hillman is correct – we need to “raise awareness about the issue of child abuse in our community.” While I agree with his statement, I want to expand that statement by saying that we need to increase awareness about all aspects of personal violence – against a child, a spouse or a senior citizen.
Children learn from what they see, hear and witness, and responsible adults need to be the eyes, ears and hands of those in our society who cannot advocate for themselves, regardless of age.
In psychology, we learn victims have the potential of becoming abusers because of learned behavior. Children see fathers shove, choke or slap mothers; a child may become a “stress-reliever” for an abusive parent; or a child witnesses mistreatment of grandparents. The cycle continues.
Elder abuse encompasses mistreatment, neglect and exploitation of a physical, psychological or sexual nature, and can be summarized as vast, cruel and costly. It can cause a cascade of consequences with implications for the health and economic security of victim, family, community and nation. Despite the 2010 passage of the Elder Justice Act, fighting widespread abuse of seniors still is not a top priority for care providers and governments alike. As many as one in 10 people age 60 and older are affected by senior abuse.
Why should you care about elder abuse? Because the older population continues to grow, and by 2030 there will be about 72.1 million older people, comprising almost 20 percent of the total population. The 85-plus population is projected to increase to 6.6 million in 2020.
While seniors are living longer, declines in cognitive and physical functions could make them more vulnerable to victimization. Elder abuse can happen to anyone – a loved one, a neighbor and, when we are old enough, it can even happen to us!
If you know of a victim or a potential victim of elder mistreatment, call your county Adult Protective Services at its toll-free number or contact our agency – the Senior Citizens Council,  (706) 868-0120 – and we will assist you in making the referral. Remember: By making this referral, you might save a life.
Kathleen J. Ernce
(The writer is executive director of the Senior Citizens Council of Greater Augusta and the CSRA.)

SOURCE:         The Augusta Chronicle
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April 9, 2013

Jury Awards $23 Million in California Nursing Home Abuse Case

Poor care provided to a resident in a California nursing home ultimately led to her death.

April 05, 2013

A jury recently found a California nursing home guilty of acting with malice, oppression and fraud in its treatment of a resident. The poor treatment provided to the resident, an 82 year-old woman who suffered from Alzheimer's, ultimately led to her death.
Unfortunately, similar cases of elder abuse are not uncommon. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 experience abuse, neglect or financial exploitation every year.

Elder abuse basics
Elder abuse can take many forms. The six main types are:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Neglect
- Abandonment
- Financial abuse

Physical abuse, likely the most well known, occurs when an older adult is injured, assaulted or threatened. Physical abuse can also result from being inappropriately restrained or injured in another manner. Ultimately, physical abuse results in bodily injury or physical pain.
Sexual abuse occurs when any form of sexual contact takes place without consent.
Emotional abuse can take many forms including harassment or embarrassment and social isolation.
Neglect occurs when an elder is not receiving basic care to meet his or her physical, social or emotional needs. This can include not providing basic nutrition, hygiene or shelter. Abandonment is a more severe form of neglect and occurs when a caretaker deserts the patient.
The final form of abuse, financial abuse, occurs when an elder's finances are used without his or her authorization. This can include forging checks or coercing one into signing over assets.
Signs of elder abuse
Determining if a loved one is being abused can be difficult. However, some warning signs include:
- Bruises, cuts, broken bones and other physical injuries
- Sudden withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
- Sudden changes in financial situation
- Bedsores

The Administration on Aging calls for loved ones to be alert. It notes that those being abused often suffer in silence. As a result, it is important to take any changes in personality or behavior seriously.
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of abuse, compensation may be available to cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative expenses as well as pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages are also applied. These monetary penalties assigned to the abuser as a form of punishment.
Navigating these issues and determining the best path can be difficult. As a result, those who suspect abuse should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss their situation and better ensure their legal rights and remedies are protected.
Article provided by Law Firm of Rivers J. Morrell III

SOURCE:         World News Report


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North Dakota Measure Mandates Reporting Abuse, Neglect of Seniors, Vulnerable Adults

April 06, 2013

North Dakota's House has endorsed legislation that would require the reporting of abuse or neglect of senior citizens and other vulnerable adults.
Representatives voted 86-4 in favor of the bill on Friday. North Dakota's Senate approved the measure earlier.
Backers of the measure say North Dakota and Colorado are the only two states that don't require the reporting of abuse to elders or other vulnerable adults. They say the measure is intended to protect seniors from physical, mental, sexual and financial abuse.
Failure to report the abuse would be an infraction under state law, for which a maximum fine of $500 could be imposed.

SOURCE:      The Republic

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Local Elderly Warned They're Targets for Abuse

Apr 06, 2013
By: Frances Weller 

San Diego's District Attorney has a message for seniors in the Wilmington area: You're a target for abuse.
Paul Greenwood, one of the country's leading crusaders against elder abuse was the keynote speaker at a seminar for seniors at the New Hanover County Senior Center.
The event was put on by the Cape Fear Elder Abuse Prevention Network to educate seniors on ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim of emotional or physical abuse.
Greenwood says the most important lesson is being careful about who you trust. He also suggest children of seniors reversing their roles.

"The adult children need to have their guard up on behalf of their parents," Greenwood said. "It's sort of a reverse role. Our parents took care of us when we were very young. Now, I'm asking adult sons and daughters to be more vigilant but aware that parents are being taken advantage of every single day."
Greenwood told the seniors Friday night that if they believe they're a victim of abuse to not be embarrassed to report it.
Copyright 2013 WECT.


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April 3, 2013

Elder Abuse Reporting Should Be Mandatory, Group Says

Between 4 and 8 per cent of senior citizens are abused
CBC News 
Apr 1, 2013

An association representing retired Quebecers is calling on the provincial government to do more to prevent elder abuse.
According to the Quebec Association of Retired and Semi-Retired People (AQRP), between four and eight per cent of the province’s senior citizens are abused, representing approximately 100,000 Quebecers.
The Quebec government launched its action plan to counter elder abuse back in 2010, which included an awareness campaign and the establishment of a toll-free number to report abuse and additional human resources.
But AQRP spokesman Mathieu Santerre is asking for additional help.
"We ask for mandatory reporting of elder abuse from, for example, physicians, nurses and all the people ... who give services to elderly people," he said.
He said senior citizens are often afraid to report cases of abuse, which can range from neglect to physical violence to financial exploitation, because they’re often related in some way to their abusers.
“We love each other [in family situations], so it’s very difficult to report,” he said.
He said abuse can lead to stress, malnutrition, depression and even suicide.
Santerre urged people to report cases of elder abuse to   1-866-497-1548.


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Province Urged to Step Up Elder Abuse Fight

 The Gazette
April 1, 2013


An association that defends the rights of public-sector retirees in Quebec is pushing for new legislation that would require employees of nursing homes and members of professional orders to report elder abuse to authorities.

The Parti Québécois pledged during last summer’s provincial election campaign to launch a series of consultations that would lead to such a law being enacted in the province.
Now, the Association québécoise des retraité(e)s des secteurs public et parapublic is asking Health Minister Réjean Hébert to follow through on that promise.

“We are asking minister Hébert to solidify the commitments his party made to seniors in Quebec,” association president Lyne Parent said in a release on Monday afternoon.

The association’s request comes only days after Hébert announced a new public awareness campaign targeting elder abuse in Quebec. The campaign, which will include television and radio spots as well as posters and online materials, kicked off on Sunday and will run for five weeks. It is part of a larger government action plan designed to reduce the number of elderly Quebecers who suffer abuse at the hands of family members or caregivers.

Studies have shown that up to seven per cent of seniors in Quebec have experienced some form of abuse, be it physical, verbal, emotional or financial.

A confidential help line (  1-888-489-2287) was also set up in October 2010 to assist seniors in distress. As of February 2013, it had received 10,677 calls. In 43 per cent of cases, the caller was a women age 70 to 89, and in 52 per cent of cases, the abuser was a member of the senior’s family.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

SOURCE:       The Montreal Gazette

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Involvement is First Step to Help Prevent Elderly Abuse

By Roger Chesley
The Virginian-Pilot
© April 2, 2013

The story of a caregiver's abuse of her elderly client frightens anyone with an aging relative.
How can we protect loved ones who can't fend for themselves - or even communicate that they're being throttled?
And in the worst case: Could they die at the hands of someone paid to assist them?
Shelia D. Beard, 48, was sentenced to more than a year behind bars, a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge decided Friday. Beard entered an Alford plea on felony and misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of an incapacitated adult, meaning she didn't admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict her.
Beard was indicted in July 2011 for her treatment of Selma Cardon Bennett, who was 94 when she died last year. The Pilot reported Beard spent about five years caring for the woman, who suffered from dementia.
The private home-care facility where Cardon Bennett lived suspected something was wrong, and it installed hidden cameras that caught images of Beard punching, slapping and taunting her patient. The footage shocked people who testified in the case.
It probably disgusted them, too.
Such incidents are sure to produce angst among adults trying to provide geriatric assistance for their parents. Elderly people with mental problems face greater risks.
It's as scary as picking a day care center for infants: You're entrusting people to protect innocents who can't complain.
Families that haven't confronted the issue of aging relatives requiring care might in the future. An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. By 2025, the number of people ages 65 and older with Alzheimer's could reach 7.1 million, the Alzheimer's Association reports.
Protecting her mother from possible abuse "was a big concern," India Austin told me Monday. Nenar Austin suffered from Alzheimer's, and she had to go into a Virginia Beach nursing home shortly before she died in August 2011.
"It was hard finding help," her daughter said. High costs also were a factor.
Many nursing care employees do the best they can for their patients. They act professionally in situations that can be physically and mentally exhausting.
However, that's not always the case.
A 2001 congressional report found that almost 1 out of every 3 U.S. nursing homes were cited for an abuse violation in a two-year period. "In over 1,600 of these nursing homes," the report said, "the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury."
Nowadays, it's difficult to know how much abuse occurs. "So often, it goes unreported," said Marilyn Fall. She's the president and COO of Elder Care at Home Inc. and The Caregivers, a Virginia Beach-based business.
How can you do the best for loved ones?
Fall and others in the industry suggest going through a licensed home care agency instead of using a private care worker. The former ensures minimum standards, including that a firm follows state regulations on worker education and supervision. Agencies also must get criminal background checks for employees.
Investigate the agency and the individual, said Sonya Barsness, a consultant who runs her own Norfolk-based gerontology business.
"I tell families to be as involved as possible," she said.
That's still no guarantee your loved ones will be safe, but it's a start.

SOURCE:        The Hampton Roads

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