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

August 24, 2015

Watching Over Seniors with Motion Sensors (SINGAPORE)

By Amelia Teng
AUG 21, 2015
The elderly staying alone in Bukit Timah are being watched over, literally, with the launch of a new system that can monitor their movements at home and detect any anomalies.
The wireless motion tracking system, developed by technology firm Anjels, will alert volunteers and family members to any prolonged inactivity in the homes of seniors using sensors installed.
It can analyse patterns of behaviour such as watching television and sleeping for a period of time, and detect anything unusual.
A team of people recruited by Anjels will also be on 24-hour standby, to go to the homes if any alarm is triggered.
The project was launched by the Bukit Timah Citizens' Consulative Committee on Friday, together with its partners St Luke's Eldercare, Anjels and its sponsor Cogent Holdings, which donated $255,000.
About 100 households in Bukit Timah will benefit from this initiative.
Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Sim Ann, who is grassroots advisor for the Bukit Timah division, said this is a ground-up effort among different organisations to address the growing trend of elderly people living alone.
The difference about this initiative from other tracking devices is that there is human intervention, and stakeholders are prepared to "set up and maintain a network of personnel and volunteers" to look after the seniors, she said.
"You can live alone, but you don't have to be helpless," she added.
SOURCE:   The Straits Times

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Caregivers Accused of Elder Abuse After Amador County Woman Found Malnourished, Dehydrated


AUGUST 20, 2015

Two people who described themselves as caregivers were arrested by Amador County sheriff's deputies after an elderly woman was found malnourished and dehydrated at a residence in Jackson Valley.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident in the 4600 block of Roadrunner Drive. The caller reported that an elderly woman at the residence was unresponsive. Ambulance and fire department personnel were dispatched to the home, and an 87-year-old woman was transported to Sutter Amador Hospital for treatment, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
When the woman arrived at the hospital, the emergency room staff requested that the Sheriff’s Office respond. Deputies found that the woman was malnourished, dehydrated, partially covered in dried fecal matter, and suffering from a number of infected subcutaneous ulcers.
Sheriff’s deputies went to the Roadrunner Drive residence and contacted Michael Larry Gumm, 49, and Sabrina Raquel Hernandez, 47, both of Jackson Valley, who claimed they were the woman’s caregivers. Sheriff’s officials said the two were evasive in their answers and attributed the woman’s condition to a recent sunburn.
Detectives conducted a follow-up investigation that included executing a search warrant at the residence, conducting additional interviews, and reviewing electronic documents and financial records.
Gumm and Hernandez subsequently were arrested and booked into Amador County Jail on suspicion of elder abuse.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article31701878.html#storylink=cpy

SOURCE:    The Sacramento Bee

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Anger at Failure to Ban Violent Nurse For Life (UK)

Faderera Bello, 55, was a qualified “dementia champion” but was caught on CCTV poking patient Bridget Rees in the face and telling her to “shut up”.
The family of the widow caught the NHS care home nurse’s abuse on camera and she was jailed for four months after admitting ill treatment and wilful neglect.
But Mrs Rees’s family yesterday attacked a decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to suspend Bello, which would allow her to care for patients again within a year.
Granddaughter Donna Davis, 36, of Hackney, east London, said: “We are going to keep fighting this. There are thousands of people in the world able to be carers. This one does not need to be back. We want to safeguard other people.
“We feel betrayed. We were told that when she got a light sentence, which was a bit of a kick in the teeth, that she wouldn’t work again.”
Mrs Rees, herself a former NHS nurse, died of pneumonia aged 92 in May – a month before Bello, of Romford, east London, was jailed.
The frail and defenceless pensioner was living in the Mary Seacole Nursing Home, in Hoxton east London, when she suffered the abuse.
Her daughter Veronica Davis, 60, of Hackney, spotted bruising on her mother’s arms and set up a secret spy camera.
Bello, who qualified in Nigeria in 1981, was caught yelling “shut up” and “shut your mouth” repeatedly as she mishandled the pensioner on December 6, 2013.
She was arrested in February last year and jailed for four months at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council failed to strike her off at a meeting on August 7 and instead suspended her for a year.
A panel will later decide when to allow her to work again.
Bello, who moved to the UK in 2004, blamed stress and said she would deal with the situation better in the future.
SOURCE:     The Express

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August 22, 2015

Scammers Direct Crimes Toward Seniors

Staff writer
(Peabody Gazette Bulletin)
Scams are out there. Some are aimed at seniors.
“Scammers attach themselves to the lonely,” said Barb Smith, volunteer with Marion County Department on Aging. “They want money.”
Retired now, Smith used to work at Kansas Legal Services in Wichita, sometimes assisting seniors who been victims of fraud.
“Scammers try to manipulate people over the age of 65 at a higher rate than the general population. They see seniors as an easy target,” she said. “Elders grew up in a time when scammers weren’t as common, so they are not as guarded, and they generally trust people more than younger people do.”
Smith said seniors should educate themselves on common fraud and financial abuse.
“In the video I show there are typically four areas,” she said, “family members, contractor fraud, ‘the sweetheart scam,’ and ‘the unscrupulous salesman.’”
According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA), common reasons family members may financially abuse their elders include substance abuse, gambling, financial problems, or a fear that their elders may get sick and use up all their savings, thus depriving the abuser of an inheritance.
Abusers may also have negative feelings toward family members that give them a sense of entitlement to inheritance.
Smith described typical contractor fraud as involving “a person who does a little something, a little job around the elder’s house, and then gets pushy and wants cash fast.”
Contractor fraud happens more during storm season and after storms, she said.
However, the job the false contractor allegedly performs likely did not need to be done, did not help the senior in any discernible way, or was not actually done at all, she said.
“Sweetheart scams” are directed at lonesome or isolated seniors who often have recently lost a spouse, she said. Scammers come in the guise of someone that wants to help.
“They are usually someone the elder doesn’t know like a ‘volunteer,’” Smith said.
The NCPEA’s website also said that sweetheart scammers may profess to love the older person, seek employment as a personal care attendant or counselor, or express excessive interest in the amount of money being spent on the senior.
Smith said unscrupulous salesmen generally try to peddle insurance, investments, or “something that really doesn’t help them or may even harm them in some way.”
“A red flag is when they want you to sign a paper ‘right now’,” Smith said. “There is also a lot of Medicare fraud out there.”
More information is available from Smith at (620) 382-2657 or Marion County Department on Aging at (620) 382-3580.

SOURCE:     Peabody Gazette Bulletin

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Legislators Approve Funding to Help Law Enforcement Fight Elder Abuse (NY USA)

August 14, 2015
WHITE PLAINS, NY --The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) and County Executive Rob Astorino have teamed up to deliver funding that would provide enhanced training to municipal law enforcement agencies to help them address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, involving victims who are 50 years of age or older.  According to AARP, there are 108.7 million Americans in that age group.
On Monday, the BOL unanimously approved an inter municipal agreement (IMA) between the County and the Town of Greenburgh that would finance the Greenburgh Police Department’s participation in an interdisciplinary partnership to train other law enforcement agencies to better identify and intervene in cases of elder-abuse.
The funding, which totals, $15,880.00 is derived from a grant the county successfully applied for from the United States Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.  The IMA extends through September of 2017.
Seniors and Constituencies Committee Chair Legislator Bernice Spreckman (R) Yonkers has been a very vocal advocate for Seniors throughout her years of public service.  “I hear very disturbing stories about abuse among our seniors.  Many are afraid to speak out because they think it will only make the abuse worse.  While our police agencies do an excellent job of keeping seniors safe, I think this enhanced training will give them more tools to identify when elder-abuse is happening, especially when the victims are afraid to speak up.”  Legislator Spreckman added, “People are living and staying active longer these days.  Naturally, issues that our society has traditionally associated with younger people are now confronting older residents as well.  Things like sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking are happening to people later in life.  We need to make sure our law enforcement community understands these issues and knows how to handle them.”
County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to sign the IMA this week.  "Elder abuse sadly does occur and it's often not reported.  This IMA broadens training among our local police to enable them to be better equipped to identify cases of elder abuse and intervene to stop it and protect our elderly seniors," said Astorino.
Legislator Sheila Marcotte who is a member of the Seniors and Constituencies Committee and Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee praised the funding as an important investment.  “I am thrilled to support this partnership because of the important need that it addresses but I am especially happy that it equips our law enforcement community, through curriculum approved by the Department of Justice to be ‘trainers’ themselves.  This modest investment will allow our law enforcement community as well as our non-profit partners to continue this type of enhanced training for years to come.”
Legislator David Gelfarb (R) Rye Brook is Chair of the Public Safety Committee.  “This agreement provides our law enforcement community very important training in identifying and  responding to elder abuse.” Gelfarb said, “Our seniors deserve all we can do for them when it comes to their safety and health.  This initiative will better equip our first line responders in protecting  our older friends, family and neighbors.”
Other groups involved in the interdisciplinary partnership are, The Pace Women’s Justice Center, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, Victim’s Assistance Services and The Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at The Hebrew Home.
SOURCE:    Talk of the Sound

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Financial Aadvising Company Sued for Alleged Securities Fraud and Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Robbie HargettAug. 14, 2015

Several California residents are suing financial advising company Total Wealth Management over an alleged scheme to obtain funds from its clients under false pretenses.
Albert Calderon, Laurence Gleason, Inga Gleason and Susan Antonucci, among others in the class, filed a class action complaint May 16, 2014, in the Superior Court of California County of San Diego against Total Wealth Management and other defendants in the class, alleging securities fraud, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive trust, conversion and elder abuse.
The complaint alleges that Total Wealth Management and its affiliated companies artificially inflated portfolio values and investors' risk of loss in order to pay themselves higher performance fees.
Plaintiffs seeking to invest in their retirement first heard about TWM's alleged scheme on a San Diego radio program the company conducted.
TWM was also being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over charges of fraud, which the company did not disclose to investors in the class, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that the plaintiffs would not have invested with TWM had they known the above facts. As a result, the plaintiffs suffered direct financial loss.

The plaintiffs seek damages according to proof and punitive damages on the fraud claims.
SOURCE:     Legal Newsline
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August 11, 2015

Filmmaker Shares Story of Elder Financial Abuse to Help Others (USA)

By Kimberly Drelich

August 1, 2015

A Connecticut film producer said she wants to share the worst thing that ever happened to her family so others can prevent a similar scenario.
Pamela S.K. Glasner of Glastonbury said her parents became victims of financial exploitation by a man who befriended them at a synagogue in Florida.
When Glasner’s mother passed away in 2011, Glasner’s only brother called their father’s nursing home in Florida to say he would now handle his father’s financial affairs, according to Glasner.
The social worker responded that he needn’t worry, because his brother was already taking care of them. “I don’t have a brother,” he responded.
The alleged perpetrator took hundreds of thousands of dollars from her parents, gaining power of attorney over her father, who had Alzheimer's disease, and becoming executor of her mother's will, she said.
Glasner said police didn’t investigate the case she presented. Lawyers she approached asked for money just to discuss the case.
“When somebody embezzles money from somebody, especially when someone is older, it’s very difficult to prove,” said Glasner.
In the end, Glasner said her family was left without means to cover her 91-year-old father’s medical care.
“My brother and I got to sit there and watch my father die slowly — and there was nothing we could do,” Glasner told a group of 40 seniors at an event at the Lymes’ Senior Center in Old Lyme this week. “It’s the money, but it’s not just about the money, and I know that none of you would want somebody you care about to have to go through what we went through. It was the most horrible thing I ever experienced in my life.”
Glasner decided to co-produce a documentary, “Last Will and Embezzlement,” about her experience. The documentary also features experts on financial abuse and commentary from victims, including actor Mickey Rooney. 
Co-produced and directed by Deborah Louise Robinson, the film has been shown across the country, including in Old Lyme, Waterford, Norwich and Old Saybrook this summer.
Experts say elder financial abuse is prevalent in today’s society with an aging population and often a higher concentration of wealth in the elderly. They say it’s essential for seniors to be financially prepared — and they will have additional recourse under a new state law effective Oct. 1.
Speakers in the documentary say many seniors have been raised to be trusting, or are facing isolation. They say the act by the perpetrators, often a family member or a new person who gains the trust of a senior, often goes unreported or unprosecuted.
Glasner said about 5 million seniors in the United States are financially exploited each year.
At Wednesday's event at the senior center, Diana Melville, a financial advisor, said the country has been in particularly unstable financial times with the mortgage meltdown and the great recession of 2008.
She said this climate of confusion creates a breeding ground for exploitation.

“People are confused, they’re fearful, they’re in their caves, and this is just a great breeding ground for these kinds of people,” she said.
The remedy, according to Melville, is for residents to prepare and get their financial affairs in order. She conducts monthly “financial health check-ups” by appointment at seven senior centers, including the Lymes’ Senior Center.
The speakers at the event offered tips, including giving power of attorney to two people, such as trusted children who can both keep an eye on the finances, or reaching out to a financial advisor or elder law attorney. 
Seeking to dispel "fallacies," David Parsons, a social work supervisor at the state Department of Social Services’ Protective Services for the Elderly, emphasized that when a caller reports concerns about a senior, the department is there to support the senior. 
"I'm here to protect you," he told the audience. "I'm here to find out what is going on in your life. I'm not here to scoop you up, move you to a nursing home and take away your house."
In cases in which people don't have family or trusted friends or have medical needs that make them unsafe at home, the department will work with them to determine what options are available.
Joseph Cipparone, an elder law attorney based in New London, said seniors that fall victim to financial exploitation can now either pursue criminal proceedings against an alleged perpetrator or bring legal action to recover the funds.
But a new state law that goes into effect Oct. 1 will offer additional recourse. The law,Public Act 15-236, will allow victims of elder financial exploitation to seek attorney’s fees and costs, as well as punitive damages. He said this “is huge” because it will encourage more attorneys to take on these cases.
The law also stipulates that a person found guilty will not “inherit or receive any part of the estate” after the victim dies.
Cipparone said the law is in response to national trends in elder financial abuse, and Connecticut is now catching up to other states with stricter laws.
The Lymes' Senior Center held Wednesday's program to help seniors identify if they are being financially abused, protect them from being exploited, and learn about available resources, said Director Stephanie Lyon.
She said the center offers programs throughout the year to educate seniors about fraud and financial scams.
Glasner said every time she shows the film, she experiences again the worst thing that happened to her family. But she said it’s wonderful at the end to see seniors crowding experts for their business cards and getting ready to create an action plan.
"I want them to walk out knowing what can happen to you if you don’t do anything, but I also want them to know the things to do to be protected and at peace,” she said.
More information on "Last Will and Embezzlement" is available at     http://www.lastwillandembezzlement.com.

SOURCE:      The Day
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Advocate Seeks Better Reporting on Elder Abuse (CANADA)

Cindy E. Harnett / Times Colonist 
July 29, 2015
B.C.’s seniors advocate has launched a fact-finding mission to get a better picture of elder abuse and neglect in the province.
Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie said her office has given Vancouver Coastal Health and other agencies until the end of August to examine the different methods used to track elder abuse in B.C., with recommendations on how to create a singular standardized reporting system.
“I hope we can get an accurate understanding of the depth and breadth of elder abuse and prepare to put in place mechanisms to reduce it,” Mackenzie said.
It is estimated that between four and 10 per cent of seniors in the province experience abuse.
Since 2000, designated agencies have tracked and categorized reports of abuse and neglect, and recorded outcomes, but have not developed a uniform system of maintaining records or reporting on the abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable adults.
“It’s all over the map,” Mackenzie said. When elder abuse is documented and reported to the seniors’ advocate in a systemic way, using standard definitions and coding, Mackenzie said she will be better able to identify patterns and report on progress or the lack of it, year over year. She expects to release a monitoring report on elder abuse using the new reporting mechanisms in 2016.
SOURCE:    Times Colonist

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Abuse of the elderly: Why some are reluctant to speak up (SINGAPORE)

(Channel NewsAsia)
Older victims are not aware of the resources out there and they do not know what to do, according to Ms Tan. Homebound, suffering from illnesses, often reliant on those who abuse them, they lack the capacity to reach out to social workers or community, she said.
Other victims choose not to report abuse because of fear of what would then happen to the perpetrator. Others blame themselves by believing that they are not a good parent.
“We try to convince them that it’s a good thing to talk to a social worker. It’s our job to help them and we can try to work out a safety plan”, said Ms Tan.
Another challenge social workers like Ms Tan face is the difficulty to prove that someone is being abused.
Said Dr Ng: “There is no blood test you can do, there is no scan that would say ‘Oh this is abuse’. And a lot of the time, there’s no evidence.”
When it is introduced later this year, the Vulnerable Adults Act will give social workers and other professionals, such as lawyers or doctors, powers to enter the house of a suspected victim to assess the case and remove the person to a place of safety.
“This new law is timely and useful but even with it, there's still a lot of work to be done. We need to develop sufficient community support services, nursing homes, community doctors,” pointed out Dr Ng.
Ms Tan agreed: “At the moment, there are no places of safety in cases of elder abuse.
“If the family wants to remove the victim from a hospital or nursing home, we can’t stop them.”
SOURCE:    Channel NewsAsia

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July 28, 2015

How to Report and Protect in Situations of Elder Abuse

By Victoria Dalton 

July 26, 2015

When fighting the war on elder abuse, no one will consider you a hero. Instead, you will be met with doubt, disbelief and greed. Let the elder live his or her life as they choose to do so. The line I hear frequently is "even elders have the right to make bad decisions."
The most difficult situations are where the elder has limited capacity as opposed to no capacity.  Capacity is the ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.
When an elder lacks capacity, an application for Guardianship may be made to the Probate Courts. Details on how to do this can be found on njcourts.com under forms and of course through an elder law attorney.
So what tools do we have in our arsenal to protect and defend an elder victim with limited capacity? As mentioned, this is not an easy battle and no one will thank you, including the victim. They fail to believe or are too embarrassed to disclose they are being duped.
However, even during the bleakest times, we cannot give up. Consider the following in your quest for justice and try to include as many organizations, family members and witnesses on your side as possible. Remember it is not an easy fight. Here is the RAP Sheet (Report and Protect).
Keep a log as to each encounter you may have with either the victim or the abuser. Include date, time, location and a short summary of interaction. If you have documentation that supports the meeting include that as well.  For example, include a picture of you with the victim and their abusers.  
An elderly person who is isolated is especially vulnerable to abuse. In these situations, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.  If you do not communicate on a regular basis, you will miss important clues and changes in behavior.  Further, your failure to communicate and provide them with attention will risk alienating them permanently.
Each year YLC offers the opportunity to receive a complimentary inventory of assets packet by email to help elders know specifically what they own and where important paper work/documents are located.
Going a step further in the fight against elder financial exploitation is a company called EverSafe.  They provide protection from fraud, identity theft, unscrupulous telemarketers and possibly anyone who would want to steal by monitoring an elder's financial accounts and credit reports, alerting you to suspicious activity.
Elizabeth Loewy, General Counsel for EverSafe, spoke recently at the White House Conference on Aging, and has stated "these crimes wreck the best-laid financial plans and put tremendous strains on families, from the seniors dealing with the burdens of victimization to the relatives wracked with guilt for not having acted more sooner."
Aging and disability resource center
To examine your options and receive information and assistance call toll free 1-877-222-3737.  If you are not a Gloucester County resident, the correct number will be provided to you.
Consult with an elder law attorney to discuss your case. Attorneys may be able to freeze assets, provide guardianship representation, or take other legal action that may be appropriate to your situation.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Each state has rules for investigating and providing protective services. Reporting may be done anonymously.  Most states, including New Jersey, have mandatory reporting of elder abuse if your job requires you to have regular contact with an elderly person such as a social worker or nurse.  Importantly, the reporter is granted civil and criminal immunity as long as he or she has not reported in bad faith.
Citizens can report elder abuse through their county Adult Protective Services office located within their Board of Social Services.  In Gloucester County, call (856) 582-9200 or after hours (800) 648-0132 to report elder abuse.
Remember, should a victim be deemed to have capacity, they can refuse services offered.
Admittedly, there are no easy answers in combatting elder exploitation. Still, we can earnestly Report And Protect to help our elderly.  Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner, will consider: " Exploitation Protections in your Legal documents." Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.

SOURCE:   NJ.com

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It's No Country for Old People When Society Makes Them Feel Like a Burden (IRELAND)

How would we have responded last week had a report revealed that a group of vulnerable children were still not being cared for as ordered, months after the problem was first identified and those responsible directed to put the matter right?

Probably with much more shock and urgency than we did to the results of an unannounced inspection by HIQA of New Ross Community Hospital in Wexford, which found that recommendations made in February to improve the quality of life of elderly patients had still not been acted upon. That report was preceded by another describing how elderly patients at a care facility in Leitrim had been forced to go unwashed for weeks at a time. People were appalled by what they heard, certainly, but there was almost a sense of weary acceptance in the headlines: "Another state-funded home fails to protect elderly residents."
Such horror stories have become a regular feature of national media, ever since RTE ran an expose at the end of last year, using hidden cameras to show residents at the Aras Attracta home in Swinford, Co Mayo being force fed, pinched, hit with keys, kicked, dragged along the floor. Some residents were left in the same chair unattended for up to 11 hours at a time. Staff ignored them when they cried or pleaded for attention.
Figures released last month showed that there was a record 2,592 referrals received by the HSE's elder abuse service in 2014. Eight new cases are being reported every day, mostly involving neglect, financial abuse (where the elderly are inveigled into handing over money or possessions), and psychological abuse, but also 300 cases of physical abuse as well. The number of unreported cases is believed to be substantially higher.
Nor are nursing homes solely to blame. Children of the victim were implicated in nearly half of all cases (49pc); husbands and wives in one-in-five cases; and a majority of victims were living in their own homes at the time, with only 11pc in nursing homes.
The situation in Ireland is not as bad as in other parts of Europe, but this is still no country for old men - and it's even worse for old women, who make up two-thirds of victims. It's one of the downsides of greater female longevity that it exposes them to a higher chance at some point of elder abuse.
There's a sense that all this is not seen as such a pressing problem because the victims are coming to the end of their lives anyway; which is monstrous in a way, because that ought to make us more sensitive to their needs, not less.
There's also that underlying question: what if it was children who were being subjected to this litany of emotional bullying, harassment, and intimidation? Who were left without food or water, or drugged to keep them docile?
There are many parallels between the way children were systematically mistreated in the past, and how old people are mistreated now. One woman at Aras Attracta was warned that she'd be put out in the cold and dark if she didn't stop crying. There's the same pattern of using the withdrawal of food or attention as a punishment.
Then there's the fact that old people, like children, often don't tell anyone what's happening because they're afraid of the consequences if they do, or don't think they'll be believed, or because they rely on the person who is mistreating them to provide them with care in the first place. Children and the elderly are at opposite ends of their lives, but equally vulnerable and powerless in the face of an overwhelming authority.
The same excuses are also made for those who do the mistreating as we once used to make about those who hurt children. They were stressed. They couldn't cope. They get low wages, and work long hours with little training. We don't make those excuses any more for those who place children in harm's way, so why tolerate them when it's the elderly on the receiving end?
It's not that governments don't care about the issue. It's simply that old people are always pushed to the back of the queue.

.....  Making the end of elder abuse the commanding theme of the coming decades could wind up making an equally huge contribution to working out what sort of society we really want to live in.

SOURCE:     The Sunday Independent
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Who is committing those crimes? The Japanese elderly (JAPAN)

Digital Journal

JUL 25, 2015

Older people are more settled with a lower predilection to committing crimes, whereas young tearaways will seize the opportunity to rob. Detonate that stereotype. In Japan, older people are now committing more crimes

Figures released from Japanese authorities suggest more elderly-person-related crime has been handled by the police than juvenile crime. This is an unusual trend and has been happening for the past six months. By elderly this is not the "middle-aged," but those aged over 65.
Japan's National Police Agency has been publishing age-related crime datasince 1989. Each six-month period has shown a pattern that matches most developed nations: crime is a young person's game. Until now.
For the first six months of 2015, action was taken against 23,000 elderly people (aged 65 years plus) compared with action taken against those aged 14 to 19 years old (20,000 incidences.) These figures, BBC World summarizes, are in the context of a general decline in the crime rate throughout Japan over the past 10 years and the figures, per head of population, are relatively low compared with U.S., Canada, and most of Europe. The only slide in this general decline is a rise in "elderly crime" which is 10 percent up on the trend.
The reason seems to be a demographic consequence rather than a network of older-person led gangs. The Japanese population has been becoming progressively older. As it stands, near 25 percent of the 127 million peoplewho live in Japan are above retirement age. With such a disproportionately high number of people aged over 65, the biggest potential group for engaging in nefarious activities are those within this demographic category. There may also be social and economic factors at play: low incomes and living in isolation can also lead to desperate behaviors.

SOURCE:   Digital Journal
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Elder abuse? Seek proper help, avoid 'public trial' (SINGAPORE)

The Lower Delta Road incident of a woman caught on video slapping her mother is unfortunate, and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has highlighted the equally unfortunate "public trial" of the individuals concerned ("Public trial of family harsh: Tan Chuan-Jin"; last Saturday). 

In January, several concerned residents in my neighbourhood informed me that an elderly woman had been sleeping in the void deck of a block for several nights. As a member of the residents' committee (RC), I went to investigate. Older members of the RC and neighbours knew about her, and the police had been involved, more than seven years ago, to get her back home to sleep.
There were many theories about what caused her not to want to sleep at home, including abuse by her daughter and boyfriend.
Like what Mr Tan said regarding the Lower Delta Road case: "Sometimes, details may be half-accurate or inaccurate."
In the case of the elderly woman in my neighbourhood, the appropriate thing to do was to seek professional help, and we did. With the help of the RC adviser, a social worker was assigned to her case.
The social worker met the woman's daughter and her boyfriend. She also spoke to the concerned neighbours who have been feeding the elderly woman.
The social worker was able to ascertain the facts of the case and, based on the information, she was able to get the appropriate social service agencies to help a Singaporean in troubled circumstances. The social worker was also able to give professional advice to the neighbours on how best to help the elderly woman to eventually return home to sleep.
We are still working on this case but we managed to avoid a "public trial" of the individuals concerned as that would have put further stress on the already-fractured family relationships.
Liu Fook Thim
SOURCE:    AsiaOne News

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July 25, 2015

Fighting Elder Abuse: More eyes and ears needed to report cases to centres (SINGAPORE)


Radha Basu

Senior Correspondent
Straits Times

For months, neighbours heard screams from a thin, frail woman who looks much older than her 58 years. Some said they saw her beaten by her daughter or husband.
But until Mohamed Juani - a neighbour - secretly filmed and uploaded a video of one such abuse incident on Facebook on Monday evening, no one really spoke up. And, crucially, no one reported the matter to the authorities.
Once the video went viral, some neighbours told reporters they saw her being slapped and kicked. Others saw her hair being pulled. Yet others saw her being berated and beaten with brooms.
The shroud of silence that surrounds abuse cases may shock some, but comes as no surprise to those at the front lines of the battle against elder abuse.
Trans Safe Centre, Pave and Care Corner Project Start provide specialised community-based support and services for people affected by family violence. This includes older folk who are scolded, beaten, defrauded or denied access to others by people they love, most frequently their own flesh and blood. 
While there are some family, friends and neighbours who do speak out, social workers in all three agencies have seen cases where others knew of the abuse but did nothing to help.
Pave, for instance, helped a 74-year-old woman who was often kicked, slapped and hit on the head by her son-in-law. She would shout for help. Once, when he was hitting her and she screamed for help through the kitchen window, a small crowd had gathered downstairs to gape. But no one offered to help or report the matter. Eventually, a visiting grandson was shocked by her condition and reported the matter to the authorities. 
Similarly, in other cases reported to the Trans Safe Centre and Project Start by family members or police, neighbours acknowledged seeing the violence, but did nothing about it. Some do not intervene for fear of being hurt or harassed by the perpetrator who, after all, lives just a door or two away. They may fear making the violence worse for the victim. Others feel being a "kaypoh" - or nosy - neighbour is too "paiseh" (embarrassing). 
Most of all, social workers say, many bystanders feel outsiders should not interfere in domestic disputes - even when violence is invoved. 
It is unclear exactly how many people harbour such views today, but a 2007 study of more than 1,000 people by what was then the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports showed that half believed family violence was a private matter, down from nearly six in 10 in 2003.
But this is a totally wrong view.
The law does not stop at the threshold to private homes. If it did, killings at home won’t be murder, and criminals can flee the law simply by returning home to shut the door. 
Neighbours and bystanders need to know that domestic violence is a crime, the same way violence to a co-worker in the office, or a stranger on the street, is a crime.
SOURCE:    Straits Times

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More Seniors Reporting Cases of Abuse: Welfare Centres (SINGAPORE)

More seniors are reporting cases of abuse, according to welfare centres who deal specifically with family violence. They said physical violence remains the most common form of abuse, but more elderly people are also falling prey to financial abuse, with their family trying to get them to surrender their savings.
On Monday (Jul 20), a Facebook user "ApohTecky Numero" had posted a video online that showed an elderly woman being hit by a younger lady at Block 48 Lower Delta Road. Police later confirmed that a report had been lodged. "Preliminary investigations revealed that a 25-year-old female Singaporean had allegedly assaulted her 58-year-old mother on Jul 20," they stated. The 25-year-old is helping police with their investigations.
Ms Tan Ching Yee, 45, oversees TRANS SAFE Centre, a voluntary welfare organisation in Bedok and one of three family violence specialist centres in Singapore. She has seen many cases of elderly abuse in her 20-year career, but one which took place three to four years ago stood out.
"When we went to the home, we found that he was actually found lying on the trash bag, very thin, wearing diapers and totally grossly neglected. We had to send him to the hospital,” said Ms Tan.
Most cases of elderly abuse by family members are referred to the centres by healthcare institutions such as hospitals and polyclinics, and the courts.
TRANS SAFE Centre sees around 80 such cases annually, and around 40 cases have been reported this year. The most common form of abuse involves physical violence, followed by psychological abuse, neglect and financial abuse, such as getting the seniors to hand over their savings. Their impact over the long term can be devastating, leading to a sense of helplessness, isolation and depression.
With growing awareness of what constitutes abuse and of avenues to seek help, more seniors are reporting such incidents. TRANS SAFE Centre said that between 2010 and 2014, the figure rose from 7 to 17 per cent, among those aged 60 to 64.
Care Corner Project StART - another centre that deals with family violence - has also noticed this trend, and it said that this group is also vulnerable to financial abuse as they tend to be better-off.
The centre sees 80 cases of elderly abuse each year and half involve financial abuse. 
Said Ms Agnes Chia, group director for family and community services at Care Corner Project StART: “We do see their adult children coming in to coerce them to pass on even the deed of the HDB flat to them and coerce them to pass their savings to them. And tactics of abusing them physically would be employed at times to coerce them to surrender their lifelong savings.”
Social workers dealing with cases of elderly abuse said the introduction of the Vulnerable Adults Act by the end of the year would be timely. It would give them the powers to enter the homes of elderly people suspected of being abused.
Currently, family members may prevent them from getting access to these seniors.
"But we need to recognise that a law is only a law. It is after that, what happens? So, we can't assume that the Vulnerable Adults Act can resolve the problem overnight. Looking at the whole process of working towards getting family members to acknowledge that things can be better and things do not have to be resolved using violence. Ultimately, that is still the aim,” said Ms Tan.
Social workers said there is one key challenge that the public faces when it comes to reporting incidents of family violence - distinguishing between whether it is a family dispute or a case of abuse.
Still, they said that more are stepping up to alert them of such cases.

SOURCE:    ChannelNewsAsia

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