Friday, June 20, 2008

Are we prepared for “Saving Our Parents”?

A new DVD called “Saving Our Parents” provides important information regarding the pitfalls and predators facing our aging American population and their families. While this presentation is in no way “preachy,” it astutely and fairly addresses the reality that, left unattended by family members and friends, today’s elderly population is ripe for exploitation and victimization by a host of predators.

To get a sense of the magnitude and dollars involved, think about these “Saving Our Parents” concepts and statistics:

* If you’ve taken care of yourself, age 60 is the new 30 while age 90 is the new 60.
* In the next 25 years, the number of Americans 65 and over will double.
* Americans similar in age to Art Linkletter (born 1912) have seen life expectancy jump 30 years.
* By 2030, 71.5 million Americans will be over 65 and represent nearly 20% of the population.
* People over 50 currently control 70% of the nation’s household net worth.

At Estate of Denial ( we focus on Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) cases that revolve around looting assets of the dead and disabled through probate actions and/or instruments such as wills, trusts and guardianships. Our concentration is to address IRA as a property rights issue affecting a cross-section of Americans while recognizing the elder abuse components of the issue. Having said that, “Saving Our Parents” does a great job describing common lead-ups to IRA looting scenarios. The DVD aptly explains that there is no shortage of predators who view the elderly as a license to steal.

Chayo Reyes, an LAPD Specialist in Elder Fraud (ret.), describes today’s older population as “the Greatest Generation - the Greatest Generation to exploit.” This DVD puts forth a message that Americans of all ages need to hear - from detailing how elders can be duped into signing over assets to financial predators disguised as caregivers or even love interests - after all, nothing warms a heart like cold cash in the bank! - to more nefarious “walker stalkers” who may gain control of an elderly person’s life and property by physical/psychological manipulation or even more stringent means such as poison.

We don’t want to give away the entire DVD as we want people to watch it! “Saving Our Parents” does a great job warning of potential nursing home neglect, hoarding disorders and other situations that can occur as an individual ages. The actions offered to hopefully avoid some of these scenarios are sensible as well as practical.

The true strength of this effort, however, lies in its presentation of the predatory dangers that surround America’s aging population. And to add our own editorial note: don’t think that older Americans aren’t quite capable of abusing each other. While it is easy to suppose that asset looting or property poaching is exclusively an action of younger people taking advantage of their elders — think again. “Hell may have no fury as a woman scorned,” but we maintain that a penniless aging woman (or man) can be as dangerous a beast as there is when faced with the prospect of old age and no money.

The “silent epidemic of the 21st century” is becoming a common characterization for elder abuse and it was put well in context with Elder Abuse Attorney Marc Hankin stating his belief that “half of all Americans will have suffered some form of elder abuse before they are dead.” But don’t take our word for any of this. More information on this important DVD is available at

Forewarned is forearmed.

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