Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Elderly Most at Risk of Theft by Own Children

By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 2:01am GMT 30/01/2007

Greedy middle-aged sons and daughters are the people most likely to rob their parents of money, valuables and even their homes, according to a report today.

However, the report shows that 53 per cent of theft, fraud and deception was committed by the victim's children.

Gary FitzGerald, the chief executive of the charity, said: "This is a horrendous state of affairs. It may seem inconceivable to most of us that a son or daughter could stoop to such appalling depths.

The majority of perpetrators were sons or daughters aged 41 to 60.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Elder Financial Abuse: What It Is. How To Spot It. What To Do About It.

Article by Frederick Caspersen 24 January 2007
Originally Published in the AICPA Wealth Management Insider

As Willie Sutton is famously known to have said, when explaining why he robbed banks: "That’s where the money is." It seems that a number of individuals, and some organized gangs, have realized that many single elderly persons have that in common with banks: they have money, and it is all too often available for the taking.

What Are Some Indicators of Potential Elder Financial Abuse?

A new person in the life of the elder, in which, the new person assumes an increasingly exclusive role in the elder’s life.

A change of close and long-time advisors — attorneys, financial advisors, CPAs.
The new person does not allow the elder any unaccompanied visits and shuts off phone communication.

The new person takes the elder on long, exhausting trips unlike prior travel itineraries.

The elder person is increasingly isolated from the outside world

read more here...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Well Documented Elder Abuse Blog Has Ties to Polk County, Florida.

Well Documented Elder Abuse Blog Has Ties to Polk County, Florida. -
Posted by Josh Hallett on January 11, 2007 at 08:18 AM.

One of my RSS keyword searches provided me with a link to this blog about elderly abuse.

It's an extensive journal about the case of Clara G. Fernandez along with other resources about elderly abuse.

What's the Polk County connection?

Apparently Clara was moved to Polk County, Florida without consent and the family had problems working with the local authorities.

If you look over the entire blog it's amazing to see the level of documentation and detail this is provided about Clara's case.

Josh Hallet Filed in: Florida / Winter Haven.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Save Our Seniors

Sun Comment Editorial Thu, January 18, 2007

Shockingly just over half the investigations have involved family members.

They certainly don't suspect their own children could be quietly emptying their bank accounts or signing away their assets using power of attorney privileges they have been granted.

And yet our seniors are being scammed on a daily basis.

It's time to end the silence.

And the abuse.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Power Of Attorney to an Elderly Person Incable of Comprehending What She is Signing.

This is a "Substitution of Power of Attorney" faxed from ANDY THORNAL 863-297-8025
on behalf of an Infirmed Elder under sedation of drugs given in excess of what would be normal for a person that age. That Infirmed Elder was Mrs. Clara G. Fernandez, which later said during an interview with Dr. Jorge Aguinaga M.D. that she did not remember signing the "Substitution of Power of Attorney".

Friday, January 12, 2007

1 in 5 Elders Victim of Exploitation 4% to 15% ever Reported

By Tracy BretonJournal Staff Writer
A trust betrayed: How two women in their 90's were fleeced by a helper
Elisabeth Shanks, 95, of Riverdale, N.Y., had started to forget things when she met Patricia Murtaugh. Shanks initially enjoyed Murtaugh's help

Experts estimate that one in five elderly Americans are victims of financial exploitation. Some studies put the figure at closer to 50 percent. However, only 4 percent to 15 percent of such cases are ever reported to authorities.

Richard C.W. Hall, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida, says the most common victims of financial exploitation are females older than 75. Most are unmarried, widowed or divorced and suffer from cognitive impairment.

Elisabeth Shanks’ new lawyer has filed a civil suit against Patricia Murtaugh seeking $125,000 in damages for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, and an additional $750,000 in punitive damages. Murtaugh not only stole Shanks’ money, the lawsuit says, but failed to pay her elderly victim’s bills on time, resulting in Shanks’ supplemental health insurance being canceled and her past-due debts being sent to a collection agency

Editor’s Note: Tracy Breton, a recipient of a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship for 2006-2007, is writing an intermittent series of stories about elder abuse and exploitation

read the whole article on this case here....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Categories of Elder Abuse :As described by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA):

• Financial abuse: Misuse of an elderly person's money or assets for personal gain. Acts such as stealing (money, social security checks, possessions) or coercion (changing a will, assuming power of attorney) constitute financial abuse.

• Physical abuse: Any act of violence that causes pain, injury, impairment, or disease, including striking, pushing, force-feeding, and improper use of physical restraints or medication.

• Psychological or emotional abuse: Conduct that causes mental anguish including threats, verbal or nonverbal insults, isolation, and humiliation. Some legal definitions require identification of at least 10 episodes of this type of behavior within a single year to constitute abuse.

• Neglect: Failure of a caretaker to provide for the patient's basic needs. As in the previous examples of abuse, neglect can be physical, emotional, or financial. Physical neglect is failure to provide eyeglasses or dentures, preventive health care, safety precautions, or hygiene. Emotional neglect includes failure to provide social stimulation (leaving an older person alone for extended periods). Financial neglect involves failure to use the resources available to restore or maintain the well-being of the aging adult.

• Sexual abuse: Nonconsensual intimate contact or exposure or any similar activity when the patient is incapable of giving consent. Family members, friends, institutional employees, and fellow patients can commit sexual abuse.

• Self-neglect: Behavior in which seniors compromise their own health and safety, as when an aging adult refuses needed help with various daily activities. When the patient is deemed competent, many ethical questions arise regarding the patient's right of autonomy and the physician's oath of beneficence.

• The miscellaneous category: includes all other types of abuse, including violation of personal rights (failing to respect the aging person's dignity and autonomy), medical abuse, and abandonment.

Monique I Sellas, M.D.

Elder Abuse Warning Signs

1) Power of Attorney given or recent changes of will when the person is incapable of making such decision.

2) Placement in nursing home or residential care facility which is not commensurate with alleged size of estate.

3) Missing personal belongings such as art, silverware or jewelry.

4) Deliberate isolation of an older adult which results in the caregiver having total control.

5) Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practice, including unexplained withdrawls of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder.

6) Abrupt changes in Real Estate Deeds or other Financial Documents.

7) Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder's affairs and possessions.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Retirees Should be Wary of Family Betrayal

Note to retirees: Beware the family.

Financial swindles are one of the fastest-growing forms of abuse of the elderly. By some estimates, as many as 5 million senior citizens are victimized each year, says Sara Aravanis, director of the nonprofit National Center on Elder Abuse, which provides information to federal and state policymakers.

Because of the problem's spread, "many states have laws authorizing financial institutions to report suspicions of elderly abuse," says Bruce Jay Baker, general counsel for the Illinois Bankers Association. Earlier this summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission hosted a seniors summit to highlight the issue, with SEC Chairman Christopher Cox noting that protecting seniors' pocketbooks "is one of the most important issues of our time." Yet it's not dodgy financial experts or crooked caregivers who are the biggest threat. It is family. Children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and even spouses are the people most likely to rob the elderly, according to elder-law advocates and attorneys.

The data that exist — albeit in a spotty manner — suggest that financial crimes rank as the third-most prevalent abuse of the elderly. For victims and family members out to help, the way to combat the crime is to know what to look for and how to prevent it. The abuses: Some of the offenses are straightforward: Other crimes are more intricate and generally depend on manipulating an elderly person's emotions.

How to detect it: . Be wary if a family member you aren't close to offers to help you with your finances.

If a family member seems eager to take you to the lawyer to sign a power of attorney, or talks to you about changing a will, deed or beneficiary designation on financial accounts and insurance policies, be cautious.

If Mom or Dad is suddenly cut off from the rest of the family, — or gets calls screened by another family member who always has an excuse for why the parent isn't available, "that's a big red flag," says Sally Hurme, an attorney with AARP Financial Security, an educational outreach arm of the AARP.

If you are convinced that abuse is occurring, (Move Rapidly) . Police officers are rarely trained to investigate elder abuse and thus may not know how to interview an older adult, work with a person who has dementia, collect forensic evidence, or recommend that criminal charges be brought when responding to reports .

financial explotation should be considered if the patient has suddenly transferred assets to a family member.

National Institute of Justice,Catherine McNamee and Mary B Murphy

Elder Abuse Read full article »

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Elder Abusers Get Away With Murder

Elder Abuse A Single Incident Likely Trigger Serious Illness Even Death

Because older victims usually have fewer support systems and reserves—physical, psychological, and economic—the impact of abuse and neglect is magnified, and a single incident of mistreatment is more likely to trigger a downward spiral leading to loss of independence, a serious complicating illness, and even death. Burgess, A., and N. Hanrahan, Identifying Forensic Markers in Elder Sexual Abuse, final report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC - 2006.

'Until more awareness is created' .. Elder abuse and neglect , the data show science, education, and clinical practice associated with elder abuse and neglect are 30 to 40 years behind those associated with other problems, such as child abuse and domestic violence. NIJ Elder abuse

Catherine C. McNamee is a Social Science Analyst at the National Institute of Justice. Mary B. Murphy is the Managing Editor of the NIJ Journal.

Older People are Open Season Year Around

Elder Abuse in the United States
by Catherine C. McNamee with Mary B. Murphy
To most people, Charles Cullen was an experienced nurse attending to the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. The perception of Cullen as a devoted caretaker came to an abrupt end in 2004, however, when he admitted that he intentionally administered fatal doses of medication to almost 40 patients in various institutions over a 16-year period. Because most of Cullen’s early victims were elderly and seriously ill, and because toxicology and other tests were not done to detect whether there had been wrongdoing, medical examiners did not classify the deaths as homicides.[1] As a result, no criminal investigations were initiated for several years, which resulted in the loss of valuable forensic evidence.[2]

Doctors caring for elders often fail to recognize how psychological conditions—such as depression and dementia—place an individual at greater risk of falling victim to elder abuse..

The vulnerability of this population places them at unusually high risk for severe traumatic reactions to assault, researchers assessed, noting that 11 of the 20 victims died within 12 months of the assault.[10] Many of the victims remained silent about the attack—the incidents came to light only after suspicious signs or evidence were noted by a staff or family member.[11]

Florida Legislators AARP are Slow to Respond to the Need for Elder Abuse Protection

by Irwin Perr, MD, JD, the former president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law (AAPL).

There is no support from groups like AARP.

Such objections ignore the endorsements given the Ohio Physicians' Elder Abuse Prevention report, and the endorsement which these ideas have received from Bentley Lipscomb, Florida's former secretary of elder affairs, while he was director of AARP in that state, but there is no refuting the fact that most other legislators and most other AARP representatives have done nothing to address this problem. In fact, one of the most disturbing facts is that the people's representatives in the legislature and other organizations like AARP have not addressed this issue to their constituents.

Such proposals have been communicated to legislators for nearly a decade. Your help is urgently needed to persuade legislators to do something about this problem.

To share this information with family members, friends, neighbors, legislators, and other acquaintenances. Write a public official to express your concern.

Bookmark this page and be part of the solution.

Isolation of Elders and Undue Influence a Case Study

Case Study.

An 88-year-old widow had been hospitalized at a private psychiatric institution at age 82 because of a paranoid psychotic state and cerebrovascular disease - arteriosclerosis. She was hospitalized for sixmonths and placed under guardianship; she was transferred to a nursing home run by a religious order, where she remained until her death.

The widow prepared a will leaving her estate to the nursing home. When it was known that a will was being prepared, the daughter hired psychiatrist Z who had managed the patient during her six month psychiatric hospitalization five or six years earlier to re-examine her mother. The Mother Superior held the patient "incommunicado" and would not let the psychiatrist who had gone to the nursing home examine the patient.

The court decided that the patient was not shown to be mentally incompetent (that is, lacking testamentary capacity). The court did rule that the will was the result of 'undue influence', resulting in the voiding of the will and the disposition of the estate to the daughter by an earlier will. Pg. 19

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Law Aims to Keep Wolf Out of Granny's Bank Account. -

By Jondi GumzSentinel staff writer

If an elderly customer's bank account dwindles from ATM withdrawals and check signatures, tellers will not remain silent.

Employees of bank, savings and loan associations, and credit unions will be required to report known and suspected financial abuse of elderly customers under a new law taking effect Jan. 1.

"The tragedy is a lifetime of assets can disappear," said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who championed the new law. "It's all well and good to prosecute, but that doesn't bring the money back."

In one local case, a 93-year-old grandmother from Boulder Creek lost $800,000, her life savings, to relatives through transactions involving real estate, powers-of-attorney and changes to a living trust.

Contact Jondi Gumz at mailto:jgumz@santacruzsentinel.com?subject=New.