Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Elders Beaten As Legislature Can't Agree on Elder Assault Bill

Posted: Wednesday, 28 March 2007 10:01AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Attackers who target the elderly won't face harsher sentences any time soon, despite the recent brutal beatings of two elderly women in Queens.

The Republican-led Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would make it a felony to attack the elderly. The measure was proposed after the attacks on a 101-year-old Queens woman as she walked to church and on an 85-year-old woman beaten by the same mugger a half hour later.

The Senate Republicans contend that the attacker could face only a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail instead of years in state prison under a felony.

"This isn't a misdemeanor,'' she said. "But we want to look at elder abuse and see what we can do.''One of the attacks was caught on a black-and-white surveillance video that was viewed worldwide over the Internet.

"Senior citizens should be able to feel safe on their streets and in their own neighborhoods,'' said Sen. Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican. "Criminals, cowards to be more exact, need to know that if they target and assault a senior citizens, they will go to jail for a long, long time.''

In it, 101-year-old Rose Morat is trying to leave her apartment building to go to church. The mugger, a man who looms over the senior citizen and is holding onto a bicycle, pretends to help her get through the vestibule.

The heartlessness of the March 4 attack is clearly conveyed on the grainy, black-and-white videotape, which has now been broadcast well beyond New York.

VIDEO: Vicious Assault on Granny Caught on Tape

"There's certainly a higher penalty for possessing a rock of cocaine in this state than for beating up elderly, bedridden grandparents," Deputy Prosecutor Page Ulrey said.

The jail population in the United States is expected to reach 2 million US makes up 5% of the total global population, it now accounts for 25% of the world's prisoners.

About 1.3 million of the current jail population have been imprisoned for non-violent crimes, usually drug offences a victimless crime.

Yet elder abusers go free and roam the streets, prosecutors avoid these types of cases, and they are seldom punished the brutal attacker of a 101 year old woman could face only a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

What's wrong with this picture ?

Jury convicts woman on 1 larceny count for bilking elderly aunt, deadlocks on 9 other charges

By:Lee Sawyer, Journal Inquirer

An Ellington woman has been found guilty of a single count of second-degree larceny for withdrawing $3,307 from an elderly aunt's account in the weeks before the aunt's death in 2002.

In early 2002 LaVigne had taken Matlis, then 87 and a wealthy childless widow, from her New Hampshire home to live with her in Connecticut in early 2002. Shortly thereafter, huge sums of money changed hands from Matlis to LaVigne, alarming some of Matlis' other relatives and friends, who claimed she was suffering dementia and was unaware of the transactions.State investigators began to probe the matter and built their case against LaVigne after Matlis' death in November 2002.

LaVigne, before the verdict was announced, said she would be relieved to get the matter behind her. She that although she'd remained optimistic, the trial had burdened her family."They say 'Mom, this belongs in civil court, not criminal,'" she said. "They say 'Auntie Pat gave us money, too, does that mean we'll go to jail?"'

She accused him of having a vendetta against her based on jealousy."He thinks the money she gave me belonged to him," she said.When reached later by phone at his home in Virginia, Loulakis said the jury's guilty verdict, even if it was just on one felony larceny count, was a victory for himself, his family, and Matlis."We think the state did a great job, and the jury got it," he said. Of LaVigne, he said, "She was a financial predator who took advantage of my aunt.

"Ten years would be too little for what she did to our family, and what she did to my aunt," Loulakis said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When Financial Gratitude Goes Too Far

A column by Pamela Case ori-posted Saturday March 17 2007 reposted 3-27-07

Gratitude is a rare commodity. So when it comes your way, you ought not abuse it. Some people have trouble learning that lesson.

In this day of people living longer and with more health problems, it is wise to consider how to protect not just the elderly person, but their property as well. In these cases there were some common elements: first, the caregivers quickly increased their duties from caring for the person to caring for their finances, sometimes even with the consent of other family members; second, they ingratiated themselves to their charges quickly and isolated them from other friends and family; and third, they found willing accomplices to write new estate plans for evidently incompetent elders. Any of these elements ought to raise red flags for those concerned about undue influence.

written by John Bisnar , March 17, 2007
Undue influence is one issue and a person's rights to leave what they want to whom they want is another. I have seen this issue from all sides.

I'v experienced the elderly person who feels that in their greatest time of need, in their declining years, their children and extended family do not care for them or even see them. The elder parent changes their will to give their assets to those who took care of them, without the thought of a financial gain, during the last periods of their life or they leave their estate to friends or charities. Then when the elder person dies their children rush in expecting a big inheritence. Lawsuits result.

I'v experienced the elder person who is so upset with their relatives that they want to give their estate to anyone but their relatives. They wind up giving their estate to the last persons who cared for them or a charity. So what's wrong with that?

I have also been witness to sitations where adult children who have ignored their elderly parent for decades, show up to take care of their elder parent a few months before they die and demand to know what the estate plan is. They even threaten their elderly parent if the plan isn't changed to inlcude them for the vast majority of the estate.

Remember if an elder is no longer competent, any changes they make to an estate plan are not effective. As long as they are of sound mind, without undue influence, they should be able to leave their possession to anyone or entity that they choose.

When it comes my time, I certainly do not want the State of California rules to dictate who I can give my estate to. I want a rebuttable presumption that if I have changed my estate plan, that it was without undue influence.

We should be free from undue influence and we should be free to leave our estate to whom we please.

John Bisnar

Dr. Fernandez Dies : Stress took Ultimate Toll on Senior

Sadly this story is being repeated way too many times only the names change , the story of abuse remains the same.

Dr. A.J. Fernandez loved Clara, whom he met in Cuba on 1945 and married her a year later in Boston , Ma. Clara first caught his eye when he rode by on a bicycle and later they would meet again at the bank where Clara's father was the administrator and A.J. stopped by to get a loan to pay for his tuition for medical school , Clara recalls, "he was really cute, shy and had beautiful blues eyes..

"What Dr. Fernandez didn't know when he met Clara was that in the Golden Years of his life they would be separated by a greedy relative and that they both would become victims in a tenacious scam orchestrated from Winter Haven, Florida and that the same Law Enforcement Agencies, the The Sheriff's Office , State Attorneys Office that showered him with plaques, honors just a few years earlier would now turn a deaf ear when Dr. A.J. Fernandez asked for their help in seeking his wife Clara's return.

"Some children try to acquire their parents' money before they die and beat their siblings to it," said Yvonne Zardani, secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Pensioners and Superannaunts League. "They use their parents to get everything they can get." Sons and daughters take money, promising to care for their parents and then abandon them.

Dr. A.J. Fernandez would endure the final year of his life under crippling stress, siting on the edge of his chair, staring at the front door , wondering why his wife had be taken from his side , his family believes contributed to the deterioration in his health and led to his death three days after Judge Richard Payne, ascertained in a 'Motion to Determine Residency' that Clara's place was by her husband in their home in Key West Florida.

It's not the total amount alleged to have been taken out of Clara's Trust or the Real Estate properties and Jewelry that disappeared that makes this case stand out. It's the impact on the victims.

It started on August 21st in 2004 , when Clara's oldest son, Adalbertol(Al) Fernandez , Jr. a social worker , and another man William(Bill) A. Hart came up with the idea to take the ailing elder who had been diagnosed with Dementia, High blood Pressure, Osteoporosis , and was taking medications for Alzheimer's to Winter Haven, Florida.

Under unbearable anxiety....Dr. Fernandez encountered health problems and refused to eat until he saw his wife, and had to be given steroids shots, in order to induce him to eat and keep him alive.

He started coping with bouts of depression and had to be hospitalized several times for dehydration, depression, and anxiety . After a year of anxiety-driven sickness, Dr. Fernandez 's condition worsened after traveling 10 hours to Winter Haven, and being denied the chance to see his wife.

Dr. Fernandez's family who had been caring for Dr. Fernandez and his wife Clara had never heard of elder Abuse before and started calling local police agencies and the Florida Division of Children and Families, (DCF) which according to Florida law, requires DCF to make a reasonable attempt to keep families together, unfortunately visits by adult-protective care workers during 2004, in Winter Haven , Florida failed to prevent Clara's over medication and subsequent falls and incapacitation.

The unwillingness of the authorities to enforce Florida Statue 415.102 and defines "Exploitation" means a person who stands in a position of trust and confidence with a disabled adult or elderly person, and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use the funds, assets, or property of the elderly or disabled person for the benefit of someone other than the victim.
This led his family to start ElderAbuseHelp.Com and ElderAbuseHelp.Org in the hope that other elders, their families, or perhaps yourself, can be spared the incredible suffering and devastation of elder abuse.

It has been very costly for Clara Fernandez to get back to back to Key West, where she wanted to be , near her friends, family and husband. Clara is still suffering from the legal trauma in progress, with the legal delays .

During the time that Clara was in Winter Haven, Florida Clara was heavily over medicated and forced to turn over all the assets that her attorneys had set up in her 'Trust ' to take care of her and her husband during their old age.

There is No Police Elder Abuse Unit or Prosecutors that specialize in elder abuse to turn to for help in Florida , as in other states and Clara's expenses continue to climb.

Dr. Fernandez and Clara's case as reported to the authorities is not being prosecuted because police and prosecuting attorneys historically have view them as civil matters, and according to CAtherine c McNamee of the National Institute of Justice, "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".

"The way that society doesn't value these people is reflected in how we have been investigating and prosecuting these cases," said Deputy Prosecutor Page Ulrey.

The Fernandez's family believes fighting through the pain is worth the heartbreak if other elderly people can be warned about scam artists hounding society's most vulnerable citizens.

Your help is needed to persuade legislators to do something about this problem. Please share this information with family members, friends, neighbors, legislators, and other acquaintances.

The reality is it's very easy to steal from sick and old people."

Elderly abuse trial set for May 30

FAYETTEVILLE, WV — Circuit Judge John Hatcher has scheduled for May 30 the trial of a Fayetteville woman charged with elderly abuse. Proceedings will convene at 9 a.m.

Parsons originally faced one count each of intentional neglect of an incapacitated adult, intentional neglect of an elder person, misappropriation or misuse of funds of an incapacitated adult person by means of deception, misappropriation or misuse of funds of an elder person by means of deception and embezzlement by misuse of a fiduciary relationship.

By Matthew HillRegister-Herald Reporter— E-mail:

abridged read it here >>

Aged, Frail and Denied Care by Their Insurers


Published: March 26, 2007 CONRAD, Mont. — Mary Rose Derks was a 65-year-old widow in 1990, when she began preparing for the day she could no longer care for herself. Every month, out of her grocery fund, she scrimped together about $100 for an insurance policy that promised to pay eventually for a room in an assisted living home.

On a May afternoon in 2002, after bouts of hypertension and diabetes had hospitalized her dozens of times, Mrs. Derks reluctantly agreed that it was time. She shed a few tears, watched her family pack her favorite blankets and rode to Beehive Homes, five blocks from her daughter’s farm equipment dealership.

At least, Mrs. Derks said at the time, she would not be a financial burden on her family.
But when she filed a claim with her insurer, Conseco, it said she had waited too long. Then it said Beehive Homes was not an approved facility, despite its state license. Eventually, Conseco argued that Mrs. Derks was not sufficiently infirm, despite her early-stage dementia and the 37 pills she takes each day.

After more than four years, Mrs. Derks, now 81, has yet to receive a penny from Conseco, while her family has paid about $70,000. Her daughter has sent Conseco dozens of bulky envelopes and spent hours on the phone. Each time the answer is the same: Denied.

Yet thousands of policyholders say they have received only excuses about why insurers will not pay. Interviews by The New York Times and confidential depositions indicate that some long-term-care insurers have developed procedures that make it difficult — if not impossible — for policyholders to get paid.

“The bottom line is that insurance companies make money when they don’t pay claims,” said Mary Beth Senkewicz, who resigned last year as a senior executive at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “They’ll do anything to avoid paying, because if they wait long enough, they know the policyholders will die.”

Yet these concerns have been ignored by state regulators, advocates say, and have gone unnoticed by federal lawmakers who recently passed incentives intended to promote purchases of long-term-care policies, in the hopes of forestalling a Medicare funding crisis.

Conseco and Bankers Life “made it so hard to make a claim that people either died or gave up,” said Betty J. Hobel, a former Bankers Life agent in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “When someone is 70 or 80 years old,” she said, “how many times are they going to try before they just give up?”

Read entire article here >>

Monday, March 26, 2007

Have you or has someone you know been exploited because of age or declining health?

March 25, 2007 10:11 a.m.
Yes, both my mother and aunt.. and by the same person.. my sister. Despite my pleas to the State of RI and local authorities, no one would help.

March 25, 2007 07:56 a.m.
I work with the elderly and their families in a hospital. I see financial exploitation and neglect on a regular basis. If we report these situations, the Department of Elder Affairs does NOTHING at all to help these people. You get a shrug of the shoulders from them! They say there is nothing they can do, they don't have the "power" to take the case to court so they sit back and absolutely nothing. There is no elder protection in the state of R.I.

My heart goes out to the residents of Rhode Island that made those comments , I know your pain.
My family in Florida has reported my mother's case of elder abuse repeatdly a paper trail of destruction was left behind however these cases involving family are extremely difficult for authorities to solve and by by pursuing civil action and continuing to keep this case in the public eye we hope that justice will prevail .

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blogger of the Week : From Florida To Maine

This weekend I want to take you from Florida to Maine and welcome a new blogger, Laurie Borguss for bringing us on a virtual tour of the Florida Keys, it's marine life, beautiful sunsets and attractions, visiting your site feels like being there.

The Art work by Wyland is absolutely phenomenal, and Jule's Underseas Lodge is like something our of a science fiction novel.

The slides shows are fun, and the contrast with your other home in Maine makes for a very interesting visit , you really done a good job in the short time you've been blogging thanks for sharing with us and most of all thank you for all the help and support you've given this blog we wish lots of luck in all your endeavors.

What is Cryonics ?

Photo cortesy of Alcor Life Extension Foundation

  • What is Cryonics?

Cryonics is the speculative practice of using cold to preserve the life of a person who can no longer be supported by ordinary medicine. The goal is to carry the person forward through time, for however many decades or centuries might be necessary, until the preservation process can be reversed, and the person restored to full health.

While cryonics sounds like science fiction, there is a basis for it in real science. The complete scientific story of cryonics is seldom told in media reports, leaving cryonics widely misunderstood.

Cryonics is justified by three facts that are not well known:

1) Life can be stopped and restarted if its basic structure is preserved.

2) Vitrification (not freezing) can preserve biological structure very well.

3) Methods for repairing structure at the molecular level can now be foreseen.

Further discussion and references concerning post-mortem brain changes are available within this article, and also this one. These data suggest that the early stages of what we consider death today may actually be a treatable injury. This is not because death is reversible, but because what we think of as death today might not really be death at all. Rather than spontaneous return of function, death may ultimately be determined by information theoretic criteria.

The goal of cryonics is to overcome serious illness by preserving and protecting life. Cryonics is therefore consistent with pro-life principles of both medicine and religion. Hypothermia victims have been revived after more than an hour without breathing, heartbeat, or brain activity. Deep cooling is sometimes used to "turn off" patients for long periods during neurosurgery when the heart must be stopped. Human embryos are routinely cryopreserved and revived. If cryonics works, it will work because it is fundamentally the same as these other forms of "suspended animation" that are already known in medicine. Patients in these states are understood to be in deep coma, not death.

Cryonics patients are theologically equivalent to unconscious patients in a hospital with an uncertain prognosis. Moving essays affirming the morality and worth of cryonics have been written from both Catholic and Protestant perspectives. Members of diverse Christian denominations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have joined Alcor, in addition to people of other faiths. For further information, please read Christianity and Cryonics and other articles in the Religion Section of the Alcor Library. Alcor welcomes written contributions from all faiths attesting to the life-affirming nature of cryonics.

Most of Alcor's membership is middle class, and funds cryonics by life insurance. Cryonics is within reach of any healthy young person in the industrialized world who plans for it. For a young person, the lifetime cost of cryonics is no greater than that of smoking, cable TV, or regular eating out.

In the words of biologist Peter Medawar, "...there is no more deep-seated biological instinct than that which expresses itself as a firm grasp upon life, there is more dignity, as there is more humanity, in fighting for life than in a passive abdication from our most hardly won and most deeply prized possession."

The Oldest Person ?

World's Oldest Person Turns 128 by Thomson Fontaine

Since the publication of this article in January 2003 Ma Pampo died in October of that year without ever being recognised as the World's Oldest Person by the Guiness Book of World Records. Unfotunately, her death came before the scientific community could confirm her age.

World's (official) oldest person dies at 116
An American woman officially recognised as the world's oldest person has died at the age of 116.
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Bolden died at a nursing home in Memphis, Tennessee. Born in 1890, she married at 19 and was widowed in the 1950s.

Her successor looks set to be Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico, who is 115, according to Robert Young, adviser to Guinness World Records.

ARLES, France (CNN) -- Jeanne Calment, believed to be the world's oldest person, died Monday at age 122, according to her retirement home. No precise cause of death was given for Calment, who died in the retirement home where she spent the last 12 years of her life.
According to her birth certificate, Calment was born on February 21, 1875, about 10 years after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. She entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1993 as the oldest living person whose birthdate could be authenticated by reliable records.

As of February 2005, there were 21 centenarians in Dominica with the oldest at the age of 107. The US has the highest number of centenarians about 55 000, followed by Japan with 25 000. Based on the population of all three countries, Dominica has 3 centenarians for every 10 000 of the population compared to about 2 centenarians for every 10 000 for the US and Japan.

If You Aren't Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem.

New committee aims to educate about domestic abuse Author: Mary Riley

It's about all of us as a community getting involved, to protect these women and children. A new program aimed at helping the public recognize domestic abuse can be described in simple terms: If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

The Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton domestic violence co-ordinating committee is introducing two new initiatives to help abused women and children.The committee is made up of agencies from the justice, health and social service sectors that work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.

"To the Public, It's the agencies and the victim sorting through the problem. People don't understand if (abuse) has never been a part of their lives."

...many people who are aware of an abusive situation are reluctant to intervene, because of fear or a belief is "none of their business."

abridged bold mine for emphasis

Friday, March 23, 2007

District Attoney's Elder Abuse Unit 'Gets More Money'-

Supervisors OK Funds to Improve District Attorney's Elder Abuse Unit
By Christi Anne Corpus Signal Staff Writer Santa Clarita Valley California

Victimized senior citizens gained further assistance to fight elder abuse after the Board of Supervisors announced Tuesday its approval of a $180,000 state grant for the county District Attorney's Elder Abuse Unit.

The unit - which handles cases of neglect, mental abuse, financial and physical abuse, consumer scams, and fraud - caters to the more than 1 million seniors throughout Los Angeles County. In 2005, there were 21,950 reported cases of abuse, according to county reports.

"This action will enhance and improve our efforts to provide vital services to prevent and prosecute crimes against our Los Angeles County seniors," Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a statement.

The Elder Abuse Unit, one of the first of its kind, employs specially trained attorneys that vertically prosecute cases, which means that one deputy district attorney handles a case from beginning to end, according to the District Attorney's Web site.

To report forms of abuse, call the Elder Abuse Hot line at (877) 477-3646, or contact the SCV Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121.

Alzheimer’s Cases Jump 10 Percent as 4.9 Million Senior Citizens Now Afflicted

Someone develops Alzheimer’s every 72 seconds, says Alzheimer’s Association report
March 20, 2007 - The Alzheimer’s Association today reports that there are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease, which includes 4.9 million senior citizens - people over the age of 65. This 2007 estimated is a 10 percent increase from the previous prevalence nationwide estimate of 4.5 million. Read more...

Elderly 'often abused by relatives'

reprint from Feb 7 2007
Almost half of those who abuse elderly people are relatives, a charity has warned.

A quarter of abusers are sons and daughters, and 64% of old people are abused in their own home, says Help the Aged.

The charity said a "not in my back yard" attitude is prevalent......Most assume abuse takes place in care homes and is carried out by professional staff, it says.

read it all >>

Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation as defined in Section 415.102, F.S. Definitions

CRITERIAThe allegations must constitute abuse, neglect, or exploitation as defined in Section 415.102, F.S. Definitions:

a) "Abuse" means the non-accidental infliction of physical or psychological injury or sexual abuse upon an elderly person or disabled adult by a relative, care giver, or household member, or an action by any of those persons which could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury or sexual abuse of the victim by any person, Abuse is also the active encouragement of any person by a relative, care giver, or household member to commit an act that inflicts or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury.

b) "Neglect" means the failure or omission on the part of the care giver or elderly person or disabled adult to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the elderly person or disabled adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services, that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of an elderly person or disabled adult. "Neglect" is also the failure of a care giver to make a reasonable effort to protect the victim from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by others.

c) "Exploitation" means a person who stands in a position of trust and confidence with a disabled adult or elderly person, and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use the funds, assets, or property of the elderly or disabled person for the benefit of someone other than the victim.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Should Family Members be Exempt From Elder Abuse Laws ?

Redding Man Held in Elder Abuse Case - reprint from 12/2006 Abby Fox-Staff Writer
In a "huge majority of my cases, the suspects are family members," she said.

Advertising and Elders

By Ronni Bennett

We spend a lot of space on this blog discussing the impact of advertising on the perception of elders and that old people are mostly invisible in print ads and television commercials except for products to relieve pain and suffering.

Chuck Nyren, founder of nyrenagency, is an award-winning advertising video producer, creative strategist, consultant, and copywriter focusing on the baby boomer market. He runs a lively blog at Advertising to Baby Boomers and the newly updated, revised version of his book, Advertising to Baby Boomers has just been released. Please make him welcome.

There are 46 million people in the U.S. (one-sixth of the population) who are older than 60. Yet marketers and advertisers refuse to acknowledge that we exist except in commercials for pain and suffering remedies. There are no commercials for new cars, iPods or even laundry detergent that feature elders. Why?

"It’s ageism. Something you write about almost everyday on your blog. I get a bit queasy talking about ageism and racism as being too closely related."

Forty, 50, 100 years ago, the conventional wisdom was, “Why advertise to Negroes? They buy products anyway. And do we really want to associate our product with this group?” That’s what’s happening now with ageism and advertising.

Abridged, Read the entire interview with Chuck Nyren here >>

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Laws Open the Door for Elder Financial Abuse Prosecution- Banks Object

CARSON CITY, Nev. Banks oppose bill requiring teller reports of elder abuse

Banking lobbyists argued Wednesday against a bill that makes it a misdemeanor for a bank employee to not report financial abuse of an elderly person, saying it could make criminals out of bank tellers.

AB87 expands an existing law that requires reporting elder abuse to include employees of financial institutions that deal directly with someone 60 or older or that review their financial transactions.

Washoe County District Attorney Karl Hall backed the bill, saying it will help adult protective services and law enforcement get a handle on elder abuse problems since financial exploitation occurs more often than physical abuse.

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates there were almost 400,000 reports of elder abuse in the United States in 2004. Most often, family members report abuse, but other reporters include neighbors, social services staff, law enforcement and doctors.

March 21, 2007 abridged read it all here >>

Son Gets Seven Years in Elder-Abuse Death

By Peter Brieger, National PostPublished: Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TORONTO — A Scarborough man who treated the family dog better than his ailing mother was sentenced to seven years in jail Tuesday for “despicable conduct” that hastened the frail woman’s death.

“This is the most horrific and unimaginable example of neglect that I’ve experienced as a trial judge,” Mr. Justice Edward Then told a downtown courtroom. “It was despicable conduct . . . that borders on the obscene.”

But “like-minded” people must be sent a message that seniors and other vulnerable groups deserve “the special protection of the court,” Justice Then said. “The court must express its revulsion in no uncertain terms,” he added.

The case set a legal precedent in an elder abuse case because Mrs. Noseworthy, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, died of congestive heart failure.

In most cases, a manslaughter charge hinges on a person directly causing someone’s death.

“Justice Then’s sentence sends out the right message to protect the most vulnerable members of society,” Ms. Juginovic told reporters outside the courthouse. “(Mary Noseworthy) was extremely vulnerable and not in a position to defend herself.”

“Accelerating death is a manner of contributing to death,” Then said before convicting Noseworthy, a slight man with thinning, slicked back grey hair.

abridged, bold and photo mine for emphasis read it all here >>

“Old age isn’t for wimps.”

Prescription for Elder Abuse Winter 2007 Issue Vision Social Issues

A couple of years ago I sat down beside an elderly member in our local church congregation, who clearly was in distress, and asked how she was doing. Without complaining, she explained what I already knew: her knees were giving her a lot of pain. In spite of her obvious discomfort, she still had a sense of humor about her situation. She said with a twinkle in her eye, “Old age isn’t for wimps.” It certainly takes faith, courage, longsuffering and humility to face the difficulties that old age can bring.

The problems that often accompany aging are aggravated by our youth-oriented and youth-dominated society, which devalues the wisdom and understanding that often come only with age and experience. Thus the elderly not only have to deal with their diminishing physical abilities and growing liabilities, but they often suffer the indignity of a lack of respect for their worth as a person.

Lack of respect for the elderly is a contributing factor to elder abuse. Like everything else in life, respect for the elderly must be taught, learned and practiced. At God's command, Moses instructed the people of Israel to“rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God” (Leviticus 19:32). Those with a proper reverence for God, one of whose names is the Ancient of Days, will show deference and respect toward the elderly. This attitude is reflected in the apostle Paul's pastoral instruction to a young minister named Timothy. Paul admonished him to "not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father . . . [and] older women as mothers” (1 Timothy 5:1–2). This guideline is itself based on one of the cardinal points of God’s law: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Regarding members of the early church community, Paul instructed Timothy:“If any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God” ( 1 Timothy 5:4). The care parents bestow on their chldren from birth until they are able to be fully independent adults needs to be reciprocated when elderly parents' circumstances, such as declining health or mental confusion, thrust them into a dependent role.

Appreciating and applying these principles would go a long way toward eliminating elder abuse.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have Lunch With an Elder Today - Clara Sends Regards

.................. Lunch time at the Key West Convalescent Center ....Please go to the nearest nursing home and volunteer your time, help an elder eat, there is no reward as to see their eyes light up when they see you, let them know you care. They were there for you, please be there for them.

Mariano helping his brother Pedro eat, this what being a brother is all about! Have your children Volunteer, it should be mandatory for every High School in the nation to have programs for which our students earn credits by helping our elders, I guarantee you that they would view our elders in a brand new light , if they only had the chance to work with and get to know our elders.
post and photos by Ray Fernandez

The Robbing, Incapacitating, Exploitating, Slashing, Revenge On Our Elders

Woman charged in attack on grandmother

OROVILLE -By TERRY VAU DELL - Originally posted on March 16, 2007
A Red Bluff woman was charged Thursday with attempted premeditated murder, stemming from an alleged unprovoked knife attack on her aged grandmother during a quiet family gathering in Chico earlier in the week.

Yvette Hanson, 40, did not enter a plea to the charges, which could carry a life term in prison upon conviction.

She is accused of using a kitchen knife to slash the throat of her grandmother, Pauline Tull, 85, in front of several startled relatives inside the victim's mobile home at Casa De Flores on East Lassen Avenue Monday night.

The victim required 14 stitches to close the wound to her neck and also incurred cuts to one finger when she tried to ward off the attack. Deputy district attorney Kelly Maloy, who filed the charges Thursday against the victim's granddaughter, said Hanson gave strongly incriminating statements to police and blamed the assault on a desire for "revenge for something she feels that happened in her childhood."

During a gathering involving four generations of the same family at Tull's mobile home about 11:30 p.m. Monday night, relatives said Hanson's mood seemed to change after she returned from smoking a cigarette outside.

After a few minutes, the Red Bluff woman reportedly got up and closed the drapes. She retrieved a knife from a kitchen counter and after walking behind her grandmother's chair, pulled the victim's hair back and slashed at her throat with a downward motion.

archived here >>

"Parents are sitting ducks. They can't imagine that their children would want to do them any harm . It seems incredible that they should allow greed(hate) to override their natural affection....Maybe they just resent having been born." Alexander Chancellor

"The way that society doesn't value these people is reflected in how we have been investigating and prosecuting these cases," said Deputy Prosecutor Page Ulrey.

Your help is needed to persuade legislators to do something about this problem.

More Seniors Facing Abuse

By Jennifer

CHEYENNE - In Sublette County, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard in February, a blind, deaf man who could barely walk and was under the care of his son arrived at a hospital covered in bruises.The bruising, however, was not the medical condition that had brought him there, and it soon became apparent they were the result of his son, who verbally attacked him as well.

"The focus (for child protective services workers) is on children, and they work their tails off and do a great job," said Tim Summers, a spokesman for AARP Wyoming, "but the focus is clearly on children."

And nationally, experts estimate 84 percent of vulnerable adult abuse cases are never reported, and as many as 5 million seniors are abused each year.

Loopholes and omissions in the present law are part of the problem. Many cases of intimidation and exploitation are going unprosecuted because of them.

And due to weak language, many financial abuses are going unpunished.

That bothered Rep. Colin Simpson, R-Cody, who contacted AARP to ask what could be done."This crime is increasing rapidly," Simpson said of financial exploitation to the Judiciary Committee last month. "I see it more and more in my constituents and my clients, where someone is just stealing from someone else. It's a significant problem."

Together, they crafted House Bill 300, passed this session and signed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal this month. It goes into effect July 1.

Still, more can be done, and may be done in the future.

Abridged, bold mine for emphasis

Law Cracks Down on Elder Abuse

CHEYENNE - Posted 3-19-2007 A.P. A new law will attempt to fight elder abuse by closing legal loopholes and hiring four people to train those who investigate such crimes.Experts say that while the law will be helpful after it takes effect July 1, it also will highlight the need for even more people to investigate elder abuse.

The Wyoming Department of Family Services says recorded incidents of elder abuse in the state have increased 61 percent since 2001. Nationwide, however, it is estimated that 84 percent of adult abuse cases are never reported.

"Every day, when we work in communities, we see a tremendous number of abuses that go on," said Beverly Morrow, administrator of the Aging Division at the Wyoming Department of Health. "Some of them are horrendous. Our population is growing older, faster, than most other states in the country. It's a growing problem that's going to get worse."

One loophole currently exempts anyone besides caregivers from being charged with elder abuse or neglect. The new law will close that loophole.The new law also seeks to crack down on elder intimidation and financial abuse.

In addition, the law provides for the hiring of four people to train police and child protective services staff, who handle adult abuse cases.

Don't worry Florida, you might be last on the list but your turn is coming- Someday when Floridians say enough! One day when the problem is so widespread that everyone will know a relative of friend that been affected by elder abuse, and that day is not too far off.

Ethics Institute Sponsoring 'Ethical Perspectives on Elder Care' Program

Dr. Charles Zola
The Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at College Misericordia is sponsoring the program, “Ethical Perspectives on Elder Care,’’ at Luzerne County Community College’s Educational Conference Center on Thursday, April 26 from 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Twelve informative lectures on a wide spectrum of topics will be presented by experts in geriatric care, including keynote speaker Mario Cornacchione, DO, CMD, president, Geriatric Research and Consulting Group, and clinical assistant professor of the Institute for Successful Aging at the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine.

The lecturers will address, for example, dementia, elder abuse, cultural diversity, technology, spiritual care, moral dilemmas and legal issues that arise in the care of the elderly. People interested in the conference can choose which sessions to attend.

The conference is intended for physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, nursing home administrators, personal care administrators, allied health care professions and family members who are actively engaged or interested in elder care. The conference is eligible for continuing education credits.

For more information or to register for the conference, please call 570-674-6201 or register on-line at Registration deadline is Friday, April 20. or for more information about the Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at College Misericordia, please contact Dr. Zola at 570-674-6201 or

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nurse charged with elder abuse of husband

By Colleen Kottke - CKOTTKE@FDLREPORTER.COM Ori-Posted March 16,2007

JUNEAU — A nurse who allegedly let her 78-year-old husband lay on a floor soiled with animal urine and feces for more than four hours has been charged in Dodge County Circuit Court.Sandra Morris, 55, of Neosho, made her initial appearance earlier this week and was charged with misdemeanor negligent maltreatment of vulnerable adults. If convicted, Morris faces up to nine months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

We applaud the authorities in Alaska for prosecuting this , had this happened in a community in South Florida it would be a non event , in the 37 days Clara has been at the Center I am aware of three cases of Elder Abuse by family members which falls under the guidelines of Elder Abuse as set out by the NIJ and the NCEA and Criminal investigation is warranted yet the victims families have been told by the authorities that these are civil matters.

Fight for elderly goes to Downing Street

Edward Mullenger is working with charity Action on Elder Abuse to highlight the financial exploitation of elderly people by relatives and people in positions of trust.

Mr Mullenger, who has worked in the care sector himself, delivered a two-thousand signature petition to 10 Downing Street to urge that new laws be brought in to protect vulnerable elderly people.

He said: "Together with Action on Elder Abuse, we would like to see the protection of elderly people brought up to the same level as that of child protection.

"There is an enormous amount of financial abuse going on and most of it is not reported."

"My aim is to make the public more aware of what goes on, and even educate elderly people themselves. I also want to educate the police and prosecution service as well."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

13 South California nursing homes accused of elder abuse

SANTA ANA – More than a dozen nursing homes run by one of the largest elder care providers in the country were accused of elder abuse and fraud in a class-action lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

The lawsuit accuses 13 Southern California care centers operated by Life Care Centers of America Inc. of having a long history of substandard care. The complaint was filed Thursday by attorney Stephen Garcia on behalf of thousands of California residents who lived in one of the centers between 2003 to 2007.

Garcia accused the company of seeking out “the sickest of the sick who require the most attention” because these patients would bring in higher Medicare payments. The company would then give these patients little attention, Garcia claimed.

He hopes the lawsuit will force the court to order an independent monitor to oversee the company's centers.


Monday, March 19, 2007
Rising child-abuse deaths draw national scrutiny in Japan By ERIC PRIDEAUX Staff writer

It is a routine feature on television news: Another child has been strangled, starved, beaten or otherwise fatally abused-- at the hands of the parents.

An endless stream of child-abuse deaths has exposed gaping flaws in the way Japan attends to its young. Equally routine but no less tragic is the fact that Japanese authorities in many cases knew the child was at risk but failed to intervene.

"Social workers are swamped," said Satoru Momose, an official at the health ministry's Equal Employment, Children and Families Bureau.

To be sure, the scale of Japan's problem appears small compared with the amount of child abuse reported in other advanced economies. In the United States, for example, some 872,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Health's Administration for Children and Families. An estimated 1,490 kids died.

But smaller reporting levels are cold comfort in Japan, where problems are expected to worsen as the protective mechanisms of the past fail to keep up with the present.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

They love to make you mad

Some people find angry looks from others so rewarding they go out of their way to encourage them, Michigan researchers said.

"It's kind of striking that an angry facial expression is consciously valued as a very negative signal by almost everyone, yet at a non-conscious level can be like a tasty morsel that some people will vigorously work for," said Oliver Schultheiss, University of Michigan associate professor of psychology.

His study may explain why some people like to tease each other, he said. "Perhaps teasers are reinforced by that fleeting annoyed look on someone else's face and therefore will continue to heckle that person to get that look again and again," he said. "As long as it does not stay there for long, it's not perceived as a threat, but as a reward."

Schultheiss and Michelle Wirth used saliva samples to measure testosterone levels in participants, who then worked on a series of computer tasks that were followed by angry, neutral or no face on the screen. Participants who were high in testosterone, which has been associated with dominance motivation, learned the sequence that was reinforced by the angry face, said the researchers, whose work was published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.

cartoon and italics are mine.

Friday, March 16, 2007

We Fall Short ! New aged care rules "Don't Go Far Enough"

Thursday, 15 March 2007 by IBN News

The elderly are still exposed to abuse despite changes to the federal government's aged care reporting regime, Democrats senator Lyn Allison has declared.

The senator says other forms of abuse need to be recognised.

"The government has left out psychological and financial abuse and neglect, even though it can have devastating affects on older people," she said. "The legislation also ignores the fact that elder abuse, like child abuse, is more likely to come from family and from carers at home where there is far less scrutiny than in aged care facilities."

Senator Allison said there was no one simple solution to the problem.

"(But) the government's reliance on mandatory reporting ignores all the other valuable approaches that should be adopted," she said.

'A BRICK WALL' - {"The Three (3) Year Look Back Rule and Opportunists"}

by Ray Fernandez

Having spent time in the Convalescent Center where Clara is recovering from her trauma as a victim of Elder Abuse , and as a result of talking to other families, I have learned a great deal about how the system fails to protect our elders and I have to admit, it is as if the abusers used the same manual.... "the story is the same only the names change."


-Sudden appearance of previously Un-involved relative(s) claiming their rights to an Elders affairs and possessions.

-Previously Un-involved relative(s) takes the infirmed elder out of their home, attorney in tow, and gets a "Quit Claim" deed to the elders home, 'Power of Attorney' and transfers all of the Elders possessions that are falsely signed over to their name for their own benefit.

The elder is now NOT eligible for Medicaid Long Term Care due to the "three (3) year look back rule", which states; that in the event an elders assets are transferred out of the elders name within the last three years, and it becomes imminent that the elder will be in need of long term care, it disqualifies him/her from receiving further Medicaid benefits.

An elders family becomes alarmed and goes to the authorities, elders family runs into a brick wall with the local authorities and turns to the DCF for help.

The DCF, lacking police powers, turns the case over to the local State Attorney's office.

Local State Attorney calls the case a 'Civil Matter', in which it in itself, is a death sentence to the elder.

The Elder becomes disqualified to receive aid due to the 'three (3) year look back rule' , and is unable to receive financial aid due to the high cost of providing specialized care, and the nursing home is now forced to discharge the elder when he/she most urgently needs the care.

Most elder financial abusers are 'opportunists,' and do not plan three years ahead of time, as they usually strike when the opportunity presents itself. It is usually when the elders mental capabilities are in question such as in the case of 'dementia' that had advanced up to a point where he/she can be easily manipulated and usually within months of the elder is in need of being institutionalized and in need of special care, or when the elder is already institutionalized.

The once financially independent elder is now indigent, and left out to his luck, or to the mercy of caring relatives that lack the assets to properly provide medical attention or supervision to the once financially independent elder, thus subjecting the elder to a great deal of suffering as well as his/her family that means well, but lacks the resources to care for the elder.

When a person's health declines or when his or her ability to think begins to fade, all too often someone comes along to take advantage of the situation.

In many cases the courts could play a critical role in protecting the current victim or other victims from abuse, compensating the victim for damages, enabling victims to recoup financial losses they've suffered, or punishing the perpetrator.
Nonetheless, there are numerous reasons why victims of elder abuse WILL NOT SEEK relief from abuse or compensation for damages.

A victim may not be able to pay for a lawyer's services because the victim has never had much money or because the victim's life savings were lost as a result of the exploitation that would be the subject of the lawsuit.

Slow pace of the Legal Process. -

-The slow pace, and customary delays of the legal process are particularly onerous to older persons in general, and to those who have been abused in particular.

The lack of knowledge about Elder Abuse amongst lawyers, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and judges, also has it's pronounced negative effects.

A Glimpse at How Society Views Older People - Ageism at it's Worst

I did some research graphics & older people and found this elder dressed up as a cowgirl , I don't know if it's part of a Marlboro commercial or someone's grandmother that they dressed up just for laughs. To me it demonstrates just how far we are willing to go as a society to have a good laugh at our elders expense.

by Ray Fernandez

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Moorpark man gets prison for abuse of 80-year-old mother

The Associated Press Article Launched: 03/14/2007

VENTURA, Calif.- A 52-year-old man was sentenced to nine years in prison for abusing his 80-year-old mother, who was left on her bedroom floor and died two years ago.

Prosecutor Cynthia Nguyen said it was one of the worst cases of elder abuse prosecuted in Ventura County.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Elder Abuse A Painful Secret

Henry, a 75-year-old widower, had been living alone for the past 20 years. When he started exhibiting signs of dementia, his daughter Pam, 32, suggested he move in with her. Perhaps she was genuinely concerned that he needed help with daily living, but as she later admitted, she also saw an opportunity to greatly improve her standard of living.

Pam coerced her father into granting her power-of-attorney and quickly took advantage of the situation. During the following two weeks, she withdrew $500 each day out of his checking account—the maximum allowed using an ATM card—soon bringing the account balance to zero. She bought jewelry, designer clothing and electronic entertainment equipment, justifying what she did by telling herself that this money would eventually be hers by inheritance anyway. Besides, Dad had been a lot of trouble in recent years, so she deserved the money.

Pam knew she was putting her wants over her father’s needs, but she also knew she could get away with it. She did have power-of-attorney, and she could do what she wanted with his money as long as no one else found out about it. She made sure that the few relatives who called once in a while to ask about her father didn’t get to talk to him and that he didn’t get their phone messages.

Rather than pay for the care Henry needed, Pam came up with her own solution. She tied her father onto the toilet and kept him there for several days at a time, to the point that he developed sores on his buttocks and became so dehydrated and sick that he was dying. Finally Pam felt she had no choice but to take her father to the hospital.

Although the names were changed by the social worker who related this appalling account, Henry and Pam’s story is very real. And it is just one example of a disturbing reality in today’s society—a growing problem that occurs daily in almost every community on the planet.

Perhaps an even bigger factor is that the problem traditionally has been hidden from public view...In fact, many experts agree that the reported number of cases represents only the tip of the iceberg.

More often than not, the perpetrator of the abuse is a family member, which is why the majority of cases go unreported.According to a 1998 National Elder Abuse Incidence Study funded by the Administration on Aging, in 90 percent of known cases of elder abuse and neglect, the perpetrators were family members.

“If you don’t see the older population as valuable, viable and worthy, then the next step is that you start to show that disrespect,” says Lee Stones, a gerontologist.


What can we do as a society to curb the problem of elder abuse? The first step is education. “We need to get to the point where everybody knows what elder abuse is and is aware that it exists,” Podnieks states. “The more we talk about it, the more real it becomes and the more people are shocked by it, and then the more committed we as a society are going to be to doing something about it,” she says.

Eliminating elder abuse will take a commitment on the part of people everywhere....

“We need to be each other’s keeper,” she urges. “Elder abuse is not a private matter... Be willing to get involved. After all, that could be any one of us just a few years down the road.”

Until authorities start to treat elder financial abuse as a criminal matter as opposed to a 'civil matter' expect Elder Abuse Cases to skyrocket as our population gets older.

Bold lettering and picture mine for emphasis...abridged

Who Am I Now That I’m Old?

“Apparently, in the eyes of the culture, as is believed about elders in general, retirement causes stupidity and hence, retirees couldn’t possibly have anything of interest to say, let alone contribute to society.” Ronni Bennet

I’ve become more interested in who I am now that, according to the Social Security Administration, I’m officially retired and am not mainly identified by how I make a living.
We all wear many labels, the importance of which ebb and flow as we go through life: son or daughter, brother, sister, student, mother, father, citizen, worker, consumer, caregiver, grandparent and, eventually, retired.

In the middle years we mostly identify ourselves by our professions.
After all, “What do you do?” is one of the first questions we ask of one another when we meet and it mostly suffices to explain ourselves.

Closer to what I am feeling are Carl Jung’s seven tasks of aging - most particularly, right now, the fifth which is the need to find “a new rooting in the self” bringing together opposites in “the most complete expression of our wholeness.”

"Good topic, Ronni.Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) - who was probably the most famous Indian sage of all time, used to recommend the spiritual practice of 'self-enquiry'. Which means repeatedly asking oneself the question "Who Am I?" On and on, every day, asking the question and answering it.It's like taking the ego out for a strenuous walk and forcing it to walk and walk and walk till it finally falls down exhausted and we become free of the need to 'be' anyone. Instead, we can simply 'be'. "Marian Van Eyk McCain

article abridged ... read it all here >>

Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Medicaid Planning Elder Abuse?

According to the article: "We are being reminded constantly that the older generation is the fastest growing section of the U.S. population. As prosecutors, we need to take heed of the various statistics so that we can prepare now to meet the challenges of responding to the needs of a graying society. WITHIN FIVE YEARS, THE TERM ELDER ABUSE WILL BE AS FAMILIAR AS SPOUSAL ABUSE AND CHILD ABUSE ARE NOW."

That is startling in itself, but look what Mr. Greenwood lists among his examples of financial abuse of the elderly:

  • "Theft of assets such as savings, stocks, or real property by use of a power of attorney or quitclaim deed." and

  • "Exchanging the senior's assets in return for a false promise of 'life time care.'"

Florida attorneys Nicola Boone and Scott Solkoff recommended the 'Personal Care Contract,' a legal device whereby adult children promise to take care of an ailing parent in exchange for an early inheritance of his or her life's savings. When and if nursing home care becomes necessary, Medicaid eligibility is obviously no problem because the parent is now indigent. We questioned the ethics of this technique.

If an elder law attorney charges $275 an hour to impoverish an ailing senior artificially it elder abuse?

Is a well-to-do, but cognitively impaired, senior victimized by being placed in a welfare home when he or she could have afforded home care or assisted living ....

These are questions we would like to hear advocates of Medicaid estate planning answer.

Article abridged and edited for brevity the article in its entirety archived here >>

Texas Statutes

The following links are for the benefit of our friends in Texas who have also been victimized and whose life have forever been scarred by the spectre of Elder Abuse.

Texas Statutes

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blogger Of the Week -

In an effort to get some respite from the barrage of elder abuse cases, we will continue to bring stories for their cultural and entertainment value during the weekend.

This weekend we go from the 'oldest to the youngest', and we are proud to feature Andrea Casique a four year old blogger. "Congratulations Andrea, and thank you for sharing your little corner of the world with us!"

To translate her blog, please copy the address into the Google language tools here >>

Finding Florida: Let There Be Mermaids

This album is powered by BubbleShare - Add to my blog

Do Mermaids really exists? In a place in florida called Weechi Wachi they do!

WEEKI WACHEE – In a quiet little corner of a busy part of the world are mermaids. As if in a fairytale, people come from near and far to watch them swim – they come today as they did nearly 50 years ago
Photos By Mitch Traphagen

Weeki Wachee Springs is located west of Brooksville at 6131 Commercial Way – just off the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and State Road 50. For more information visit

Robot suits for the Disabled - Elderly

Japanese companies are preparing to lauch a robot suit which helps the disabled or aged to walk. This file photo shows a university student demonstrating a prototype.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Vulnerable Adults Focus of Measure

By KATHIE DURBIN Columbian staff writer

House approves bill expanding protection for elderly, disabled

OLYMPIA -Washington- Elderly and disabled adults would win new protections from abuse and exploitation under a bill that passed the House 97-0 Wednesday, with one member excused.
House Bill 1008, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, amends the 1999 Vulnerable Adult Protection Act to make it easier to file protective orders when vulnerable adults are unable to fend for themselves.

"When a person's health declines or when his or her ability to think begins to fade, all too often someone comes along to take advantage of the situation," Moeller said. "This will protect our most vulnerable citizens."

Dimitrov, who has been handling elder-abuse cases for 10 years, told the judiciary committee that at least 90 percent of her cases involve family members stealing from elderly relatives.

Kathie Durbin covers state government. Reach her at 360-586-2437 or e-mail

Elder-Abuse Case Brought To Trial

POSTED: 10:33 am EST March 8, 2007 AP

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- New Hampshire's new elder-abuse unit has brought its first case to trial...

Assistant Attorney General Tracy Culberson of the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit is prosecuting the case in Manchester District Court. The elder-abuse unit was established last year as part of an ongoing effort to protect vulnerable seniors.

Culberson, a former police officer and Hillsboro County prosecutor, won the unit's first conviction in December when a Goffstown woman pleaded guilty to keeping her 91-year-old mother from receiving medical care that might have saved her life.

The woman, Danna Folden, was the first person convicted under a 2002 statute that makes it a felony to abuse, neglect or exploit an incapacitated adult.
"The more you do these cases, the more people speak up," he said, adding that just one in 14 instances of elder abuse are reported.

abridged entire story archived here >>

The Role of Courts in Elder Abuse Cases

Our client, an older man, deeded his house to his late wife’s caregiver in return for her promise to care for him until his death. Within two weeks of the transaction, the caregiver threw him out of the house.

While this sort of thing did happen all too often in Florida (and elsewhere), there was almost no case law. After many hours, I did find one case holding that in a situation such as our client had experienced, the caregiver would be presumed to have acted fraudulently. The caregiver did not overcome that presumption, and our client regained the title to his home.

In the case discussed above, the judge simply issued an order voiding the deed that our client had given to the caregiver and returned ownership of the house to him.

The more interesting and important reason for the dearth of case law on elder abuse is that most incidents of elder abuse are never brought to the judicial system in the first place.

In many cases, the courts could play a critical role in protecting the current victim or other victims from abuse, compensating the victim for damages, enabling victims to recoup financial losses they've suffered, or punishing the perpetrator. Nonetheless, there are numerous reasons why victims of elder abuse do not seek relief from abuse or compensation for damages resulting from abuse through the civil justice system or cooperate with law enforcement officers and prosecutors who could bring criminal charges against the abusers.

Many of these cases may not be financially viable for the victim or the lawyer. A victim may not be able to pay for a lawyer's services because the victim has never had much money or because the victim's life savings were lost as a result of the exploitation that would be the subject of the lawsuit.

Slow pace of the legal process. The slow pace and customary delays of the legal process are particularly onerous to older persons in general and to those who have been abused in particular.

Lack of sensitivity. Lack of knowledge about and sensitivity to elder abuse victims among private lawyers and prosecutors, law enforcement officers, court personnel, and judges can also inhibit victims from bringing their cases to the judicial system. (Stiegel, 1995)

Civil or equitable remedies such as restitution, constructive trusts, and compensatory damages may be sought from a perpetrator of elder abuse in order to compensate the victim or “make the victim whole.” These remedies would be obtained through lawsuits for assault and battery, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, false imprisonment, fraud, or negligence. There are also other traditional civil actions such as petitions for a guardian or conservator, or for a divorce or legal separation that may be used to prevent further abuse.

Even if a victim is able to overcome the reluctance to take legal action against the perpetrator, these types of legal actions raise the limitations and problems discussed previously...the slow pace of the judicial system, and the lack of knowledge about elder abuse among lawyers, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and judges.

by Lori A. Stiegel, J.D. who specializes in elder abuse issues along with numerous legal references and case histories, story condensed for brevity entire story archived here >>

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Clara Update & Another Case of Elder Financial Abuse - Right Under Our Noses

- Update on Clara G. Fernandez a victim of elder abuse March 7, 2007 10pm E.S.T. -

Clara is now at the 'Convalescent Center' where she is still recovering with the support of her family. Clara continues asking when she can come home. According to the nurses and doctors Clara will able to realize her wishes and be able to come home soon.

Clara who has been diagnosed with 'Post Stress Syndrome' and has been traumatized by her experience with Elder Abuse, on March 5, 2007 an M.R.I. scan she was to recieve at the hospital, had to be rescheduled to when her care-givers would be present, because she refused to take off her jewelry as required for the test, she also has a hard time taking medicine from male nurses, maybe, and understandably so because she was overdosed with sedatives before.

Clara at times talks of being upset and but we avoid talking about the past, she often thinks her deceased husband Dr. A. J. Fernandez is at home waiting for her.

My wife, Judy and I go to the 'Convalescent Center' at least twice a day, and we have gotten to know many of the people there, it especially breaks my heart when I met another family whose elder relative, that is clearly infirmed, was financially abused and they are afraid that the once financially independent elder will wind up destitute and dependent on Government Services now that assets have been transferred out of the infirm elders name.

They have not received any help from the local authorities, and are afraid to go the 'legal route' because they don't have thousands of dollars to spend on legal bills.. and the person that has taken over the estate, a distant relative from out of town, who controls the elders substantial assets , may now have the financial power to make their lives impossible and is quite intimidating to the family.

It is a sad state of affairs for our elders, our state, and our country when a ' legal ransom' of considerable amount must be borne by the families of elders that have been abused in order to get justice, and to have assets returned to the elders who spent a lifetime saving for their old age and will probably need every dollar to live out their lives, only to have their nest egg taken away from them, just because no one is watching or just because they can.

"About 95 percent of the cases Dimitrov sees involve family members who illegally use power of attorney and quitclaim deeds to plunder the assets of vulnerable elderly relatives, she said. The formerly financially secure victims are often left penniless and reliant on state-provided services, she said." Sara Flohr - Trust Officer.

Elder Abuse Warning Signs
  • Power of Attorney given or recent changes of will when the person is incapable of making such decision.

  • Abrupt changes in Real Estate Deeds or other Financial Documents.

  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elders affairs and possessions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


WEST PALM BEACH -- Lawsuits accusing the Department of Children and Families of failing to do its job are rising to "epidemic proportions" and overloading South Florida courts, according to the chief appeals court judge.

Chief Judge Mark Polen, who heads the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, wrote in an opinion released Wednesday that his court receives complaints about DCF on a "startlingly regular basis."

More parents are asking the appeals court to give back their children,
saying DCF did not do anything to help them keep their families together as required by law, he wrote.

To Polen, the cases show a pattern of "pervasive and defective performance" by the state.

The DCF caseworker's failure to monitor P. O.'s progress violates Florida law, which requires DCF to make a reasonable attempt to keep families together, the judges wrote.

By Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

*Re print of article published on March 6, 2003