Friday, November 30, 2007

List of Nations Worst Nursing Homes To be Released

List Released in Response to Aging Committee Hearing and Impending Legislation

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) commended the public disclosure of a list of the 54 worst nursing homes in the nation as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The facilities named are enrolled in the agency’s “Special Focus Facility” Program, having exhibited a history of providing poor care to residents based primarily on the results of federally financed state inspections. Kerry Weems, Acting Administrator for CMS, announced that the federal government would be releasing the list at an Aging Committee hearing earlier this month in response to a forthcoming nursing home bill crafted jointly by Senator Kohl and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Disclosing the program participants, considered to be among the most troubled nursing homes in the country, is included in the bill that will be introduced in coming weeks.

Associated Press story on release of the SFF list:

Press Release by : Ashley GlacelPress SecretarySpecial Committee on AgingSenator Herb Kohl, ChairPh: (202) 224-5364 Cell: (202) 340-3299

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Elders In Florida, May God Protect You.-

Lauren Ritchie November 28, 2007 Marion County.-Florida USA

The frail old woman lying on the bed weighed about 78 pounds. Her bony knees stuck out like doorknobs and skin dripped from her skeletal frame. Jeanne Vasa's landlord snapped a picture of her, capturing for posterity the vacant look beneath her frizzled, thin gray hair.Grainy photographs of the rest of the house where she lived show a place filthy and unfit for human beings.

The bathtub was filled with black trash bags, topped by dog excrement. Another bag sat in the sink. The bathroom was ripped apart -- pieces of drywall were scattered across the floor, and the walls were torn and moldy. Trash was strewn everywhere.

Two weeks after Warmuth saw her, Vasa was dead. But that didn't become known until the end of September, when a couple walking along North Austin Merritt Road near Okahumpka found her torso in a garbage bag, her legs chewed off by wild animals.

This is revolting. This is America. This does not have to happen here.

How Vasa died is undetermined. The 5th Circuit Medical Examiner's Office is waiting for reports analyzing her blood to return from a laboratory. Already, however, Marion County detectives have said they don't suspect foul play.

But these are the same people who also didn't suspect abuse.

An elder-abuse expert from California who viewed the pictures and listened to the 911 tape from the landlord was stunned that the deputy failed to help Vasa.
"Clearly, the deputy didn't have training either. Anyone can tell from the photos that she's not being cared for," Greenwood said.

the writer goes on say "But Marion sheriff's officials are so busy defending their deputy's failure that their perspective on this case has become warped. With such a taint, they can no longer clearly evaluate whether a crime was committed and someone should be charged."

Lauren : When my mother Clara G. Fernandez and her friends got together after the horrific case of elder abuse and attempted to file, the Monroe County Deputies discredited her report because her hand was "shaking" when she signed it, furthermore she did not show any obvious signs of physical abuse. Never mind the fact that she was in a wheelchair as a result of her injuries (small details) however the abusers had held Clara in strict isolation for 12 months, giving her "obvious signs of physical abuse", time to heal.

Thank you for bringing up to the public's attention in Central Florida , something we have been doing for over three (3) years. Elder abuse is not considered a serious crime, drug victimless crimes often carry a heavier penalty and deputies are not trained to deal with elder abuse and consider it a "Civilly" matter.

"Why can Marion sheriff's officials not admit, in the face of photographic evidence, that they erred?." In the face of overwhelming evidence I have asked myself the same question over an over about The Monroe County Sheriffs and the DCF that handled our families pleas for help when my mother was abducted "Before" she was injured.

As far as the forensic report, I would not place too much stock on that either, my father Dr. A.J. Fernandez's death three days after his wife was returned to him, was never investigated.
according to Catherine C. McNamee a Social Science Analyst at the National Institute of Justice in Attitudes Hinder Investigations ;

"Researchers also identified a propensity for medical examiners and coroners to
exhibit ageism—a belief that focusing on nursing home deaths was “a waste of
their time and resources…because of the poor health status of most nursing home
residents… [who] would die anyway.”[8] These beliefs are major impediments to improvements in the forensic identification of elder deaths".

Lauren Ritchie, Welcome to the dark under world of elder and elder financial abuse the plague of the 21 century, it's just too bad that people have to wait until tragedy strikes before they realize that protecting our elders is Everybody's Business.

Related Posts:

Letters to Editor (Help) in Maine

I (and my two sisters) am going through a very similar situation to what was described by Maureen McCormick on the Dr. Phil show. My brother-in-law (who has a criminal history) and sister have isolated my mother and have brain washed her into believing that we are all terrible people. We started seeing signs of this problem as far back as 2003 just after my father died, but didn't understand how insidious it had become until late 2005. My mother now has a protective order against all 3 of us even though no one has ever done anything other than to offer her support (shit hit the fan when we offered to stay with her in the house to help take care of her).

My sisters and I have been trying every possible avenue to correct the situation. We contacted elder abuse in 2003 and they investigated but stopped because they said our mother was "competent". In 2005 we got them to investigate again, this time it was referred to the AG's office. The detective that investigated again said she was "competent", but acknowledged that she was what they classified as a "willing victim". I have white papers written by DHS in the state of Maine that specifically states that part of the pathology of the victim is to protect the abuser - especially if it is a family member. If they know this, then why can't they make laws to deal with it?

In total frustration we planted an eavesdropping device in her home, and again offered to stay with her to take care of her. As soon as we left the house my brother-in-law and sister came to do damage control. What we heard on this illegal recording was nothing less than horrific. We know for fact that she is being coerced and manipulated with threats of withdrawal of support - we heard our brother-in-law spin wild stories about things we never did to her. Etc. etc. None of this is admissible in court.

In desperation we turned to civil court to try and expose the truth to the authorities. Our attorney said that if we got good evidence from the interrogatories, testimony, and depositions we might be able to share the information with the AG's office. That turned out to be a lot more difficult than we expected. We spent more than 20,000 dollars trying to go this route and when we couldn't continue to afford the bill, our attorney bailed leaving us to settle the civil case with no representation. I have a box of paper that contains complete evidence of at least one actionable swindle that the AG's office could use but they are afraid of violating my mother's civil liberties.

My last hope was to get the Governor of the state of Maine involved by having them assess the materials and determine if an exception can be made to hand it to the AG's office. The governor does not want to be involved, and referred it back to DHS who told me again that they could do nothing.

My fight isn't over. I plan to make this story *very* public, but obviously have to protect myself from being sued. I've purchased 3 domain names for a web site of my own. "TheElderAbuseState" (.org .com and .net). It is my intension to bring notoriety to the state of Maine by redefining it from "The Pine Tree State". The web content would be largely satirical, and be an advertisement to come to Maine where elder abuse is practically legal! Complete with instructions on how to take advantage of the elderly. My hope is to embarrass the politicians as much as possible - it is their shame that they know this problem exists and don't give a crap because, as every one knows, this problem has very little visibility, So why should they care? It's not a political liablility for them - yet. I will cross link to your site (if you wish) when this is up and running - hope you will do the same for me.

It would be very helpful to me if you could share any resources at your disposal that could be useful in making this problem more visible. No one is going to care if I camp on the governors door step myself, but if someone with celebrity joined the fight the press would take notice. If you have any contact info for Maureen McCormick, I would very much appreciate it if you could pass it along. I promise not bug her, and will not pass her info to anyone else. I do know her pain is a real as mine, and that if more people came forward to address this growing problem we could get our legislators to do something about it.

My contact info is: (Held confidential)

Thank you for any help you able to provide.


"come to Maine where elder abuse is practically legal! Complete with instructions on how to take advantage of the elderly"

Dear Joe: thanks for writing E.A. From the pace of the letters coming in I think that elder abuse is legal in all 50 states with few exceptions! Our ranks are swelling at a pace that is hard for me to keep up with our subscription rate, and return an individualized letter to every plea for help. every letter like yours , and no I don't have McCormick's contact information , the only question I have, is How many deaths will it take?

There is a transfer of wealth going on, but I like many others are questioning the methodology under which it is taking place! See.-

Elders Financial Abuse - Largest Transfer of Nation's Wealth -

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


November 28 ◊ 8:30 AM Cannon H.O.B. Room 121 Congress, U.S. Capitol

Calling for Judicial & Legal Reform


1. Judiciary's New Rules for Judges: Are Conflicts of Interest Now Okay?
2. Congressional Oversight of the Courts
Proposed Legislation H.R. 785 & S. 781 - An Inspector General for the Courts?
Defining "Good Behavior" – Judges Appointments are Not for Life?
3. Should There Be An Independent Judiciary: Is Independence a Myth?
4. Judicial Transparency: Is Court Secrecy American?
5. Regulation of Lawyers & the First Amendment
6. Lawyer Whistleblowers: Should Lawyers Inform the Public of Misconduct?
7. Psychological Considerations
8. Overview of Needs for Reform
Constitutional Law Professor Akhil Reed Amar (Yale)
Moderator/Attorney/Radio Host Lisa Macci (Florida)
Attorney Jonathan Moseley, Legal Affairs Council (Virginia)
Author/Attorney Caroline Douglas (New Mexico)
Activist/Attorney Paul Lehto (Washington)
Activist/Attorney Mark A. Adams JD/MBA (Florida)
Former U.S. Marshal/Activist Matthew Fogg (Washington DC)
Psychologist Diane Perlman (Washington DC)
Kim Lurie JD Alliance to Restore Integrity in Divorce
Constitutional Lawyer Paula Werme (New Hampshire)
Upon request and with confirmation, speakers may be available for interviews from 7:30 to 8:15 AM on 11/28.
8:30 Introductory Remarks
8:45 Remarks by Members of Congress, their Staff, and/or Presenters
9:15 Presentation on the Independence of the Judiciary by Professor Akhil Reed Amar
9:45 Overview of Needs for Reform – Interviews with Attorneys and Activists
9:45 Interview of Mark Adams on Busby v. Bilbray, Curtis v. Feeney, Russell v. Brown-Waite, and Linn v. Media General
10:45 Caroline Douglas Interviews of Family Law Reform Advocates 11:45 Break for Lunch
1:00 Psychological Considerations – Mark Adams interviews Dr. Diane Perlman
2:00 Jonathan Moseley discusses the Current Regulatory Scheme, Proposed Rules and Legislation, Constitutional Considerations, and Suggestions for Reforms with Judicial Reform Advocates
4:00 Closing Remarks by Mark A. Adams JD/MBA
Please note that most sessions will be conducted in an interview format and that times may vary.

CONTACT: Jon Moseley, Esq. (703) 850-3733 (cell)
Caroline Douglas, Esq. (505) 603-5100 (cell)
Mark A. Adams, Esq. JD/MBA (813) 495-5079 (cell)

A Country Named Sue

*If America stopped its production of lawyers tomorrow, it might peg along for decades before the number practicing per capita fell to the levels of other leading countries. (The U.S. has 281 lawyers per 100,000 residents; Germany 111; Britain 82; and Japan 11.


There are two points of view about civil litigation, one fantastic and one realistic.

The fantastic view, put out by the press offices of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the Consumers' Union, is that litigation is a method by which society rights wrongs and metes out justice, and that unless you've done something wrong, you needn't worry about getting sued.

The realistic view is that of Jerome K. Jerome, the turn-of-the-century British humorist (Three Men in a Boat):

"If a man stopped me in the street, and demanded of me my watch," observed Jerome, "I should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to protect it.

"If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had got off cheaply."

Latins Traditionally Prefer to take Care of Their Own

"Latinos traditionally prefer to care for their older loved ones at home", says Conchy Bretos, a Miami-based housing consultant.

But that's a challenge for low-income families who can't afford extra help for a frail elder. Because Medicaid pays only for nursing home care, not for every day assistance at home, many seniors in public housing are forced out of their homes prematurely.

"Most people need just a little help with dressing, meal preparation, bathing, and supervislon,"Bretos says." They don't need full-time doctors and nurses."

Bretos, formerly Florida's secretary for Aging and Adult Services, came up with an innovative idea: Get exemptions from Medicaid to bring assisted-living services to public housing.

Now 40 public housing projects in 18 states help people like Luisa Montoto Quinones, 95, who can get three meals a day, housekeeping, a nurse round the clock—plus bingo and arts and crafts.

In 2006 Bretos's Eldercare Solution won her the $100.000 Purpose Prize, awarded by Civic Ventures, a San Francisco Think Tank, to social entre-preneurs age 60-plus.

For more information, contact the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-7116 or go to ElderCare.Gov

by Elizabeth Pope an article on AARP Segunda Juventud

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life Expectancy Has Shot up by 178% in a Century

Renuka Bisht, Hindustan Times Email Author

When he heard that Britain's Queen Mother had died at 101, the News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch is reported to have responded, "An early death!" The diet and exercise conscious septuagenarian plans to be on the topside of the experts who say that the average Australian will live to be 100 by 2050.

Thanks to a complex web of modern innovations in clean water and sanitation, biomedical advances against infectious and parasitic diseases, and improved diets, the developed world has already seen its life expectancy rise by 50 per cent in the last century, exceeding 75 years today. In India, the life expectancy of 64 years may lag behind that of the developed countries but still represents a spectacular 178 per cent jump since 1901 when it was only 23 years.

A position paper on the scientific goals for an ageing world presented at the 2007 conference on healthy living and longevity explains that people who remain physically and mentally functional beyond 100 prove that genes associated with the extension of healthy life already exist in the human genome. If you combine this with the recently found ability to reverse cellular ageing in the laboratory and the promise of stem cells to repair or replace damaged organs, it seems that science’s ability to extend youthful vigour through an extended lifespan is now a plausible goal. Dozens of people have already interred themselves in cryonic chambers, in the hope that technologies of the future will revive them to health.

And new scientific breakthroughs are proliferating. Just last month, the Nature Genetics journal reported the identification of naturally occurring processes allowing many genes to both slow ageing and protect against cancer in animal experiments. Cancer, significantly, is 100 times more likely to attack people at the age of 65 rather than 35

Abridged =>>

Stem Cell Research Breakthrough

Scientists believe stem cells could help researchers cure many diseases, everything from Diabetes to Parkinson's Disease, and now they have a way to do it without all the controversy of using embryonic stem cells.

Researchers at UW-Madison and Kyoto University in Japan were able to produce stem cells by using four genes and a tiny piece of human skin. Scientists say the technology is relatively simple, and eliminates the ethical debate with embryonic stem cell research. "It is a form of research that allows us to obtain the kinds of cells we need without having to use the intermediate step of working with a human embryo," says Alta Charo, UW-Madison Bio-Law Professor.

President Bush vetoed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and is praising this new discovery. And while researchers say this is a big discovery, they say they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

Michael J Fox Speaks out on stem cell research =>>

Monday, November 26, 2007

Elder Abuse: Important Warning Signs to Keep Our Seniors Safe

SAVANNAH, GA--Seniors are the fastest growing group in America and they have the most wealth. Put those two together and you have what some think are easy targets.

In Chatham County and across the nation, police are investigating cases of caregivers and family members taking advantage of elderly people, wiping out their life savings.
A 76-year-old Savannah woman has been through one of the worst years in her life. She does not want to be identified, we'll call her Marie.

She nearly lost everything. "I'd probably be out on the street for one thing and I know my bank account would be zero," said Marie.

Since last December a woman Marie trusted and hired to take care of her, took advantage of her financially. She ran up the grocery bills, guilted Marie into letting her use her credit card and conned Marie into buying her a new car.

Every time she'd ask for money, she'd remind Marie of the important care she was providing. Marie said she felt victimized. "I equaled it kind of like I was being raped."

Chatham County prosecutor Meg Heap is now fighting for justice for Marie and dozens of other elderly victims. "This is happening more and more and it's on the rise," said Heap.

In most cases the abusers are caregivers and family members.

Heap said, "One of the saddest ones I had is the niece, the caregiver, comes in and takes everything, takes the money out of the checking account, savings account, the trust fund, takes her property and this was all things this woman was going to leave her. She said you can have it all when I die, but she didn't want to wait. That's want she said, I don't want to wait any longer."

Often the elderly victims don't come forward.

"The elderly person loves this person or cares for them so they are not inclined to report it and if they do they are very reluctant to prosecute them, but their life savings is going down the tube," said Heap, adding many seniors are just too embarrassed.

She holds meetings with seniors all the time, trying to get the word out about elder abuse. She said everyone needs to be aware of the warning signs:

The elderly person becomes isolated--someone is always there, screening calls and visitors.

Belongings or property are missing.

Unpaid utility bills or rent.
Changes in bank account activity like large withdrawals or frequent money transfers between banks.
Changes in the will, adding the caregiver as a beneficiary.
Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents.

"Statistics show the exploitation increases in terms of taking more money and it can turn violent," said Heap. "That's what really scares me for these elderly people."

Heap has seen it happen time and time again. In a recent case the abuser was the woman's grandson.

"And the last time when she refused to give him money he choked her and knocked her down and made her take him to the bank to the ATM machine and she withdrew the money," said Heap. "We charged him with robbery and he's in prison now."

Marie's caregiver never got violent. She did ultimately lose about $30,000. Marie said she's glad she finally went to the police when she did.

"I learned later there was a good possibility she had done this to someone previously," said Marie. "I also thought if she had done this to me and somebody else, she's not going to change previous behavior I don't think."

For more information, visit the National Center for Elder Abuse.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter,

Nursing Home Workers Underpaid Leads to High Incidents of Elder Abuse

Rick Patterson Firm: Owen, Patterson & Owen

It is believed that 1 in 20 of our elderly are victims of nursing home abuse, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse. In fact as many as 57% of nursing aids have admitted witnessing abuse. Some have even participated in the abuse. The report sites problems in the industry such as chronic understaffing and inadequate pay for workers.

I have witnessed firsthand the overtime and harsh conditions that many nursing home care workers are subject to , the long hours they put in and do not get paid for it, this has got to be one of the most stressful,underpaid and under appreciated jobs, these problems are due to become an epidemic with the coming wave of baby boomers. Unfortunately for the next wave of Nursing Home Residents the many warnings by experts are falling by the wayside , we don't feel enough is been done to head off this potential catastrophic situation

Financial Abuse Cited As Most Common Form of Elder Abuse

This type of abuse can include intimidation of older people to hand over property, the stealing of money and the altering of wills.

He cited the allegation that one elderly woman handed over her property to her relative on the basis that he would build a granny flat for her, but this did not materialise and she was placed in a residential home. She had to highlight her case to the authorities.

Prof O’Neill said that the authorities were very successful in dealing with these incidences once they were alerted, and contended that “sometimes even the whiff of officialdom” can frighten relatives into stopping financial abuse.

He was addressing the recent ICGP Annual Winter Meeting in Dublin.

“The key challenge for elder abuse is to see it as a whole government, whole society issue, not just health and social care. That is vitally important.

At the moment we want the Department of Finance and the Department of Education to be part of the process. While we are very grateful to the Department of Health for hosting the group, we have to have the Department of Finance involved, as financial abuse is probably the most substantive form of abuse in the elderly community,” Prof O’Neill told IMN.

Priscilla Lynch

Clara's Enjoys some Quality Time with Family in The Dominican Republic

BubbleShare: Share photos - Print Christmas Coloring Pages.

By L.A.Borguss Revised 11-26-07

Life on this island of Dominican Republic is one of stressless existence.
Most of the medical and dental facilities are readily available.
The sheer beauty of the Island's people is the highlight of my vacation with Clara and Judy's family.

Each and every day, Judy's family members surround Clara with such love and attention. I and my husband Erich are very pleased with the accommodations that were made for Clara and we both have enjoyed the family's hospitality and meals at the family dinner table.

There is love and respect for each other in Judy's family, each family member does his or her part to ensure that Clara is comfortable. The younger children entertain Clara and the older children speak to her about their work and aspirations.

This is one of the most highly functional,united and loving family I have ever known The respect and love that is woven into the fabric of the lives of the people of this island paradise is to be commended and envied.

Traditional family values and their Christain Faith is a very important part of the lives of the people of this island nation, it is quite impressive to see the way that the children "mind their manners" and "show their elders respect and appreciation".

In this slide show, you will see myself and my husband Erich in Judy's family home and along side of us and Clara, you will see Ray and Judy, Judy's sister Juana, Judy's mother and father, Judy's nephew Leo and several other cousins and nephews.

This is what you would see every day while you were here, as we did. There is never a dull moment with all of the singing and dancing and celebrating of life on this island and in this family's home. Clara needed to come here and laugh and be happy once again!

Clara is safe and in more than capable hands and she is quite happy on her stay in the Dominican Republic, and we are pleased to say.

Proyect Nursing Home Research Pto Plata D.R.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Delicious Christmas Recipes.

On Thanksgiving Day we asked our readers to visit the nearest Nursing Home and visit with the elders, bring some trinkets and spend some quality time with them, you will go away richer for the experience, naturally we would not ask our readers to do anything that we would not be willing to do ourselves.

So today we went on a mission we went to the flea markets, collected clothes from donors and purchased trinkets, stuffed animals for the girls and the men wanted domincan cigars, so we purchased a few cigars for the men.

On the way shopping we plan to stop at a restaurant for lunch, and stop and take some pictures to share with our readers, We plan on travelling by motorbike in Puerto Plata this makes it easier to get around cheaply quickly, effortlessly and makes exploring the countryside, mountains and rivers fun.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Today We Went to the Top!

By Ray Fernandez

Today we climbed to the top of the world or so it seemed. We only had to wait a few minutes for the cable car that was to take us up for a ten minute ride to the top of Isabel de Torres, a looming landmark in Puerto Plata that rises 2,640 feet above sea level in this tropical city of 130,000 people.

Once we reached the top of the mountain we enjoyed walking the sunken botanical gardens, this was such a majestic subtropical mountain reserve with a plethora of colorful birds, we all took turns imitating the bird calls with Laura coming in a close 2nd place behind Judy's brother Johann, who fooled even the native birds with his birdcalls.

We found the trail to the Indian Caves blocked by a fallen tree which I tried to raise, but ended up going around it.

The cooler climate was so refreshing that it seemed as if we could spend the entire day there.

At the summit of the mountain, the statue of Christ the Redeemer held his arms out as if to welcome us, it faces it's famous twin on Corcovado mountain 2,296 feet high in the Tijuaca Forest overlooking Rio De Janeiro.

At the end of the day it was "Last Call" for the cable car going down and it was time to make our way back down to earth! the steep decline and the breath taking ride back to the city was the perfect way to end our day!

We were all very pleased to know that this adventure is also handicap friendly so that the elderly can also enjoy this tropical treasure!!!

{"Please turn your speakers on and enjoy the soundtrack Muita Bobeira by Luciana Souza ~ Enjoy!!"}

Friday, November 23, 2007

On This day We Give Thanks

Today is the day set aside to thank God for what he has given us. It is a time to spend with family and to give thanks for all we are blessed with.

ElderAbuseHelp.Org extends warmest wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. We wish you good times and good health.

While you are enjoying this day please take time out to visit those elderly warehoused in our nursing homes, a lot of them do not have any relatives close by or have plain been forgotten a simple gift as a token or just a visit with your children will raise the children awareness of the important role elders played in our up bringing and will do wonder for the elders morale.

Please also pray also for those less fortunate and for the men and women of our Armed Forces whose sacrifices allow us to celebrate this day.

From Big Dog,Laurie B, Andrew,Ray and our extended Blogger Family

Happy Thanksgiving

One Day, Our Elders .............

BubbleShare: Share photos - Delicious Christmas Recipes.

By Ray Fernandez

Clara is enjoying her stay here in the Dominican Republic. It is only a 45 minute flight from Miami, but it seems light years from civilization. Clara is now far away from the threats of Elder Abuse, the endless DCF investigations (7) , the barrage of 18 page legal bills which was meant to intimidate and harass her family by cutting off of utilities, and the constant harassment by creditors of the once wealthy and independent elder.

Clara in the Dominican Republic is enjoying this wonderful island paradise , she remembers many things from her previous trips here. Time slows down and the days seems to last longer it is a phenomenon more pronounced the closer you get to the equator.

Things that were problematic before seem but trivial here amongst the people that love and adore her. It has been a real struggle, but we all have pitched in to make this trip for Clara possible.

Clara is very happy to spend most all of her time surrounded by Judy's extended family, and the beat of Caribbean music. She spends hours looking out of the front porch window and watches the children walking to school and watching a herd of cattle share the road with pedestrian or vehicles. Primitive and exotic, everything her homeland of Cuban used to be for her back in the day! Clara gets her exercise by limited walking and dancing.

Clara is also enjoying the Dominican cuisine very much and even putting on a few pounds, her stress level had dropped down considerably.

Ah! The wonders of being away from developed civilizations.

One day, soon there will be justice for Clara and A. J. Fernandez. One day our elder will not have to leave their homes when "they turn out the lights." One day our elders will not have to leave nursing homes with "maggots in their eyes."

One day elderly couples will not be separated just to take their wealth because we feel as a society that they have outlived their usefulness.

We pray that that day for Clara isn't too far way, otherwise it makes me wonder if everything we gained as a civilized society is not but a giant step backwards for mankind.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Purple Heart Veteran Leaves Nursing Home with Maggots In His Eyes


DELTONA -FLORIDA-USA - Anthony Vincent Digiannurio mailed an engagement ring to his future wife while in Germany after World War II, not knowing whether she would accept his marriage proposal, his daughter Laura Digiannurio said.

"My father was a character," Laura chuckled as she talked Friday about the man at the center of a nursing home neglect investigation unfolding in DeLand.

And he deserved to be treated with more dignity than what he received at University Center West nursing home in DeLand, she said.

At 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, the 82-year-old World War II veteran was taken to Florida Hospital DeLand by ambulance from the University Center West nursing home at 545 W. Euclid Ave., a DeLand police report states.

Anthony Digiannurio was admitted for respiratory problems but the hospital staff discovered the elderly man had maggots in one of his eyes, an infected breathing tube, a partially inserted catheter and bed sores on his left elbow.

Laura Digiannurio, 52, said her father's vital signs are improving and his breathing tube has been removed, but he is still unable to talk. On Friday afternoon, the elderly man opened his eyes for the first time since he was hospitalized, she said.

"He has gone through a lot," she said. "He had a fever and bedsores when he got to the hospital, and they found over nine maggots in his eye."

"I put all my confidence in (the nursing home), and then this happens?" Laura Digiannurio said.
At the nursing home, the elder Digiannurio fell and injured his head in May after a nurse left him to attend to another patient, the daughter said.

"Their service is very poor," Laura Digiannurio said. "One day I was there and they brought him a cold, small crusted sandwich for dinner. It was disgusting."

Sitting at her house Friday, Laura Digiannurio laid out her father's Purple Heart certificate and his honorable discharge papers, recalling stories her dad used to tell her.

"He used to talk about how he used to shoot it out with the Germans," he said. "He came (home) with frostbite scars on his feet, and he still had problems with his feet."

In July 1988, Anthony Digiannurio was awarded the Purple Heart for being in the European Theatre of Operation on Sept. 8, 1945. He was honorably discharged from the Army in April 1946.

The World War II veteran is also an author, a poet and a painter. He wrote nine books, Laura Digiannurio said, and one of his books, published in 2001, is listed on a Web site selling rare books. It's about the son of an immigrant raising his family in traditional ways with his two sons following his example when his daughter defies him by marrying an alcoholic outside their race.
In his living room at the Deltona home sits a trophy he was awarded in 2004 for his poetry.

"He kept himself busy," Laura Digiannurio said, adding when she last spoke with her father Nov. 4, he was talking about his paintings.

When he recovers, the daughter hopes to place her father in a nursing home for veterans in Gainesville, she said.

Abridged for E.A. =>>

Elder's Electricity Cut off After Being Left Alone by Her Children

Charlie Fidelman, Gazette Health Montreal , Canada November 20

It was the building's janitor who found the elderly tenant in difficulty after her electricity was cut for non-payment.

Health officials later determined the woman was suffering from dementia, as well as being malnourished and dehydrated; food left for her consumption had rotted on the counter.

"The adult child supposedly taking care of her had left her alone for days on end," said Francine Cytrynbaum, a consultant with the Quebec Elder Abuse Consultation Centre, based at the Centre de sante et de services sociaux Cavendish in Notre Dame de Grace.

It is a major health issue when an elderly person has no money for food or medication because someone in charge of their finances has depleted their bank account, Cytrynbaum told a public health conference in Montreal on Tuesday.

Mistreatment of the elderly includes flagrant abuse of finances, aggression, violence, rape and neglect. Abuse also includes use of diapers in long-term care centres for seniors who do not need them, baths given once a week and meals served cold.

With the population aging, gaps in the care of vulnerable seniors are expected to widen, health officials warned.

According to a recent study, abuse victims have a much higher mortality rate than those who are not maltreated, Cytrynbaum said.

"It's difficult to look at the impact because it's an under-reported problem," she said. "Sometimes, those living with abuse are not physically or mentally in a position to come forward."

Or they are terrified of being abandoned by kin or fearful of revenge at the hands of a caregiver, she added.

Isabelle Merizzi, press aide to Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard, said the government has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy concerning mistreatment of seniors in the province's 38,000 long-term care centres.

Also, Quebec's privately run seniors residences will have to be certified within two years, and then subject to regular inspections, she added.Abuse cases are not isolated incidents, said Dr. Denise Gagne, a consultant to the Quebec Health Department.

According to surveys, mistreatment is widespread in some public and private long-term facilities, group homes and seniors' own homes, said Gagne, a Quebec City doctor specializing in seniors and community medicine.

The problem will increase sharply as more private homes open in response to growing demand because of a shortage of staff and beds in the public system, she warned.
The abuse rate in the general senior population - classified as age 65 or older - is about four per cent, Gagne said.

"But in seniors getting services from institutions, whether home care or in long-term residences, the abuse ranges from four to 12 per cent, and even up to 15 per cent," Gagne said.
The public system has flaws but at least the checks and balances in place, Gagne said.
"There are no such mechanisms for private residences."

Coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier's investigation of the death of five seniors in private residences in 2002 and 2003 raised concerns about dangerous neglect of seniors in their care. Rudel-Tessier recommended private institutions caring for aging seniors be evaluated regularly and systematically.

The Elder Abuse Hotline can be reached at 514-489-2287 or 1-888-489-2287.

Polish Immigrant Survives Nazi Inmigration Camp but not Treatment by Daughter

By DONALD BRADLEY The Kansas City Star

A Lexington, Mo. woman pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from the death of her mother, an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient whose body was found stuck to the floor in the two’s home.

Authorities say the mother, Longina Skrzelewski, a Polish immigrant who had survived a concentration camp, had been on the floor at least three weeks before dying Jan. 23, 2005, and that she was soiled by her own urine and feces.

The daughter, Suzanne Skrzelewski, 59, initially was charged with elder abuse, but prosecutors later upgraded to second-degree murder and domestic assault.

On Monday, Suzanne Skrzelewski pleaded guilty to elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter. She could face up to 37 years in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 18.

To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-7810 or send e-mail to See The Kansas City Star on Wednesday for more community news.

Grown Kids Involved In Abuse Feel They Had Miserable Childhoods."

Also, those who said their parents gave them financial help or major gifts — cars, furniture — as young adults tended to live closer and keep in frequent contact with their parents later. Those who expected an inheritance also stayed in better contact.

see: ROLE REVERSAL: USA TODAY's series on caring for aging parents

Middle-aged parents who wonder how their grown children will treat them in old age should look at how they're treating their own elderly parents, according to a multi-generation study released Sunday.

"Apparently, we have to demonstrate the desired behavior. We can't be estranged from our parents and then expect our kids to be nice to us later," says Daphna Gans, a gerontologist at the RAND Corp. She did the study at the University of Southern California with sociologist Merril Silverstein.

Their report at the Gerontological Society of America meeting in San Francisco followed 237 mothers and their 379 offspring over 15 years. At the start, mothers were mostly in their 50s and had living parents as well as young-adult children. Later, mothers were in their mid-60s to late 70s. Those who reported getting the most emotional support and practical help from their grown children:

•Had provided similar care or help to their own parents.
•Had formed strong emotional bonds with their children, as reported earlier by the offspring.

"Very often someone will say: 'My mother was so good to me when I was growing up. I feel blessed that I'm able to help her now.' "

Financial Abuse is the Fastest Growing Form of Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse

Thousand Oaks Acorn - CA, USA

Archstone Foundation of Long Beach recently awarded an additional $75,000 grant to Senior Concerns to support its work to fight financial abuse of the elderly and dependent adults in Ventura County during the next three years.

The new grant, which follows initial funding of $100,000 in 2003, will continue the ongoing educational, training and advisory work of Senior Concerns Ventura County Financial Abuse Specialist Team coordinated by staff member Julia Wysong.

The majority of abusers are trusted friends, caregivers or family, Wysong said.

Financial abuse is the fastest growing form of elder and dependent adult abuse, she said.

The team fields a multidisciplinary team of experts for consultation at monthly meetings, reviewing 20 cases a year.

The team has produced "Fighting Financial Fraud," a half-hour video illustrating the most common schemes used in the financial abuse of elders.

It provides information on the agencies and programs available to victims.

The video is shown at 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday on Time Warner Cable, channel 25, and can also been seen at www.

Warning: Seniors be on the Lookout for Opportunistic Scammers.

Seniors’ money is always a temptation. Last month, a state appellate court upheld the elder abuse conviction of two investment advisers who targeted elders. These advisers offered free estate reviews to discover the elder’s net worth and then would approach the client to invest in speculative ventures, lying to and bullying them if necessary. A dozen or so seniors lost more than $1 million. The abusers are facing 12 to 17 years in prison.

In September, one senior was barred for abusing another senior citizen from a home he co-owned. The 70-year-old rented a room from an older woman, began doing repairs around the house in lieu of rent and then pressured the woman to sell her mobile home and move them both into a housing development. After he convinced her to put the new house in joint tenancy, which ensured the survivor of the two would inherit the home, he began a campaign of harassing her until, in his words, she dropped dead from stress. A government conservator has been appointed to unravel the legal relationship.

In another case, an abuser began insinuating himself into the life of an emotionally dependent man, eventually taking over his financial affairs. He convinced the elderly man to put him on the checking account, and withdrew, over five years, more than $600,000. When the victim balked at paying more money, the abuser would intimidate him into signing the checks. Finally, the abuser convinced his elderly victim to make him sole heir to his estate. That court case is still pending.

In a similar case, a volunteer caregiver took some $60,000 from an elderly woman and convinced her to make him the sole heir. He had to hunt for an estate planner, because at least one attorney had refused to do it on the grounds she was no longer mentally competent to make such decisions.

Elder abuse includes neglect of a senior. Geriatric professionals can be liable under elder abuse laws, and numerous prosecutions involve mistreatment in nursing homes. A common claim is that institutionalized seniors suffer serious and deadly bedsores from neglect to sanitize sheets or move the patient on a regular basis. The nursing home and the attending physicians may face charges under elder abuse in these cases. Family members who similarly neglect care for their senior relatives might also find themselves in court.

Violence against senior citizens is a common basis for prosecution. On Christmas Eve 2005, a 74-year-old man was attacked and robbed in his home by a neighbor. The abuser used a stun gun to "zap" the older man so he could take the man’s wallet. He faces six years in prison. New Yorkers were recently shocked by a brazen daylight attack on a woman more than 90 years old who was beaten to the ground so the attacker could get her purse. These cases horrify civilized society.

Violent elder abuse is a crime of cowards and bullies, so we often cheer when a senior turns the table on the abuser. Last February, a 70-year-old retired soldier defended his touring group in Costa Rica by killing an armed robber with his bare hands. In June, a former Marine killed one robber and critically wounded the second one after they tried to rob him at a Subway Sandwich Shop in Florida. That same month, a retired police officer helped subdue a psychotic airline passenger in Boston and, in April, a former Miss America in Kansas shot out the tires of burglars who were attempting to leave her farm with stolen loot.

If you are concerned about loved seniors, check on them regularly at the nursing homes, monitor their expenditures, find out who is hanging around them and possibly exerting undue influence on their decisions. Most of all, don’t ignore them.

• Pamela Case, a local freelance paralegal, is among a select group of local residents rotating their columns in the Sunday Tracy Press.

Abridged =>>

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Clara Fernandez Case - A Public Plea

Photo By L.A. Borguss

The public has been given a lot of information about the case of Clara Fernandez. The courts or Adult Protective Services must have more information to help them decide on this case.
It is therefore extremely disturbing that after 3 years(?); this case is still in the legal system!

We understand that courts are often weighed down by many cases, but in an elder abuse case involving a frail 90 year old; surely time is of the essence.

Don’t we, as a society, have the collective compassion to show Clara that she is safe at last, and that the perpetrators of the abduction and abuses will be punished?

This is a well publicized case. It just makes us wonder how many ‘unpublicized’ cases are buried in the system.
This is our plea:

Please end the psychologically damaging waiting period for legal decision(s) on this case. The continuous drain on Clara’s assets MUST be stopped. We urge people handling the case to take the brave steps needed to end this awful case.

(Andrew and Friends)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Letters to Editor (HELP!)


I am involved in a situation where my father has been financially abused by my two brothers and my mother. I have known about it for over a year and have done everything I can think of to help him and cannot get anywhere. I have talked to uncountable people including elder abuse departments, lawyers, and law enforcement officers. It seems the laws protect the abusers, and not the abused. And they make it easy for the abusers to prevent their victims from being helped by advocates such as myself.

My Dad finally has been appointed an attorney through a conservatorship issue within the family. And HIS lawyer consults with my MOTHER! who is one of the the abusers!!

My Dad lives in Montana. He is 91 years old, legally blind but very mentally very sharp. But he is totally unaware of the situation and has no clue that he should even ask for help because he is being protected from any awareness by the abusers.

I would appreciate any help or advice you have for me.




Thank you for writing in to E.A. It really breaks my heart that this sort of thing happens from the flatlands of Florida to the Hills of Montana. We have also talked to uncountable people and have spent uncountable sleepless night writing to anyone that could or would help all to no avail and only to come to the same conclusion that you already have.

Elder Abuse laws protect the abusers and make it very costly and degrading for the victims, a lot of times elder abuse cases are routinely labeled ¨Civilly¨ matters by the authorities, laying the groundwork for endless court battles and the posibility of the elder victim losing all their rights by the court appointing a guardian by laws that are sometimes selectively and loosely enforced.

I am not an attorney and can not give you any legal advise, only personal based on my experience and that of our readers like you who write to us about the indifference of the people who could/would help in cases such as yours.

Try to document everything that is happening to your father, every which way you can! Try to get your father to a psychiatrist that can document his state of mind,thoughts and feelings.

The people who are abusing your father know how to take advantage of the situation, you might need to insist on having an attorney who understands the issue and will fight for your father´s rights, furthermore educate yourself on Elder Abuse and the tactics used, as most elder abuse happens under the veil of family matters which often gives the abusers exemption from elder abuse laws and a false sense of legitimacy.

The abusers are often masters of confusion and at creating a veil of confusion in their quest to conquer and divide, often they will paint the person trying to protect the elder as the bad guy, this is very delicate situation that is extremely difficult to deal with.

Also your mother might not realize that she is being manipulated against your father, and keep in mind that Fraud and undue influence may be opposites in that with undue influence, the testator is compelled through fear and intimidation to act in ways which might be repudiated if the person were of a free and unconstrained mind while, on the other hand, the testator, misled by fraud,will often do so with pleasure and satisfaction.

Unless you give me permission to post your E mail address I will keep your name and E mail address confidential and any one that wishes to contact you may do so my writing to me and I will foward to you.

Suggested Reading:

Wills, Testamentary Capacity, and Undue Influence by IRWIN N. PERR, MD, JD

Steal an Estate

Narcissists as Slanders

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Im Gonna Grow Up Just Like You

Greedy Mortgage Companies are Preying on Vulnerable Homeownwers

Millions of older Americans are falling prey to abusive mortgage lenders as they draw on hard-earned home equity to cover increasing medical costs or home repairs.

A vote on the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007 is happening THIS WEEK. Tell your Representative to pass a strong bill that safeguards homeowners against abusive lending practices! >>

Older Americans are being hit especially hard by the predatory lending crisis because they're more likely to: have substantial equity in their homes, own older homes that need repairs, and live on fixed incomes.

The mortgage industry is lobbying for a weaker federal bill that overrides state laws.
On behalf of the 2.2 million American families who may face foreclosure, Congress must vote no on any amendment that would override state predatory lending laws!

Primary Care Physicians Increasingly Offer Flat-Fee, Prepaid Health Plans

Several hundred primary care physicians have begun to offer patients prepaid plans, a practice that supporters maintain "tackles two crises in U.S. health care: the rapid decline of doctors practicing primary care medicine and the growing number of Americans who are either uninsured or underinsured, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Under many prepaid plans, patients pay a monthly fee in advance for unlimited access to primary and urgent care services, such as office visits, laboratory work, X-rays and generic medications.

Supporters maintain that prepaid plans can reduce administrative issues and costs, as well as increase profits, for primary care physicians. In addition, supporters maintain that prepaid plans can improve access to care for patients. However, opponents, such as health insurers and some regulators, have raised concerns that patients might purchase prepaid plans in place of broader coverage or overpay for such plans. Prepaid plans also "might become a competitive threat to insurers' business, especially if doctors can provide prepaid care without having to jump the same regulatory hoops as health insurance," the Journal reports.

According to the Journal, the debate over prepaid plans highlights "how the medical establishment remains at odds over the delivery of basic care": Health insurers maintain that high medical and prescription drug costs require them to "police doctors' treatments and rates," and physicians maintain that the "hassles of processing insurance claims and referrals means less time with patients." Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, said, "We all talk about how we'd like primary care to change, but we don't pay for those activities," adding, "That's why you have doctors trying to fund these services in a new way" (Fuhrmans, Wall Street Journal, 10/22).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Are There Laws Regarding Turn Key Guardians and How Guardians are Chosen?

by Maria Gallo, Esquire

F.S. 744.3031 For Emergency Guardianship Petition

The statute allowing for an Emergency Temporary Guardianship is § 744.3031(1).

According to the statute, an Emergency Temporary Guardianship is for those situations where it is necessary to provide immediate care after a petition to determine incapacity has been filed but before the appointment of a plenary guardian.

Once a plenary guardian has been appointed, he or she may only be replaced or removed as directed in Florida statute and Florida probate rules (which also apply to guardianship proceedings).

The plenary guardian must resign and properly petition for discharge. Such resignation and the petition for discharge must be noticed to interested parties. The notice should include a provision advising of a 30 day period to object to the resignation as provided in Florida Probate Rule 5.650(d).

As part of this discharge, the plenary guardian would also be required to file his or her final accounting.

A discharge petition must contain the guardian's wish to resign, the amount of compensation to be paid to the guardian and others employed by the guardian, and the name of any successor guardian (if any) or that a successor guardian needs to be appointed. (See Florida Probate Rule 5.650 (b).)


Ashley GlacelPress SecretarySpecial Committee on Aging (Press Release)
Senator Herb Kohl, ChairPh: (202) 224-5364 Cell: (202) 340-3299

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, November 15, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) will hold a hearing to highlight the need for increased transparency and accountability with respect to information that is publicly available about nursing homes. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) will testify before the committee on the need to strengthen the federal government’s system of nursing home regulation, outlining the main objectives of the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2007, legislation he and Chairman Kohl plan to introduce in the coming weeks. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Kerry Weems will provide an overview of the government’s Special Focus Facility Program, which was designed to resolve problems in poorly performing nursing homes that exhibit a history of non-compliance. Weems will also discuss the agency’s strategic initiatives focused on improving nursing homes and increasing transparency.

A webcast of the hearing will be available on the Committee webpage:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Guardianship and Probate Practices – Little Has Changed

The following article first appeared on December 2005

A Family Feud Sheds Light on Differences in Probate Practices From State to State
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL Published: December 28, 2005

HOUSTON, Dec. 20 - Lillian Glasser, by all accounts, never intended to spend her twilight years in Texas. Or her $25 million fortune.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Mrs. Glasser owned a million-dollar home and a second house in Highland Park, N.J., with her husband Ben, a doctor who died in 2002.
But to the consternation of Mrs. Glasser and the New Jersey authorities, Texas now has a major grip on her life and her money - a consequence of a family feud and anomalies in probate practices from state to state.
After coming to Texas last February to visit her daughter, Mrs. Glasser, now 85 and afflicted with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, fell subject to the Bexar County Probate Court in San Antonio.
Placed under Texas guardianship after her daughter attested that her mother resided there, Mrs. Glasser is largely confined to a gated apartment complex in Alamo Heights, a small city surrounded by San Antonio, under 24-hour care and forbidden to return to New Jersey while a storm of litigation swirls around her.
Beyond the personal drama, the case highlights the checkerboard practices of local probate courts, which govern the transfer of property from people who die or are declared incompetent. The courts are not federally regulated, but in response to a growing number of interstate disputes, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws is drafting nationwide probate standards similar to those in the field of child custody.
The Glasser case, pitting her daughter and former guardian, Suzanne Matthews of Alamo Heights, against her son, Mark Glasser of Miami, has already consumed nearly $3 million of Mrs. Glasser's assets, accumulated over years of successful investing…..

In an independent evaluation in July, Dr. Katherine E. Goethe, a San Antonio psychologist, said, "Her situation in San Antonio I would describe as a form of psychological torture, frankly."

Abridged Article SOURCE

Little has changed with regards to guardianship and probate practices. People like Mrs Glasser and Clara Fernandez should have a secured, dignified life in their twilight years. NOT to be victimized by state laws. NOT to be "robbed" of their hard-earned assets by the people who are supposed to protect her. There should be uniformed laws in all states on these issues.

Posted by Andrew

Monday, November 12, 2007

Man Arrested as Nursing Home Victims Named

Karen McVeigh
November 9, 2007 The Guardian

Two women found murdered in a nursing home were named by police yesterday. The bodies of Rashni Badiani, 56, and Radhaben Chauhan, 72, were discovered by staff in the room they shared at Hayes Park residential home in Leicester on Wednesday in the early hours. Police believe the killer got in through a ground-floor window.
Mrs Badiani had been at the home since December 2004, while Mrs Chauhan, described by her family as a "beautiful, bright, warm person", had lived there since August. A statement from Mrs Badiani's family said: "We cannot believe what has happened. We are still trying to come to terms with the fact that we will never get to see her beloved smile again."

A man of 19 was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of the murders. He remains in custody. Initial postmortem results found that Mrs Badiani had suffered serious head injuries but detectives were awaiting further tests last night.
Detective Superintendent Chris Thomas said: "Our minds are still open as to the motive for this crime. We continue to work closely with the directors and staff at the home, who continue to cooperate fully with the police investigation in difficult circumstances. Our thoughts are with the families of Mrs Badiani and Mrs Chauhan at this time."
Yesterday the home's directors defended security at the home, which has 49 residents.


(Posted by Andrew)

Archaic Laws Hamper Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts

The legal system, in every country around the world, have “archaic” laws that should be changed in order to protect the rights of citizens in our modern times.

So, why is that not seen to? Some may even argue: “The man/woman is old. At the ripe old age of 89 (or, whatever) what do you expect?” As one of my critics said, “Give it a rest!” Sure, in elder abuse cases that resulted in death - the victims, often were pushed into permanent rest, often before their time.

For those elder abuse victims who survived and "rescued" from their abusive situation; do they really get a rest from the damages done to their mental and emotional health. Not likely!

For those of us who are “fighting”for Elder Rights and Elder Abuse Prevention, often witness first-hand, how the law can often do more harm than good for its citizens.

Snail-pace legal system can actually hasten the demise of the elderly.

The unimaginable stress of legal proceedings on the older persons; while the tug-of-war goes on between family members and guardians, for instance. We need all the help we can get.

Get involved in our quest to make our society safer, more equitable and happier for our vulnerable elders.

Silent shame.- In Other's Hands

Wisonsin- USA Dean Mosiman608-252-6141

Every year, more elderly move into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities -- dependent on the skill and dedication of nurses, aides and others.

Now the aging baby boom generation is poised to further stretch a system that becomes dangerous when homes don't have enough staff, don't train workers well and suffer from high turnover, experts said.

• In 2006 in Wisconsin, more than one in four nursing homes --well above the national average ? were cited for causing actual harm to vulnerable residents or putting them in immediate jeopardy, new federal data shows.

Turn Up Volume on Silent Shame

A Wisconsin State Journal editorial

A caregiver gets a hug from an elderly resident she serves in Middleton.

Craig Schreiner -- State Journal

Often hidden or ignored, elder abuse is an enormous problem in Wisconsin that threatens to get worse as our state 's population grays.
Wisconsin State Journal reporter Dean Mosiman documented in stark and disturbing detail last week how vulnerable our oldest citizens can be to swindlers, control freaks, greedy relatives and friends -- even to their own pride and failing judgment.

The seven-day series "Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame, " which concluded Saturday, should energize Wisconsin to action. The solutions won 't be easy. But many do exist that won 't require huge amounts of money or an attack on privacy rights and other freedoms.

The best way to prevent and stop elder abuse is for more ordinary citizens -- all of us -- to keep watchful eyes on the elderly and isolated people we know. Potential victims of abuse and neglect might be related to us, might live down the street, belong to the same civic group or attend the same church.
They deserve our attention, friendship and concern. We owe it to them to report odd behavior, suspicious visitors, shoddy caregivers or injuries.

Health professionals are in key positions to better advocate for the elderly. Though they aren 't required to ask about or report many signs of problems, they can and should.
Similarly, bankers should report suspicious transactions to stem swindles. Bankers should encourage their aging customers to fill out Advanced Bank Orders, which empower banks to keep closer and more skeptical track of accounts.

Law enforcement responds quickly to complaints, and the courts have fined and thrown abusers behind bars. Yet law enforcement and the courts need more coordination and training to better recognize, coax and help the abused.
The same goes for caregivers, who earn low wages and aren 't required to have much training. The state at least recognizes this problem. It increased Medicaid reimbursements to nursing homes by 5 percent in the current budget. The state also is expanding an ombudsman program that puts volunteers into long-term care facilities. And Gov. Jim Doyle says he will consider higher standards for staffing and training.

That said, state officials couldn 't figure out how much money or personnel have been devoted annually to inspecting long-term care facilities in the last five years. The state also fails to provide simple ways for ordinary people to check on inspection reports and violations over the Internet.

The state does put court records online. Yet some misguided lawmakers are trying to block public access to this invaluable database. The ravages of elder abuse should convince them to drop their push for secrecy.
For its part, the federal government should allow abbreviated inspections of good-performing nursing homes so the state can concentrate its money and resources on troubled ones. The state already employs this concept with success in other areas of state government.

The frail and elderly also can do more to help themselves. They should never feel embarrassed if they are confused or unsure about managing their affairs or fending off pushy strangers. Self-neglect is the most common type of elderly abuse in Wisconsin, advocates say.

Dane County is probably doing more than any other county in the state to attack this silent scourge. But the county 's population over age 60 is projected to double from 2000 to 2030. Statewide, this population group is expected to increase 50 percent during that time.

The baby boomers will dramatically boost the elderly population -- yet they also have an opportunity to force change.

Everyone, in fact, has that power. We just need to pay more attention and engage the elderly and vulnerable in our lives. We need to ask for help when we need it.
We need to turn up the volume on this silent shame.
The Wisconsin State Journal and Dean Mosiman should be congratulated on this wonderful and eye-opening series on Elder Abuse. More public members should join forces to highlight and expose elder abuse cases. Together, we can push for changes and make politicians and governments take notice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What God Has Joined Let No Man Separate

Picture courtesy Laurie

Caregiver Crisis

To countless elders, paid and unpaid caregivers provide companionship and invaluable help with eating, taking medicine, bathing, toileting and safety.

But sometimes, those caregivers abuse, neglect and steal in the ultimate betrayal of the most vulnerable among us.

Government's efforts to support good caregivers and protect the elderly from bad ones fall short, the Wisconsin State Journal learned in an eight-month investigation of elder abuse in the state. Among the findings:

• Government has no system to check for abuse by volunteers, who bear most of the caregiving burden in the U.S. And they don't get enough support, training or respite, which increases the chances of stress and harm to elders.
• Professional caregivers, such as nursing aides, get poor pay, benefits and inadequate training, which leads to high turnover, poor screening and bad care.

• The system to oversee professional caregivers has gaps. There is no national system for background checks, and state rules give some abusive caregivers a chance to again work in long-term care facilities.

• Communities will face shortages of professional caregivers due to expected changes in the work force, and their role will grow as the population of frail elderly balloons in the coming decades.

"I don't know how it can't be a crisis at this point," said John Schnabl, chairman of the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Workforce Alliance, a group of private and public organizations that advocates on behalf of caregivers.

Newer research suggests that elder abuse, like many other forms of abuse, is usually motivated by a desire for power, control or money.

Elderly Man Pushed Downstairs.-Abusers Broke His Back and his Bank Accounts

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A 45-year-old woman is accused of assaulting an elderly man she befriended, and using his credit cards to make many purchases he never asked for. Police say it’s one of the worse cases of elder abuse they’ve seen in some time.

Michele Thomas of Syracuse has been charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, and two counts of assault. She was arrested Monday.

Police say the 85-year-old victim had a romantic relationship with Thomas.

He invited her, and her two children, to live with him and take care of him between January and July of this year.

She became his caregiver, allegedly beat him, broke his nose several times, and got access to his bank account by forcibly getting his pin number

In once instance police say the victim said he would not give Thomas his belongings and it’s alleged she beat him.

She also allegedly tore up his phone book with family and personal numbers and installed a caller id, so she could screen out calls from family.

The victim also suffered a broken back, which he claims he got after Thomas pushed him down the stairs.

After the back injury, nurses stared coming in the home and he told them about the abuse.

Police says nurses found family phone numbers and called the victim's son in Georgia, who came up and took him back down south to live with him. He was hospitalized in Georgia.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Too Little Too Late for Frank Magana

We killed Frank Magenta, and A.J. Fernandez and numerous others elder too many to count , we killed them by our attitude, we killed them with our indiference the fact is that you will do more time for drugs than for attacking an elder.

This problem was highlighted on the recent attack on two (2) elderly women in New York one aged 101 and the other 88 , by the same attacker who faced a misdemeanor up to one year in jail.

Currently, the crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a year in jail.

"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.

It's open season on elders, elders had better beware, you are not safe in your homes, you are not safe in the streets, you are not safe anywhere, the laws leave a lot to be desired when it comes to protecting you before harms comes your way, because for Frank Magana and others it is simply, too little , too late !

If you are an elder today I hate to break the news but lets bring it out in the open, and deal with it openly and takes the appropriate steps to correct the situation .A lot of cases of elder abuse are considered 'accidents' elder deaths are rarely investigated .

According to Catherine C. McNamee a Social Science Analyst at the National Institute of Justice in Attitudes Hinder Investigations ;

"Researchers also identified a propensity for medical examiners and coroners to exhibit ageism—a belief that focusing on nursing home deaths was “a waste of their time and resources…because of the poor health status of most nursing home
residents… [who] would die anyway.”[8]
These beliefs are major impediments to improvements in the forensic identification of elder deaths".

WWII Veteran Survives D-Day, But Not Elder Abuse

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A World War II veteran who lived through the D-Day invasion of Normandy was laid to rest on Tuesday, one month after he was allegedly attacked and robbed.

Frank Magana, 83, was an Army medic, described by family as a soft-spoken individual who never raised his voice.

That's why they can't understand why anyone would want to hurt him.
PFC Frank Magana was drafted in January 1943 and saw his first action of WWII on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
Magana was a member of the Army's 1st Infantry, the infamous "Big Red One."

Magana's nephew, Carlos Gonzalez, said he talked with his uncle Frank for years about that day.

His landing craft was hit by machine gun fire as soldiers dove over the side to avoid being shot.

"Uncle Frank started running into the water to help wounded soldiers and he couldn't even swim," said Gonzalez.
"I asked him how many times he went back, and he told me six or seven, until someone grabbed him and pulled him out of the surf."

Magana documented his unit's march across France, Belgium and Germany with numerous photos, until his discharge in November 1945.
He returned home and left medicine behind him.
"What he saw with all the death, destruction and dismemberment would break down even the strongest man," said Gonzalez.

He worked as a TV repairman for more than 30 years, his quiet unassuming nature endearing him to family and friends.
Magana died Halloween morning at the age of 83.

A couple of weeks before his death, Magana was walking along Brundage Lane near his home in central Bakersfield, when family members say he was jumped by one or two men and robbed.

He was taken to Kern Medical Center where Gonzalez said he never fully recovered.

Bakersfield police are investigating the family's claims but say they can't find any evidence yet that would connect any injuries he may have sustained to his death.

Right now, the case is being looked at as possible elder abuse.
Carlos has honored his uncle's service for years as a member of a living history group that does WWII re-enactments.
He plays the part of a medic.

He Has Put All His Retirement Money In An Old Age Home

INDIA: MUMBAI, India (Hindustan Times), November 6, 2007:

Not everyone invests his retirement kitty in an old age home.

But that’s what Bhaskar Yadavrao Pawar did after he retired from the army as a sipahi.

“My worldly duties are over. Now, my life should be of use to someone else,” is how the 83-year-old explains his decision to set up the Manav Seva Trust Vrudhashram.

Pawar started the home in 1990, using the land given to him by the army, according to Ghanshyam Vyas, a trustee of the home.

“I retired in 1974 and for a while, I drove a taxi to support my family. But something inside me prompted me to do this,” Pawar says. “My family members thought I had gone mad but I was determined.”

A 90-minute drive from Dadar, the home was a hut initially, nothing much to write home about. “Our first resident was a man from Virar, where I lived. He was very old, about 100, and had nowhere to go, so I brought him here,” says Pawar.

Soon after, “my wife joined me here and between the two of us, we managed the place,” he says. “An army colleague, who had just lost his wife, also joined us.” By 1993, when the home was registered, there were 16 residents. Today, it houses 83 seniors, many of whom have been abandoned by their families.

Finances come from individual donors, but “we don’t go around asking anyone”. The families of inmates who can afford to pay contribute a nominal amount. “Of the inmates, 15 are looked after at no cost whatsoever. We have never turned away an old and helpless person for lack of money,” says Pawar.

The going has not been easy. “Once, in the monsoon, we ran out of provisions,” Pawar recalls. “But late at night that day, some men came with a load of edibles saying a Mr Shah had donated it. That’s when I realised God does exist.”

The situation is much better now, though Pawar no longer has his wife to help him run the place; she passed away in 1997. Many organisations in the city also donate food and clothing regularly.

“I have found peace here,” says Mhapsekar, a resident.

by Alex Fernandes


Thank you Andrew and Alex Fernandes for such a wonderful story, it is so wonderful, it is my dream also to establish a facility in the Dominican Republic , hopefully we won't have to deal with the monsoon season there!

Dead Men Win No Lawsuits.-

by Maria Luisa Tucker

Why Ambulance-Chasing attorneys won't go near your grandpa's demise.

When sculptor Richard Lippold died in 2002, he left behind a breathtaking body of work, including huge wire-and-metal installations at the MetLife Building, Lincoln Center, the Four Seasons, and other venues around the world.

He also left behind three children, a wife, and one angry boyfriend, who is now accusing a Long Island hospital of murdering the 87-year-old artist.

"They kill an old person and they don't care, because they know no one will take the case," says Augusto Gianni Morselli, Lippold's companion of 28 years. "If they can cause the death of this great human being, just imagine what they could do to you so-called normal people."

Jeff Korek, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, calls the state law—unchanged since its passage in 1847—"archaic." The association has been trying to change the law for at least 17 years, but proposed legislation that would allow families to sue for emotional loss continues to get ignored.

Trade associations like the Medical Society of New York have argued for years that the change could raise insurance premiums and cost hospitals millions of dollars.

Post by Andrew .- Abridged Article. Source

Someone to Watch Over Me!

Ruth Eglash writes in the Jerusalem Post about Care Givers and
Elder Abuse in this feature:Someone to watch over me.

JERUSALEM, Israel , November 5, 2007:With her regular caregiver on vacation, the family of 96-year-old Sara believed that the agency-appointed replacement would have little problem picking up the reins.

However, less than a week after the new caregiver started, Sara's grandson, David, got an urgent call from a neighbor telling him that something was not right at his grandmother's place.

"The neighbor called me at 11 p.m. She said that all the lights were still on in my gran's apartment and that the front door had been left open," begins David, 31, who lives a 20-minute drive from Sara's Bat Yam apartment. "I raced over there and found my gran in a terrible state.

She had been drugged with sleeping pills and was totally incoherent. I tried to help her into bed, but she kept falling over. Her apartment was a filthy mess, with trash and diapers everywhere."

David, whose parents do not live in the country, helped his grandmother back to bed and then waited for the caregiver, a foreign worker from Russia, to return. "I had already decided that I was not going to let this woman into the house again after what she'd done," he recalls. "She came back at 1 a.m., with a strange man and the two started banging on the door and shouting to be let in.

I refused to open the door and then I called the police." While the man ran away, the police eventually allowed the caregiver into the apartment to gather her things before David told her to get out and never come back. "She was either stoned or drunk," he says.

"Either way, she was totally out of it. I still can't believe that someone could have done this to my gran. She is 96 years old and totally helpless." The next day, Sara's family contacted the manpower agency that had provided the replacement caregiver. "They had little sympathy," remembers David. "They just said that they'd never had complaints about the woman before and that they would send us another replacement.

This time, however, my aunt who lives here met with the new woman before letting her start work. We learned our lesson." Sara, thanks to her family and vigilant neighbors, had a lucky escape, but Shoshana Birenbach was not so fortunate. On October 27, the 76-year-old was found strangled in her Holon apartment with her Moldovan caretaker being labeled by police as the prime suspect.

Investigators believed that the caregiver had choked Birenbach to death, set her apartment on fire and then tried either to commit suicide or to flee the arriving emergency squads. WHILE experts working with the elderly note that Birenbach's case was extreme and that Sara's negligent treatment at the hands of a foreign caregiver is not a regular occurrence, they do admit that incidents of abuse against the elderly by their primary caregivers are on the rise.

Post by Andrew.- Source: Seniors World Chronicle