Campaign Aims to Break Silence on Elder Abuse (IL. USA)

Campaign Aims to Break Silence on Elder Abuse (IL. USA)


Jacksonville Journal-Courier

July 6, 2009

It is estimated as many as 80,000 older adults in Illinois fall victim to elder abuse in the form of neglect, sexual, physical or mental abuse or financial exploitation each year.

“Each day in Illinois, someone is the victim of elder abuse but most do not receive help because the cases often go unreported,” said Charles D. Johnson, director of the Department on Aging.

To help raise awareness of the abuse that happens to those over 60 years old, the Illinois Department on Aging has launched the first Elder Abuse Awareness month in coordination with its fifth annual “Break the Silence” campaign.

Although more than 11,000 reports of elder abuse were made between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 according to the Department on Aging, the agency suspects dramatically more older Illinoisans are being abused.

“Our seniors deserve to feel safe and to be treated with respect,” Johnson said. “We want people to know there’s help available. If you are a victim, know or suspect someone who is being victimized, pick up the phone to get them some help.”

In 2007, there were 61 cases of elderly abuse received from Morgan, Cass and Scott counties according to the Area Agency on Aging for the Lincolnland area.

The most common substantiated cases were financial exploitation and emotional abuse. There were no claims substantiated of sexual abuse or willful deprivation — willfully denying assistance to an older adult thereby exposing the person to risk of harm.

Verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment or intimidation can all be reported as emotional abuse. The misuse or withholding of an elder’s resources to their disadvantage or the profit of another person can be considered financial exploitation.

SOURCE: Jacksonville Journal-Courier – Jacksonville,IL,USA

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Plan to Crack Down on Elder Abuse (MI. USA)

Sentinel-Standard writer

June 29, 2009

With baby boomers aging and more of the population entering their golden years, local lawmakers are doing their part to ensure that senior citizens don’t end up being victimized by those preying on the elderly community.

Rep. Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville, called elder abuse a concern for residents of Michigan.

“(Elder abuse) often gets swept under the rug here in Michigan,” Rep. Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville, said during the unveiling of the plan Monday afternoon.

Under a new plan backed by Huckleberry and recently introduced into the state legislature, there would be increased penalties for cheating or defrauding seniors, citizens would be empowered to file criminal complaints against those who scam seniors and they would require financial institutions to do more to disclose the rights of seniors and disclose against fraud.

“The penalties and protections on the books when it comes to elder abuse are not strict enough,” Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Norton Shores, said.

Valentine, who was in Ionia along with Huckleberry to announce the plan, knows all too well the affects of elder abuse on its victims and families.

“This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart,” she said, adding at one time her uncle had fallen victim to financial abuse.

In especially hard economic times, Valentine also said financial elder abuse can hit close to home, especially when some family members might prey on unsuspecting seniors as a means for financial well-being.

In addition to providing protection against fraud and scams against senior citizens, the plan would also create a special community alert in the event of a senior going missing.

Called the Mozelle Alert, it would be a way to notify the public in case a senior citizen goes missing.

It was named after Detroit resident Estella Mozelle Pierce who died after wandering from her home, would be similar to an Amber Alert.

Additionally, with many at the state level doing what it takes to improve the economy by releasing certain offenders from prison, legislators don’t see the elder abuse crackdown as something that will put people back in jail.

“This is stopping people from going to jail,” Huckleberry said, adding the plan would be a deterrent aimed at preventing abuse.

He also called the jail space well deserved for those who do happen to be abusing senior citizens.

“If someone is abusing a senior, they belong in jail,” Huckleberry said.

According to Huckleberry, now that the legislation has been introduced, it is anticipated that it will be further hammered out in various committees before any future legislative action is taken.

“I think we have a good chance of this going through,” he said.

Rep. Brian Calley, R-Portland, said although he hasn’t had the chance to look over the proposal, he believes with people living longer these topics deserve a more thorough look in order to better protect senior citizens.

SOURCE: Sentinel-Standard – Ionia,MI,USA


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State’s Democrats Seek Protection for Seniors (MI. USA)

State’s Democrats seek protection for seniors



JUNE 30, 2009

Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives are pushing a plan to strengthen the state’s elder abuse laws.

The package of bills, dubbed the Elder Abuse Protection Plan, would increase penalties for people convicted of cheating senior citizens and increase consumer protections. Rep. Kate Segal, D-Battle Creek, is sponsoring one of the plan’s bills.

The legislation comes after some high-profile abuse cases made headlines around the state, including two Flint brothers charged with abuse this month after allegedly selling their grandfather’s prescription painkillers. Reports of elder abuse in Michigan have increased 40 percent since 1998, according to the Michigan Department of Human Services.

“What is happening in this state, it is unthinkable and unspeakable,” Segal said during a press conference Monday.

Segal’s bill would require legal guardians to report the cash and cash-convertible assets of an incapacitated person to the court.

Other bills in the plan would require employees of nursing homes and financial institutions to report suspected cases of elder abuse, make it a felony to obtain a signature through fraud or deceit, and prohibit someone charged with felony abuse to win an inheritance from the victim’s estate.

SOURCE: The Battle Creek Enquirer

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Group Fights Elder Abuse (IL. USA)

Group fights elder abuse


July 05, 2009

This month kicks off the fifth annual statewide “Break the Silence” campaign to raise awareness about elder abuse, and local officials want residents to not only recognize the signs of elder abuse but know how to make a difference.

“The elder abuse program responds to alleged abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of a person 60 years of age or older,” explained Jean Bonhoff, executive director of Senior Services of Jefferson County. “The program provides investigation, intervention and follow up services to victims.”

The Effingham County Committee on Aging is the provider agency for elder abuse in Jefferson, Marion, Clay, Fayette and Effingham counties, Bonhoff clarified, which has seen an increase in reports of elderly abuse.

Bonhoff reports that statistics state between 1 and 2 million Americans ages 65 or older are abused each year.

“They [the elderly] are vulnerable. Abuse can be caused by economic or emotional dependence,” she said.

In most cases, Bonhoff says the abuser is a family member, and elderly females averaging 79 years of age are abused most often.

“A lot of times, along with physical abuse — believe it or not — there is sexual abuse, along with passive neglect, a case where the son or daughter is actually the caregiver to an older person and fails to see that individual has necessities of life — no clothing, food, shelter or the proper medications. A lot of times they like to take the elder person’s money and worry about their own habits before taking care of mom and dad.

The Illinois Department of Aging states the following indicators may point to problems of abuse:

· Untreated injuries, sprains or dislocations, scratches and cuts;

· Sudden changes in behavior and/or withdrawal in social settings;

· A caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors;

· Dehydration, malnutrition, poor personal hygiene, untreated health problems, hazardous or unsafe living conditions; and

· Sudden changes in bank account or banking practices, the inclusion of additional names on a victim’s bank signature card, unauthorized withdrawal of the victim’s funds using the victim’s ATM or credit card and abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents.

Residents who suspect elder abuse are encourage to report it to authorities.

“You can call and make an anonymous report and an investigation will be started,” Bonhoff added. “We will go out and talk to the alleged victim and upon getting their consent, we hope to eliminate any abuse that’s going on.”

If you suspect elder abuse, you may contact the state’s 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866)-800-1409.


SOURCE: Mt. Vernon Register-News – Mt. Vernon,IL,USA


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Man Jailed for Vehicle Theft, Kidnapping and Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Red Bluff man jailed in kidnap report

Staff Report


A 45-year-old Red Bluff man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing his mother’s car, assaulting her and taking her to Sacramento against her will, according to a Red Bluff Police Department press release issued Saturday.

Police were contacted Friday morning by 77-year-old Janice Touchstone when her son, Joseph Touchstone, refused to leave her apartment. When police arrived, they learned Joseph Touchstone had taken his mother’s gray 2002 Dodge Neon without her permission.

Further investigation revealed Joseph Touchstone had taken his mother to Sacramento against her will on July 1, and assaulted her when she tried to get the attention of fellow motorists, according to Officer Vincent Marshall.

On Friday, officers found Joseph Touchstone driving the vehicle on Monroe Street. He was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, kidnapping and elder abuse and booked into the Tehama County Jail.

Bail is $70,000.

SOURCE: Contra Costa Times – Walnut Creek,CA,USA

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