Haverford Nursing Home Loses License Over Elder Abuse (USA)

Haverford Nursing Home Loses License Over Elder Abuse (USA)


April 30, 2011

The family of Lois McAllister, a 78-year-old dementia patient, used a hidden camera to catch nursing-home workers physically abusing her, making her stand partially naked in front of them, and taunting her when they visited her room in late March.
The 12-minute video prompted an investigation by the state Department of Public Welfare, and the agency yesterday stripped Sunrise Continued Care, the parent company of the nursing home, of its license to run the home.
Ronald Melusky, acting DPW director, said in a letter to the company that the investigation revealed gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct at the Quadrangle, the Haverford nursing home McAllister was living in when she was abused.
According to reports, the elderly population is a little less than a quarter of Michigan’s total. But crimes against them recently have been nearly one-third of the state’s total. Many elderly are lonely and happy to engage with friendly types. Some are more gullible and naive, even if they were less so when they had many more daily interactions with others.

Criminals see seniors as easy marks. Also, many relatives of seniors find it easy to take advantage of their elders. These individuals often see the older family member as merely a source of extra revenue. They don’t have the care and respect for the seniors that they should have.

There are metro area organizations, such as Citizens for Better Care, that can help identify abusive situations. Elder abuse educators provided by the Detroit-based organization work with long-term care staff, residents and their families to recognize and combat sexual, physical, emotional and financial abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment.

Elder abuse shouldn’t be happening. People are supposed to respect their aging parents and grandparents. However, the problem is pervasive throughout our society and anything that can help fight it should be instituted or utilized.

So, mom and dad – grandma and grandpa deserve all of the help we can muster.

–Courtesy of The Oakland Press

SOURCE:     Philly.com


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Elderly Abuse rife Since Earthquake (NEW ZEALAND)

Elderly abuse rife since earthquake

 30th May 2011
The elderly are taking the brunt of earthquake stress, with elder abuse rife in the suburbs.

Age Concern community nurse Kerry Howley estimated cases of reported elderly abuse had increased by 40 to 50 per cent since the earthquake.

“There’s a huge increase in stress and there has been some abuse related to financial issues. Some families in financial hardship treat an elderly person like a bank- using them for money.” she said.

Ms Howley knew of one case where a 91-year-old woman had been a targeted in an earthquake shelter by a 41-year-old man.

“A gentleman met an older lady at a shelter and took her home. He built up her trust and then took lots of her money. They didn’t know each other before the earthquake. He just saw the opportunity and moved on her,” she said.

Much of the abuse was verbal, but could also be physical or neglectful, Ms Howley said.

“I had one elderly couple in their 90s who were put into respite care because their home was so damaged in the earthquake. But their daughter wanted them to return home, even though they had no sewage or water, because she was in charge of their money. When they were in care their social worker wanted to know where all the money was going,” she said.
With thousands of houses ruined in February’s earthquake, many people have been forced to move in with their elderly relatives.
Police Inspector Dave Lawry said: “There’s been a lot of elder abuse going on. People’s houses are trashed so they’re moving in with mum and dad, or other family members, who they don’t necessarily get along with.”

Inspector Lawry said fights had been developing, with the elderly often being “pushed around.”

Some of the abuse had been “historic,” only coming to light after the earthquake as neighbours and friends checked on the usually isolated elderly.

“Sometimes the relationship with the family has always been abusive, but the elderly person just thought it was normal or that nothing could be done about it,” Ms Howley said.

SOURCE:      starcanterbury.co.nz

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Nun Scammer Found Guilty of Financial Elder Abuse (USA)

Nun Scammer Found Guilty of Financial Elder Abuse

Jury Convicts Denise D’Sant Angelo on 12 Felony Counts
May 11, 2011
A Santa Barbara jury today found Denise D’Sant Angelo guilty of embezzling $30,000 from an elderly couple whose home was about to go into foreclosure. The bespectacled fraudster, convicted last year of lining her pockets with money meant to save housing for a group of nuns, convinced the husband and wife she was skilled in the ways of financial and legal maneuvering and could save their home if they paid her.
She didn’t, and Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota proved in court that D’Sant Angelo used the money to pay for her rent and other personal expenses. She met the victims while going door-to-door on behalf of the nuns, and it was revealed during the trial that D’Sant Angelo often pitted members of the victims’ family against one another to her advantage.
The jury convicted D’Sant Angelo on six counts of felony financial elder abuse, six counts of felony grand theft, and one count of misdemeanor unlawful practice of law. She was also found guilty of the special allegation that she committed the crimes – spread out over the course of a year-and-a-half – while she was out on bail during her prior embezzlement case. If she receives the maximum sentence this time, D’Sant Angelo faces 11 years in prison.
Judge Frank Ochoa granted Cota’s request that D’Sant Angelo’s bond be forfeited and she be immediately taken into custody. He argued she’s a threat to the public and showed herself willing to continue scamming people while out on bail. Ochoa agreed, and D’Sant Angelo was lead out of the courtroom in handcuffs shortly after the jury was dismissed.
Cota said immediately after the verdicts were read it was telling that the jury, after deliberating for only three hours, reached a unanimous decision after listening to D’Sant Angelo tell her side of the story on the stand for four days. During closing remarks, Cota called D’Sant Angelo a “textbook case of a con artist, plain and simple,” and that she “gained [the victims’] confidence in order to steal their money.”
D’Sant Angelo will be back in court on Monday, June 6 for a sentencing hearing.

SOURCE:     Independent.com

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Abuse of Elders, Often by Family Members, is a Growing Problem (USA)

Abuse of elders, often by family members, is a growing problem

by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
April 28, 2011
Moorhead, Minn. —
It was an April evening a year ago when a mother and son began arguing in their Moorhead home. She accused him of stealing her money.
The unemployed and divorced son, 57, who had moved into the home three and a half years earlier, choked his mother as she sat in her rocking chair, according to court documents. He then pushed or threw her down the basement stairs.
While she lay at the bottom of the stairs, her son stepped over her as he went outside to bury 369 $100 bills in the backyard. About 45 minutes later he called an ambulance.
Like many victims of elder abuse, the woman didn’t want to tell her story. The woman still fears her son will harm her. MPR News has decided not to name him to protect her identity.
But her plight is increasingly common. Elder abuse isn’t tracked as a crime in Minnesota, so statistics are hard to come by, but experts say the problem is growing.
The abuse frequently happens in the victim’s home, and the abuser is often a family member. The typical case involves money, physical abuse or neglect — sometimes with brutal consequences.
The Moorhead woman suffered a broken hip, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs. No longer able to live independently, she will be in a nursing home for the rest of her life, Clay County Prosecutor Jenny Samarzja said.
Prosecutors were only able to charge her son with third-degree assault.
It’s not clear how often such abuse occurs.
Minnesota tracks abuse involving vulnerable adults — anyone 18 and older who is physically or mentally impaired and unable to care for themselves. More than of the reported cases of vulnerable adult abuse in Minnesota involve people 65 and older, according to the state Department of Human Services.
Nationally, an estimated 11 percent of people 60 and older experience some form of abuse or exploitation, according to a 2009 study by the National Institute of Justice.
But only about 20 percent of all cases are ever reported, say experts at the National Center on Elder Abuse.

SOURCE:     Minnesota Public Radio

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Determining Elder Abuse is Not an Exact Science

Determining elder abuse is not an exact science

By Kim Lamb Gregory
April 18, 2011
Elder abuse is on the rise in Ventura County due to a number of factors, according to Ventura County Adult Protective Services deputy director Linda Henderson.
“It’s due to the baby boomer population, people living longer and elderly people living by themselves more often,” Henderson said. “It’s also the economy. We’ve got family members moving back in with elderly parents. I think that puts lots of stresses on families.”
Adult Protective Services investigates any reports of elder abuse and neglect in Ventura County. Between July 2009 and February 2010, it found instances of abuse and neglect an average of 323 times a month. (Some cases lasted more than one month, and would figure into the average for the next month, as well.) In that same period of 2010-11, it found an average of 381 instances a month, an increase of 18 percent.
Most of those involved financial elder abuse, according to the agency.
Elder law attorneys agree elder abuse is a serious problem, but cautioned that the rise in elder abuse also means an increase in the number of false claims.
“We’ve been getting calls from people saying their parents have been abused because they have been put into assisted living,” said elder abuse attorney Mitchell Karasov, who handles cases in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Ventura elder law attorney Gregory Johnson says he gets about 10 calls a week suggesting abuse.
“Ninety percent of the calls do not result in cases,” Johnson said. “It’s usually a case of miscommunication.”
Certainly, many claims of financial elder abuse are legitimate, according to Karasov, but sometimes it’s just a lack of education. A family member who doesn’t realize how expensive it can be to care for a parent may accuse a caregiver of taking money, he said, until they understand what it actually costs.
“People not having all the facts in certain situations may be claiming elder abuse,” Karasov said.
In other cases, a sibling’s motives may not be as pure, he said.
“What I’m seeing is people calling up and saying it’s elder abuse sometimes when it’s to their benefit,” Karasov said.
Siblings sometimes figure if they can show that an adult sibling caring for a parent is abusing them by, for example, spending too much on caregiving, they can get the caregiver sibling disinherited.

“It goes from Thanksgiving, kiss, kiss everybody loves each other to, ‘Wait a minute; you’re spending my inheritance on Mom and Dad,’ ” Karasov said.

© 2011 Ventura County Star.


SOURCE:    The VCStars


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‘Carer’ Stole £2,000 (UK)

22 April 2011

A MAN who swindled more than £2,000 from an elderly dementia sufferer to pay for his extravagant lifestyle has been jailed.
Brian Hughes, 59, stole £2,204 from 79-year-old Beryl Cavanagh while she was living in a Todmorden nursing home.
For more than a year he had been her carer.
The pair became friends in 2006 and Mrs Cavanagh’s family trusted Hughes so much they moved her into his Mixenden flat with him in 2007.
By August 2008 he said he could no longer be her carer and she was moved into the nursing home.
Just four days later, Hughes starting stealing from her.
The pair stayed in touch, with Hughes taking Mrs Cavanagh on day trips, including to Kent to see her son.
He made cash withdrawals from machines in Hebden Bridge and Halifax and even paid five months of internet dating fees with her card.
The crimes only came to light when staff at the Bradford and Bingley noticed Hughes bullying Mrs Cavanagh.
They described him as overbearing and short with her.
A cashier raised the alarm when Mrs Cavanagh became confused why she was trying to withdraw £750.
Hughes admitted 19 counts of theft from Mrs Mrs Cavanagh, who died last September.
Kenneth Greene, representing Hughes at Bradford Crown Court, asked for any sentence to be suspended.
But Recorder Abdul Iqbal said he had no choice but to jail him for 18 months.
He told Hughes: “You took advantage of a vulnerable and debilitated woman. She placed her trust in you but you stole for extravangances.”


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Huge Under-Reporting of Elder Abuse (IRELAND)

‘Huge under-reporting of elder abuse’

by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com

The HSE receives over 2,000 referrals to its elder abuse service each year, the annual meeting of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has been told.
However, Oonagh McAteer, an elder abuse officer with the HSE, said it was felt that elder abuse was hugely under-reported and the yearly incidence of abuse could be five times this number.
She said there had been 2,110 referrals of cases of suspected elder abuse made to the HSE last year. In 70% of cases the elderly people involved have been over 75.
Ms McAteer told the meeting in Galway that 30% of cases were psychological abuse, followed by neglect and financial abuse at just under 20%, followed by physical abuse at 12%.
She said there was a misperception that elder abuse was mainly happening in nursing homes. However, HSE data showed that 82% of abuse victims were living at home and 95% of abuse was alleged to have occurred in a person’s place of residence.
Ms McAteer said the person most often causing concern was a family member and in 46% of cases a close family member, son or daughter. In over half of the cases the alleged abuser and victim lived together. The data showed that that 62% of alleged victims were women.
She said a study published last year by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP) showed that 2.2% of older people felt they had experienced abuse or neglect in the previous year.
This indicated that there could be 10,000 elder abuse cases in any one year.
Ms McAteer said when the NCPOP study was broadened out to include any episode of mistreatment or abuse over the age of 65, it was estimated that nearly 19,000 people in Ireland are victims.
Prof Cecily Kelleher, head of the UCD School of Public Health, told the meeting there were high rates of heart disease, respiratory conditions and suicide among the Traveller community and the smoking rate in the community was 60%.
Discussing details from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study, she said there was virtually nobody over the age of 50 among travellers.
Prof Kelleher said there was a higher level of discrimination among travellers in Ireland than that encountered by the African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States.

SOURCE:     The IrishHealth

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“Despicable” Care Worker Stole From Elderly (UK)

“Despicable” care worker stole from elderly

12th May 2011
A FORMER carer who stole money from two vulnerable elderly people has been branded “despicable” by her former boss.
Kelly Wright admitted stealing £120 each from a man aged 91 and a woman aged 81 – after she entered their homes in Malvern using a secret key code.
Wright, aged 26, of Moat Crescent, Malvern, admitted two counts of burglary when she appeared before magistrates in Worcester.
The court was told Wright knew the codes from when she had previously worked as a carer for Malvern-based Care 4 Me.
After the hearing, Brian Lee, director of the company, said: “I think it’s despicable of any person who is entrusted to look after the vulnerable to behave in this dreadful manner and to take advantage of them.
“It was through the assistance we provided she was identified and brought to justice.”
Mr Lee said Wright had been subject to full criminal and professional checks before being employed.
He has written to all his clients with a key code urging them to regularly change that code.
Matt Dodson, prosecuting, said the burglary on Friday, February 4, was of a 91-year-old retired doctor living alone in a bungalow.
He had been in his lounge when Wright called at his home at about 5pm and assumed it was one of his evening carers but later discovered £120 was missing from his wallet.
CCTV footage showed a dark blue Citroën Saxo at the scene, which led police to Wright.
In the other incident on Friday, January 14, the victim was an 81-year-old woman who received care in her home three times a day.
Mr Dodson said: “She was aware a girl had entered her bedroom. She said: ‘Who is it?’ and she said ‘It’s Jess’.
“She heard the female on the stairs and said she was quite frightened at the time. She discovered £120 had gone missing from her handbag.”
When interviewed by police Wright – who has no previous convictions – initially denied she had been to the two properties, but later admitted it.
Mr Dodson said: “She was asked why she did so and she said it was because she was in arrears with her council tax and had debts of £1,000.
“She said she felt bad about committing these crimes on vulnerable people and said she had contemplated suicide and had written a note while on police bail.”
Amer Hussain, defending, said Wright was not picked out at an identity parade and it was her own admission that led to the facts of the case coming to light.
He said: “She has expressed remorse to the police for what has taken place and is liaising with police to try and repay the individuals.”
The case was adjourned for sentencing on Tuesday, May 17, and Wright was released on unconditional bail.

SOURCE:      The Worchester Mews

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Marathon County Helps Seniors Avoid Scams (USA)

Marathon County helps seniors avoid scams

Jun. 5, 2011
Written by
Marathon County officials are meeting with senior citizens to help them avoid being scammed by contractors and ripped off by caregivers and to show them how to report abuse.
Representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, district attorney’s office, corporation counsel and North Central Health Care’s adult protective services department met in Athens on May 26 with about a dozen residents to discuss issues that affect seniors.
Additional meetings are planned for this summer in Edgar, Stratford, Mosinee and other communities. Dates have not yet been set.
“We want to go to rural communities so residents can become more familiar with our various roles,” said Brenda Christian, adult protective services coordinator at North Central. “We want to create a rapport so (seniors) feel more comfortable contacting us.”
Athens Police Chief Aaron Stencil said the crowd was small for the meeting in his community, but residents asked him many questions about contractor, mail and phone scams. Stencil advises seniors to not invest in get-rich-quick schemes because police struggle to find the people responsible after they’ve gotten away. He recently tracked a scam all the way to Canada before the case ran into a dead end.
“It’s frustrating because we’ve had people here get scammed and we try to track stuff down, but the money often leaves the country,” Stencil said.
Assistant District Attorney Sydney Brubacher saw a need for elder abuse education in Marathon County and suggested a model based on senior-focused community programs in Illinois where he attended law school.
Brubacher said people can face criminal charges for stealing from an elderly person whose finances they oversee. Many reports of theft from seniors previously were handled as civil cases, but Brubacher wants seniors to know that Wisconsin law regards theft from elders as a felony offense.
Laws also make it illegal for a person to allow a senior citizen to be subjected to physical or mental abuse, Brubacher said. He recently prosecuted a case of a suspect who yelled at and threw a phone at his elderly father in a business parking lot.
Elder abuse hotline

Do you know an elderly person who is the subject of abuse or is the victim of a crime?
Contact the North Central Health Care elder abuse hotline at:
1-715-841-5160 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-715-841-5160      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       or          1-855-487-3338 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-855-487-3338      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       to report the abuse.

SOURCE:    Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

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