Marathon County Helps Seniors Avoid Scams (USA)

Marathon County Helps Seniors Avoid Scams (USA)

Marathon County helps seniors avoid scams

Jun. 5, 2011
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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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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



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Abuse of Older People Increasing (I.E)

Health bits: Abuse of older people increasing
May 23 2011
There were 2,110 complaints of abuse of older people reported to the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year but this is likely to be an underestimate.
Oonagh McAteer, an elder abuse officer with the HSE, said the real incidence could be five times higher than this.
Psychological abuse is the main problem, followed by financial abuse in nearly one-in-five cases. More than one in 10 were suffering physical abuse.

SOURCE:    The

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3 Cases Revealed, But Elder Abuse Largely Hidden (USA)

3 cases revealed, but elder abuse largely hidden

May 08, 2011
Donna Tower’s uncle told his family that someone was stealing his money, but the family didn’t believe him at first because he has Alzheimer’s.
In the end, the family learned that he was telling the truth – that the administrator of a Winterville nursing home was taking his money, and his brother’s, but no one would believe him.
“(She) had been taking their checks and we didn’t realize it,” Tower said. “My uncle with Alzheimer’s had said someone was stealing his money all along, but we just brushed it off because we thought it was just in his mind.”
Sherrye Dianne Huff, former administrator of the Winterville Retirement Center, was arrested Monday on five felony charges – three counts of theft and two counts of exploiting an elderly or disabled person – and one count of misdemeanor theft for stealing from the Alzheimer’s patient.
The investigator, Winterville police Sgt. Jimmy Fulcher, discovered while looking into the theft case that elder abuse is more widespread than people realize.
He arrested another Winterville Retirement Center employee on charges she punched another Alzheimer’s patient in the face for taking some butter off a food cart in the facility’s dining hall.
The 82-year-old resident died a few weeks later and authorities are investigating to see if her death was related to the assault.
Soon after, police say another employee of the Winterville Retirement Center stole drugs that had been prescribed for the patient who died, and police later found out the administrator was stealing money from other residents.
The three cases of abuse and financial exploitation happened in less than three months.
“More than likely, (elder abuse) it’s more widespread than we know,” said Fulcher, who last week launched a fourth investigation into the possible theft of money from another Winterville Retirement Center resident.

The first case Fulcher investigated at Winterville Retirement Center happened Feb. 22, when employee Cynthia Ann Barrow punched the Alzheimer’s patient, then told police that she only pushed the woman, who then slipped.

“Elder abuse is one of the most unrecognized and under-reported crimes,” said Ravae Graham, a deputy director with the state Department of Human Services. “Many abuse victims don’t realize it, don’t know what to do about it, or are too afraid to report their abuse or neglect.”

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that for each documented case of neglect or abuse, five cases go unreported.
Though people place trust in professionals to take care of their loved ones, relatives need to look for signs of abuse, according to an Athens woman, who took her mother out of an area nursing home after only a month when she discovered employees weren’t giving her mother the medication she needed.

Complaints about abuse or neglect can be made with the ORS online at

Anyone who suspects that elder abuse is occurring should call Adult Protective Services at (888) 774-0152 or the state Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division at (800) 878-8442.



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Senior Citizens Deserve to be Protected (USA)

April 30, 2011

No one of decent character would argue that elder abuse isn’t just plain disgusting.

The thought of someone taking advantage of or physically harming your grandparents or someone else’s grandparents is reprehensible.

Yet thousands of senior citizens are victims of one or more of the many types of abuse existing today. It’s not a new problem, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

Fighting the problem is only right, and part of that battle is awareness. Consequently, any effort that enlightens people about the problem warrants support.

We are endorsing this year as Elder Abuse Awareness Year.

As Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a recent news release, “By raising awareness of elder abuse, the hope is to prevent crimes against vulnerable adults.”

Elder abuse includes physical and/or emotional abuse, financial exploitation and self-neglect. Statistics indicate more than 80,000 vulnerable adults in Michigan are victims of at least one form of elder abuse.

To help spotlight the problem and promote public awareness, the Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly Task Force was launched in 2005. The SAVE Task Force is a partnership among service agencies and businesses that serve the senior population, law enforcement and Oakland County Health and Human Services to protect the rights and safety of vulnerable adults.

For more information about elder abuse, visit

Anyone who suspects that someone is being abused or neglected may make an anonymous report to Adult Protective Services at 1-866-975-5010


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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.


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Elderly People ‘Underfed’ and ‘Ignored’ in Care Homes (UK)

Elderly people ‘underfed’ and ‘ignored’ in care homes

Elderly people in care are underfed, ignored and abused, an undercover investigation revealed today.
 19 Apr 2011

The alarming findings were unveiled after actors were sent into four care homes, posing as residents.
Food in two of the care homes was reported to be “unappetising and inadequate”, with one researcher losing 7lbs in weight in a week.
In some cases, residents had to wait up to 17 hours between dinner and breakfast without food, according to the investigation by consumer group Which?
One actor witnessed a member of staff dragging a resident towards the lavatory by one arm, while another resident was pushed down into their chair repeatedly by the head and shoulder when trying to stand up.
One actress said: “Resident Mary left the room and the carer brought her back roughly and put her in her seat. Later I saw the carer dragging her by one arm towards the lavatory while talking on her mobile.
“The carer has helped feed another resident Lucy over the last two days and it is not easy to watch. I’m sure Lucy would eat more if this carer gave her the time to chew rather than shovelling in huge spoons of food very quickly.
When Lucy puts up her hand to stop any more food until she has swallowed, this is taken to mean that she doesn’t want any more and the food is removed.”
The actress also reported: “One resident Joyce told a carer that she wanted to go to the loo. The carer snapped back ‘this is a dining room Joyce not a loo’. When the carers judged it was time to start moving the residents out, Joyce was not the first to go, she was third – some 25 minutes after she first asked to go to the loo. She appeared by now to be near to tears.”
Pensioner groups and charities condemned the findings, describing them as a “national scandal”.
Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “Malnutrition, long periods of isolation and examples of abuse are what we might associate with Guantánamo Bay – but not with our care homes.
“People are paying up to £800 a week for this sort of treatment – but there is no way you could call it care. It’s a national scandal that older people are being exploited in this way out in the community. We need to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. We clearly have an inspection system that isn’t up to the job and a lack of proper staff expertise. A care home should be a safe place – not one where you stand a chance of being underfed, ignored and abused.”
Michelle Mitchell, director at Age UK, said: “Care homes should be places of safety, warmth, activity and happiness and this research shows that some are falling short of this ambition. Improving poor care is not rocket science; it comes down to how people are treated when they are at their frailest, and often a warm word or extra time spent in chatting or helping can make all the difference.”
The report also raised concerns about basic health and safety in two homes, from damp and dirty facilities to exposed wires and a blocked fire escape.
And there was a ‘worrying’ lack of activity in four homes, leaving residents bored and depressed.
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said: “Old age comes to us all, and everyone living in a home has a right to expect their most basic needs to be met. Sadly, the homes we visited left a lot to be desired.”

SOURCE:     The

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