Seniors Learn to Prevent Attacks, Money Scams

Seniors Learn to Prevent Attacks, Money Scams

By Leonard Sparks

Helen Kwasinowicz normally walks close to buildings and keeps her car doors unlocked when out shopping.
The 92-year-old is now rethinking those habits after sitting through a three-hour forum held Wednesday morning to educate Sullivan County seniors about defending themselves from physical attacks and protecting themselves from emotional abuse and financial scams.
“You take everything for granted, that everybody’s honest,” said Kwasinowicz, who lives in the hamlet of Willowemoc. “But they’re not.”
The forum, organized by TRIAD, an organization dedicated to preventing elder abuse and violence against seniors, drew about 50 seniors to the Ted Stroebel Center in Monticello. Speakers included District Attorney Jim Farrell and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Friends and Advocates for Mental Health.
“The whole point is prevention of any kind of abuse and the improvement of the quality of life,” said Bonnie Lewis, coordinator of TRIAD, a program of Cornell Cooperative, in collaboration with the Sullivan County Office for the Aging.
Awareness of surroundings is the best safety strategy, said Pete Tweed, former Monticello Parks and Recreation director, during his 30-minute presentation on safety and self-defense.
Suggestions also included walking in the middle of sidewalks to avoid surprise ambushes from people hiding in alleys or between parked cars. Seniors should also lock car doors when out shopping and park in well-lit areas, he said.
Should a confrontation occur, he said, seniors should either try to talk themselves out of the situation, run or scream. Yelling “fire” is particularly effective, he said, because other people are more likely to respond.
“Some people say it’s against the law,” he said. “But saving your life is not against the law,” he said.
He also demonstrated techniques for fighting back, all requiring little strength. They included low kicks to the knee and using thumbs to impair attackers’ eyes. He also showed seniors an easy way to dislocate an assailant’s wrist.
“This is important, especially to seniors who are not as agile and don’t have the strength that a younger person has,” said Ernest Danenberg, 89, who lives near Monticello with his wife, Thelma Flaxman, 87.

SOURCE:    The Record Online

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Senior Crime Busters and Financial Planning

Who’s Afraid of Probate, Senior Crime Busters and Financial Planning
Senior citizens face many legal issues unique to their ages and situations.
Managing debt in retirement—a hot topic for senior citizens—wasn’t even on the radar screen 10 years ago.  Now that, and new issues such as Internet-based identity theft and 401Ks, are among the concerns facing today’s older residents. 
Some have been created by the current economic climate, others by the new world of social networking.
Those topics and perennial issues such as estate law, financial planning, navigating the medical system and wills and trusts draw consistent interest, says attorney Steven A. Schurkman, a principal member of Keane & Beane law firm in White Plains and author of Elder Law Q&A: Answers to Questions About Estate and Financial Planning, Health Care Planning and Elder Abuse.
Gary S. Brown, Esq., the Director of Communications and Policy Research with the New York State Consumer Protection Bureau, says he knows things have changed because of the reaction he got at a recent workshop for Hudson Valley seniors.
“A few years ago, when I would ask how many people in the room use computers, no one raised their hand. Now, more hands than not go up,” Brown says.
 Brown wants seniors who use the Internet to be aware of identity theft—and wants them all to shred documents.
In addition to phone safety and charities fraud, he singles out the new  “grandson scam,” a con aimed at the elderly where a caller claims to be a relative—usually a grandchild—and asks to have money wired immediately to take care of an emergency. Don’t be taken in by anyone on the phone or on email, he says.
 He and other legal and financial experts recently talked about these issues at Senior Law Day at the Westchester County center in White Plains, legal and financial experts were on hand to provide free advice to an estimated 250 seniors at the 11th Annual Senior Law Day Oct. 14 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. 
Each year, new elder law topics are added to a growing list of workshops determined by the needs of the elder community. Changes to tax and power of attorney laws and New York’s new Family Health Care Decision Act were two new topics and were addressed by workshops entitled “How the New Tax Laws Will Affect You and Yours” and “What Happens If I Can’t make Medical Decisions?”
Westchester Commissioner Mae Carpenter —who has served the county’s seniors for the past 31 years— is a rock star among the seniors she champions.
In addition to her message of empowerment, she always repeats her mantra: “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” 



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Don’t Forget the Elderly When They Need Your Care

Don’t forget the elderly when they need your care
26 OCTOBER 2010

The hate love relationship that often exists between the media and the politicians appears to be yet continuing occasionally gathering momentum especially when some officious law enforcing officer decides to act with high handed efficiency and the naturally irritated press takes umbrage and various political parties decide that this is a glorious opportunity or them to add their critical dismay!
While this situation provides for amusement, criticism or irritation depending on the political stance of the readers another factor that is a fairly common source of amusement is the continuing concern among ministers and deputy ministers to gain brownie points especially since soon it will be November and chances are that when the President takes oath for a new term of office he may decide to appoint others to positions of ministerial importance.
As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them. Mental or physical ailments may make them more trying companions for the people who live with them. Many elders are abused in diverse ways by their own family members and, most often in their own homes where abusers are apt to be adult children; other family members such as grandchildren; or spouses/partners of elders. Institutional settings especially long-term care facilities can also be sources of elder abuse. Abuse of elders takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involving neglect, and others involving financial chicanery. Often aged parents are pressurized to write their wills especially the house they live in, in favour of the adult child who often with his family is living with them, and when that is done a certain metamorphosis takes place in the attitude of the adult child and his family.
It is difficult to take care of a senior when he or she has many different needs, and it’s difficult to be elderly when age brings with it infirmities and dependence. Both the demands of caregiving and the needs of the elder can create situations in which abuse is more likely to occur. Furthermore these issues are more compounded when financial constraints prevent proper or necessary health care for the elderly.
Would it not be possible for the government to make some arrangement with the Ceylon Insurance Corporation  to take a small percentage from the monthly pensions of government servants to cover the  health costs needed when they fall sick. This will reduce any burden that their children will have to bear and also make the elderly less vulnerable to neglect . Furthermore, since it is mandatory for all private sector companies to pay EPF. The same system can be worked out in association with the Insurance corporation. Moreover since now great publicity is being given to Farmers and Fishermen’s pensions and moves are being made even to have a pension scheme for the self employed,  providing a health coverage for all pension holders with suitable and graduated premiums will enable the elderly to have more security and less neglect in their old age.
Essentially what is needed to help the elderly is to set up an Authority  with the assistance and the expertise of organizations  like Helpage so that the elderly feel that they are recognized for all the services they have given to society in the best years of their lives.

SOURCE:  The Daily Mirror, UK


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Estate Planning for Blended Families
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a NJ Estate Planning and Administration Attorney Many people don’t get serious about estate planning until they are well into middle age.  By then, some of them are part of blended families:  they are marries, and one or both spouses have children from previous families.  Estate planning in such families can […]

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act (INDIA)

Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act 2007 : WHEN
1 January 2010

Traditional norms and values of the Indian society laid stress on providing care for the elderly. However, due to withering of the joint family system, a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family. Consequently, many older persons, particularly widowed women are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support. This clearly reveals that ageing has become a major social challenge and there is a need to give more attention to the care and protection for the older persons. Though the parents can claim maintenance under the Section 125 of the Cr Pc and Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA) BUT the procedure is both time-consuming as well as expensive. Hence, there is need to have simple, inexpensive
and speedy provisions to claim maintenance for parents. The Indian Parliament felt that the elderly and senior citizens of the country required care and attention and also protection of their life and liberty. It further felt that the young generation was failing in its duty to take adequate care of its elderly citizens, including 
parents, relatives or other members of the society, who have turned old and infirm and whose population in 2009 is estimated 90 millions.

The major benefits in the act includes : Monthly maintenance upto Rs. 10,000/- , punishment of Rs.5000/- or jail for three months or both for not paying the monthly allowance by children’s or relative, 90
days time bound disposal,no need of advocate, a 3rd party intervention possible , to first resolve the differences and disputes between parents and children amicably, medical facility , protection of life and property , old age homes in every districts etc…

Lets give Justice to our Elders, lets give Love, Care & Respect to our
parents .Say NO TO ELDER ABUSE.



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Elders Warned of Rising Crime

October 22, 2010
DA tells seniors they must be vigilant
Warning that more elderly residents are falling victim to crime, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter urged an audience of senior citizens and their caregivers to be more vigilant for all forms of abuse, including scams by strangers, unscrupulous insurance companies and the neglect and coercion of some relatives.

“Crimes against elders are rising and they’re rising because the elder population is rising,” Sutter told the annual elder abuse prevention conference Thursday sponsored by the Attleboro TRIAD.

More than 100 people gathered at the LaSalette Shrine Welcome Center to hear Mary Richardson, the former WCVB-TV Chronicle anchor and current liaison for Caritas Health Care, lead a discussion about the dangers faced by the elderly community.

“Many more seniors today I think are alert and are aware. They know a scam when they see one,” Richardson said. “Although it still happens.”

Richardson said the elderly have the right not to be pressured, not to be bullied, and the right to make their own decisions about their life and their finances. 

Assistant District Attorneys Paul Machado and Silvia Rudman touched on some of the laws protecting the elderly and ways to prevent victimization.

“There’s often a combination of neglect and financial benefit,” Rudman said. “There are some laws that have been created because we have become acutely aware of how seniors have become taken advantage of.”

Those laws include reckless endangerment and assault and battery of an elder person, she said.

“It can be avoided if you reach out to your community. It can be avoided if you make sure that your loved ones have regular care,” Rudman said.

Lucilia Prates, a representative from the Senior Medical Patrol addressed health care fraud, and stressed the importance of reading Medicare statements to look for fraudulent charges.

“Health care errors cost billions of dollars – your dollars, your tax dollars,” Prates said. “Massachusetts has been designated as one of the top 18 states where fraud is committed in the health care system.” 

Speakers stressed that preventing crimes against the elderly begins with awareness. Knowing about a scam ahead of time can help seniors avoid becoming victims.

Registrar of Probate Gina DeRossi spoke of important legal issues involving living wills and knowing the limits of granting the power of attorney.

Sutter said a 10 percent cut in his office’s budget has reduced his ability to fight abuse.

“For law enforcement, it’s trying to do the same job with less resources,” he said.

“I learned that there is only so much you can do with less,” Sutter said. “The more we can prevent crime the more we can save money on prosecuting crime.”

SOURCE:    The Sun Chronicle

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Fife Not Alone In Facing Care Homes Dilemma (UK)

Fife Council is far from alone in having to rethink how older people are cared for, according to the representative body for private and voluntary care homes
Councillors meet today to discuss plans that could eventually see all 10 of the council’s residential care homes closed and alternatives sought in the private and not-for-profit sector.
With that in mind, Ranald Mair, the chief executive of theprivate sector group Scottish Care, said all councils are taking a long, hard look at what services they provide, but the current financial situation means the status quo doesn’t appear to be an option for Fife.
He said, “We know local authorities will face huge pressures and one of the main areas councils will have to look at is whether or not they maintain in-house provision or buy care from the private or not-for-profit sector where there is usually a significantly lower cost.

“It’s not just a question Fife facing public sector finance cutbacks and where to make savings: if the council is to continue being a direct provider, they will have to spend a lot of money redeveloping as their buildings are no longer fit for purpose.
“It’s a double whammy and though Fife is unique in many ways, nationally this may be one way councils can try to get as much value as they can.
“The important thing is to safeguard the public and Courier readers will want to be satisfied they or their relatives are not getting lower quality of care in the private or not-for-profit sector.


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Advocating An Interfaith Response to Elder Abuse

Written by Mary Beth Hislop – Town Crier Staff Writer  
20 OCTOBER 2010
It’s no big secret that America’s citizens are aging. During the 1900s, the U.S. population 65 and under tripled, while those 65 and above increased eleven-fold – from 3.1 million in 1900 to 33.2 million in 1994.
The numbers supplied by the Foundation for Health in Aging aren’t any big secret to Adult Protective Services, which estimates that the nation’s 65-and-older populace will double to 70 million – one in five people will be a senior citizen – by 2030. That same age group will double in California by 2020.
And it’s no big secret that many of the elderly will require assistance with daily-living tasks. If the statistics hold, between 1 million and 2 million of them will be victims of elder abuse each year. The big secret is that 90 percent of the abusers are family members. Worse, one in five cases isn’t reported. It’s a number that shocks Betty Malks.
“This is a crime,” she said. “This is the crime of the 21st century. Elder abuse is increasing all over the world. And people are getting older all over the world.”
As director of Santa Clara County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services for 12 years, Malks knows the numbers only too well.
Today, Malks is project director for Protecting Our Elders, a Santa Clara County Mental Health Department program that focuses on educating interfaith communities about elder abuse.
With more than 700 congregations in the county, it’s an approach with promise, according to Los Altos resident Margriet DeLange, a gerontolologist and the program’s community organizer.

To report a suspected case of elder abuse, call Santa Clara County Adult Protective Services at (800) 414-2002.
“(The phone line is) manned 24/7,” Malks said. “And we have live people answering the phone.”
In most cases, the agency investigates reports within 24 hours, with an understanding of and respect for seniors’ rights to self-determination.
“We do whatever we can to keep (seniors) in the home,” Malks said, “and get the perp out.”

For more information, call 269-2589 or visit

SOURCE:    LosAltosOnline


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Hospice, Social Services and Nursing Homes Provide Services for Elders (USA)

Hospice, Social Services and nursing homes provide services for elders

By Callie Jones, Journal-Advocate staff writer
Adult protective services, hospice and nursing homes were among the topics discussed at a presentation at Northeastern Junior College on Tuesday, part of the “Takes More Than Love” series.
NJC and Sterling Federal Credit Union are sponsoring the series, which wraps up next week with a presentation on “Social and Recreational Opportunities.”
This week, Betty Zimmerman, supervisor for Logan County Social Services Adult Protective Services program, spoke about the program for at-risk adults.
An at-risk adult is someone who is: Unable to protect themselves; unable to perform or arrange for services that will help them protect their health and safety; and/or lacks sufficient understanding or lacks the capacity to make or communicate decisions that keep them safe and healthy.

If someone has a concern about someone else they can call Social Services and ask them to assess that person to see if they need some help.

To avoid financial abuse:

• Watch out for people who are eager to manage or take control of your finances;
• Don’t sign documents giving control of your finances to someone else without checking with a family member or someone you trust;
• Don’t commit large summons of money to anyone without talking to someone else first;
• Make sure that friends and relatives check on you frequently to make sure you’re okay;
• Don’t allow yourself to be isolated from friends, family or other people in your community;
• Consider direct deposits for any of your monthly income;
• Have your bank statements sent to you and someone else so they can check for unusual activity;
• Always have someone review documents you don’t understand when you’re asked to sign something.
When Social Services gets a referral they will contact the adult that was reported and ask them questions to see if that person understands what’s going on. If they don’t understand what’s going on then Social Services will probably contact a trusted family member and explain the situation. 

SOURCE:    The Journal Advocate


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