What Elder Abuse? We Do Not Have Them! (International)

What Elder Abuse? We Do Not Have Them! (International)

By Andrew Chadwick

Yes, this appear to be the stance many politicians are taking. “Don’t you know there is an global financial crisis?”

It is as though a financial crisis just completely “wiped out” child abuse, elder abuse, and other social abhorrences.

My question is simply- Why the various countries have allowed the crisis to occur in the first place?

I may be naïve, but I believe that governments have allowed the “fat cats” to plunge our economies to the present depth of sorrows. There must be lessons learnt, and it is now up to the various governments to do more than bankroll the guilty parties.

Coming back to funding cuts to various social services, especially those that will affect the welfare of the most vulnerable in our society; children and elderly.

As this blog is about Elder Abuse, I will just comment on this issue. The plight of many elderly who had been abused is real. Their pains and trauma do not disappear according to the health of the economy.

We must not allow ourselves to be de-sensitized to the plight of the frail and needy in good times or bad.

One email from a visitor to this site, brought tears to my eyes. In that email, this man outlined how he was systematically conned out of his retirement fund, by none other than his own son. The last line of his email states:

“ I am nearing 78 years, now without any retirement funds……..I have all but lost hope.”

Let us continue to be human. Let us NOT de-humanized the frail and the needy, by forgetting them and deprive them of help and services; even in times of economic downturn.

We now read, on a daily basis, about budget cuts to a range of services. This is happening all over the world.

My Plea:

Let us speak up for the frail and vulnerable in our society. We may be the ones who would need those vital social services in the near future.


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Summit Aims to Educate Clergy Members about Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

26 June, 2009

An educational summit was held in Cupertino Thursday to train clergy members on how to look for signs of elder abuse.

According to the Mercury News, clergy members were added to a state list of “mandated reporters” five years ago and are required by law to report to authorities if they suspect abuse or neglect of seniors.

But despite the new law, organizers of the abuse summit say the problem is continuing to grow and that no reports of abuse have been filed by any clergy members in the county since then. Betty Malks, project director of the Elder Abuse and Neglect Initiative, says it is very important for churches to be educated about this issue because elders have the highest church attendance rates.

According to Malks, sixty to ninety percent of all cases involve family members. Malk says financial elder abuse is a hidden crime that often goes unreported. National statistics show only one in 100 cases are ever reported.

“That’s due to the shame and humiliation that’s involved with financial abuse especially if it’s in your family. You know, many people will say to me, ‘I didn’t raise my kids to do this,’” said Malks.

In Santa Clara County, Malks says 39 to 40 percent of all reports made to adult protective services involve elder abuse.

The Mercury News reports there are an estimated 700 churches, temples and mosques in the county. Malks hopes that by working with these faith-based organizations, more awareness will be spread about the problem.


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How Banks, Marketers Aid Elder Scams (

July 1, 2009

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how difficult it was for our family to stop con artists from scamming an elderly relative who was convinced that he was on the verge of winning big lottery and sweepstakes prizes.

Digging into our family’s experience yielded another surprise: Some common business practices may have actually helped the scams continue, such as the sale of direct marketing lists and banks’ moves to automatically cover overdrafts—an issue that President Barack Obama has flagged for attention under his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

When our relative began to fall behind on bills, he agreed to give power of attorney to a son, who started paying the mortgage and other big bills, as well as reducing the amount available in his dad’s checking account. What the son didn’t count on was that the bank would automatically cover up to several hundred dollars a month of his father’s overdrafts, which essentially gave him more money to send to scammers. In addition, he was charged $33 for every overdraft—running up hundreds of dollars in fees. When the son called Sovereign Bank, his father’s longtime bank, he was told that the protection was standard and that he couldn’t turn it off.

Steven Mantelli, Sovereign’s senior vice president for retail banking, says the bank provides overdraft protection “on a courtesy basis” for customers, and it isn’t typically shut off. But in isolated situations, he says, the bank will stop it.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal – USA
An interesting article. Please go to SOURCE for full-text.

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Panel Focuses on the Dangers of Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Panel focuses on the dangers of elder abuse

By Michelle Knight


Esperanza Boggs, 89, lost everything after her son, David Boggs, 51, set fire to their Camarillo home and killed himself on June 11.

Described by his mother as armed and dangerous, David Boggs had been under investigation for alleged elder abuse, accused of holding his mother a virtual hostage for years in their home and embezzling $211,000 from her.

He set the home ablaze shortly after Ventura County deputies arrived at the mobile home to serve him with court papers to move out.

Esperanza Boggs’ story, although more extreme than most, is familiar to social workers who deal with the increasing problem of elder abuse in Ventura County.

To help protect the county’s growing senior population, a panel of experts recently addressed how the elderly can protect themselves from abuse, financial and otherwise, during a discussion at the Goebel Senior Center in Thousand Oaks.

Marcy Snider, coordinator of Ventura County Human Services Agency’s adult protective services, said her agency received 2,100 referrals of elder abuse last year.

“This year, we’ll easily surpass that,” Snider said.

Social workers with adult protective services investigate neglect or abuse and connect elderly victims to resources in the community. The statemandated program is voluntary, free of charge and available to those 65 and older.

Many referrals to the agency involve caregivers not taking proper care of their elderly charges, Snider said. But financial abuse of seniors has become the No. 1 complaint in the past four months, she said.

Snider described an elderly woman in the East County who was lonely and befriended by a salesperson over the phone. Eventually the salesperson scammed her out of $50,000. Scam artists have duped money from retired teachers, lawyers and other well-educated professionals.

Family members and friends have also taken advantage of the elderly, Snider said. Caregivers have bought groceries for the senior but also for themselves and have filled up their gasoline tank on the senior’s credit card. The elderly person may have poor eyesight and not notice the extra charges on the statement. A friend or family member may steal blank checks from the bottom of the senior’s checkbook so they won’t be missed right away.

To report elder or dependent adult abuse, call the 24-hour hotline at (805) 654-3200.

To talk to Pollara, call (805) 654-2505.


SOURCE: Camarillo Acorn – Camarillo,CA,USA

Please go to SOURCE for more information and helpful tips.

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Police Need Help Finding a Woman Accused of Elder Abuse (CA. USA)

Bakersfield police need help finding a woman accused of elder abuse

6/24 /2009

Bakersfield Police need help finding a woman accused of victimizing an elderly person.

Police say the suspect stole property, and money from the victim’s northeast Bakersfield home.

The suspect is 24-year-old Lauren Ruth Vance, the incident she’s wanted for stems from a burglary in April where authorities say Vance was familiar with the elderly victim, and cased the home prior to burglarizing it. “The elderly are more vulnerable, they come from a time period where they want to trust people.” said Detective Mary DeGeare with the Bakersfield Police Department.

It’s that trust police say may have been violated Vance allegedly broke into a home in April, stealing money, and property from an elderly resident.

“She knew them, she was familiar with their habits, with their assets, and waited until they were not home, and planned and participated in the burglary.” said DeGeare.

Police say Vance is wanted for residential burglary, grand theft and financial elder abuse.

“Financial abuse to an elder is financial suicide.” said Sandy Morris, with the BPD’s crime prevention unit.

Morris say in these types of situations, where the suspect knows the victim, then takes advantage of them, it can be especially damaging.

“If you and I get taken advantage of, we buy something that’s bogus and we have to recoup the money, we can go to work tomorrow and make it back.” said Morris.

“But a senior has no way of doing that.”

That’s why Morris says it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your elderly residents.

If you have any information on this case, or know the whereabouts of Lauren Vance.
You are asked to call police at 327-7111.

SOURCE: KGET 17 – Bakersfield,CA,USA

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Families of Elder Abuse Victims Using Technology to Spread Awareness

June 29, 2009

By Thomas Gallivan

June 29, 2009

The families of elder abuse victims are using social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, to gain support for reform in long-term care facilities. The group, which was founded by family member’s personally affected by alleged abuse in a Minnesota nursing home, can be found by conducting a search for “Families Against Nursing Home Abuse” on any of these sites.

The group members describe themselves as being “committed to providing information and resources for the continuum of long-term care — from successful aging, to aging in the home, to assisted living, to hospice care, as well as nursing home care.”

Those interested in becoming members of the group can join online, or call Jan Reshetar at 402-4749 or Myrna Sorensen at 383-6963.

SOURCE: NY Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Elderly in Costa Rica Seen As Family’s “Petty Cash” (Costa Rica)

Elderly In Costa Rica Seen As Family’s “Petty Cash”

Contrary to popular belief, in Costa Rica the children don’t always maintain their parents when they reach retirement age. A new study shows that some 100.000 Costa Rican families live off the savings and pensions of their elderly family members.

The study “Primer Informe sobre la Persona Adulta Mayor” by the Centro Centroamericano de Población (CCP) of the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), shows that a third of the elderly in Costa Rica maintain up to 35% of the expenditures of their children, that includes paying for university tuition for their grandchildren and utility bills for the family.

The study took into account the responses of 2.000 senior citizens and numbers from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC).

The report reveals that is the case of the 100.000 Costa Ricans over the age of 65, a population that concerned itself with savings and now are earning interest, in addition have a pension and many continue to work.

Luis Rosero, director of the CCP and study coordinator, says this group has up to three sources of income and are easily converted into the “petty cash” of the family.

Rosero said that families with university age children finding it difficult to meet their financial burden often turn to older family members for assistance, and as such the senior assumes part of the family’s economic burden.

Although in many cases the elderly make their financial contribution voluntarily, for Zulema Villalta, legal advisor to the Comisión Nacional de la Persona Adulta Mayor, the report indicates that there could be cases of abuse of the elderly.

Villalta says that in many times children abuse the situation.

SOURCE: Inside Costa Rica – San Jose,Costa Rica

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A Call for Stiff Penalties for those who Abuse the Elderly (USA)

Stiff Penalties for those who Abuse the Elderly

Grand Rapids Press Editorial

June 19, 2009

As the population ages, the problem of elder abuse is expected to spread. Stiff penalties for abusers might help keep the problem in check.

The four-month jail term meted out this week in an Ottawa County case of shocking elder abuse has put a spotlight on a largely hidden social problem. While child abuse and domestic violence have rightly been elevated in the public eye, the abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly warrants attention as well. That’s especially true as the population nationally and in Michigan grows grayer.

What’s more, the jail term given Ottawa County resident Carol Maneke for leaving her father in squalid living conditions has prompted criticism about whether the punishment fits the crime. Her father, Max Canfield, 87, died in a hospital in 2006, a week after being taken out of a filthy Tallmadge Township duplex. Maneke lived in the adjacent half of the duplex and was her father’s legal guardian. According to relatives and police, he died from malnutrition-related weakness. It’s ironic and disconcerting that Maneke was sentenced on Monday, which was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The authorities got involved in this case after Mr. Canfield’s granddaughter said she was not allowed to see him and became concerned about his welfare. Police and social workers found the decorated World War II veteran lying on a soiled mattress with adult diapers, trash, pop cans and animal feces all around. They had to tape and seal their pant legs before entering the roach-infested duplex.

Maneke’s prosecution on charges of vulnerable adult abuse was delayed in part because she moved to Pennsylvania and authorities had trouble finding her. She could have received up to nine months in jail, according to sentencing guidelines for her conviction on a charge of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse. Police looked at whether Maneke could be charged with some form of homicide but decided the evidence did not support it because Mr. Canfield had other medical issues that may have contributed to his decline.

Nevertheless, the high end of the more modest charge certainly would have sent a stronger message that sub-standard care for the elderly is not acceptable.

Because studies show that the most likely abusers of the elderly are their own family members, it’s a problem that can go unnoticed and unreported. National statistics suggest only one in five cases is reported.

We can all play a role in making Michigan a safe place to grow old by being as vigilant about elder abuse as we are becoming about child abuse and domestic violence. Our senior’s golden years should not be tarnished by abuse, neglect and exploitation. Those who cross the line by abusing the elderly should pay an appropriate price. Our courts should see to that.


SOURCE: MLive.com


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Alzheimer Families Feeling ‘Betrayed’ as Respite Centre Shuts (Ireland)

Alzheimer families feeling ‘betrayed’ as respite centre shuts

By Andrew Phelan

June 25 2009

OPPOSITION is growing over the latest hospital closure to hit the health service — the summer shutting of a newly refurbished respite care unit at Cherry Orchard.

At least 25 families caring for elderly relatives including Alzheimer’s sufferers will be affected by the imminent move by the HSE.

Fearing disruption to the respite services, they are mounting a protest campaign demanding that the closure of the Beech Unit be called off, and claiming they had been “betrayed” by the Government.

Families from Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Palmerstown are all set to be affected and some patients claim they have been told to look for private care in homes in Harold’s Cross and Lucan.

But the HSE denied that the unit would close “indefinitely”, insisting it would be up and running as normal again in October. The Executive also said those who could not be relocated elsewhere in the hospital would be sent to nursing homes as close as possible to where they lived.

A protest was mounted outside the hospital gates on June 19. A public meeting will be held in Ballyfermot next Tuesday to discuss the planned cuts and to organise support.

Lesley Gaynor, one of the main organisers of the campaign, said he had been inundated with phone calls since the announcement was made.


Lesley and his family care for his father-in-law and mother-in-law in their house on Kylemore Road and he says the short breaks they get thanks to the respite care are “a godsend”.

A spokesperson for the HSE blamed the closure on a combination of summer being “peak holiday period” and large numbers of staff being absent on maternity leave

SOURCE: Herald.ie – Dublin,Ireland
Family carers must be given the support to enable them to take regular breaks from the daunting tasks they undertake. Some studies indicated that carer’s fatigue might lead to elder abuse.
I do not thing we can begin to understand the toll of these dedicated family carers. Those in government must ensure that these carers are given the support; afterall, they are really saving the community a lot of money in undertaking those caring tasks.

………………. AC

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