Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fighting to Honor a Father's Last Wish: To Die at Home

Joseph Andrey was 5 years old in 1927 when his impoverished mother sold him to the manager of a popular vaudeville act. He was 91 last year when he told the story again, propped in a wheelchair in the rehabilitation unit of a nursing home where it seemed as though age and infirmity had put a different kind of price on his head.
Craning his neck, he sought the eyes of his daughter, Maureen Stefanides, who had promised to get him out of this place. “I want to go home, to my books and my music,” he said, his voice whispery but intense.
He was still her handsome father, the song-and-dance man of her childhood, with a full head of wavy hair and blue eyes that lit up when he talked. But he was gaunt now, warped like a weathered plank, perhaps by late effects of an old stroke, certainly by muscle atrophy and bad circulation in his legs.
Now she was determined to fulfill her father’s dearest wish, the wish so common among frail, elderly people: to die at home.
Her father had been discharged by a hospital to a nursing home like this one, supposedly for rehabilitation, so many times that even she had lost count. The stays, long or short, had only left him weaker, harder to care for at home with a shrinking allotment of help from aides and more prone to the infections that sent him back to the hospital.
This time she had fiercely opposed his being discharged to anywhere but home, a small walk-up apartment in Manhattan that her parents shared for half a century before her mother’s death. Yet over her protests and his own, he had been transferred here anyway, to Jewish Home Lifecare in Morningside Heights, a sprawling institution an hour from where she lived. Later, he would ask, “Are you sure you didn’t put me here?”
“No matter what I do, they want you in a nursing home,” Ms. Stefanides told him, promising the placement would be temporary. “I think they’re making money off you.”
Records would show that her father’s case let the nursing home collect $682.48 a day from Medicare, about five times the cost of a day of home care.
Full Article and Source:
Fighting to Honor a Father's Last Wish:  To Die at Home

Finding Humane Care at the End of Life

As the story of Joseph Andrey's last months shows, many Americans will end their lives in surroundings that only add to their misery. Those who hoped to die in their own beds are often forced into nursing homes, some of which mistreat patients. Even if home care is arranged, it too can be substandard, even abusive. And those who hope for government guidance can find unreliable information.

What can be done to ensure that the elderly get the care they want and need, particularly in their dying days?

Richard Mallott:  Government Must Enforce Standards for Elder Care

Carol Rodat:  Home Aides for the Elderly Need Better Standards and Training

Karen D. Lincoln:  Minorities are Forced into Nursing Homes at Greater Rates

Joan M. Teno:  Profits Place Treatment Over Humane Care for Elderly

David Gifford:  Families Can Plan Ahead to Improve Care for the Elderly

Joanne Lynn:  A Whole New System of Oversight is Needed for Elder Care

Finding Humane Care at End of Life

Woman Sentenced to 6-Years for Financial Exploitation of Senior With Memory Loss

A Murphysboro woman has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for financially taking advantage of a senior citizen.

Celeste A. Locke, 49, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of financial exploitation of an elderly person. Authorities said the victim was in his 80's and had difficulty with memory loss.

Prosecutors claim Locke told the victim several different stories, including that her husband had passed away and that she was in need of medical procedures. She promised to repay the money after receiving a large settlement. Detectives learned the victim had sent Locke more than $5,000 and that his bank accounts had nearly been depleted.

Locke was arrested in June. Jackson County State's Attorney Mike Carr says Locke admitted that she had never been married, hadn't had any medical procedures performed, and was not going to receive any settlement money. Carr says Locke also told investigators she used some of the money from the victim to support a drug addiction.

In addition to her 6-year prison sentence, Locke will also serve two years of mandatory supervised release.

Full Article and Source:
Murphysboro Woman Sentenced to 6-Years for Financial Exploitation

Friday, September 26, 2014

Santa Clara County Public Guardian, Don Moody, Escorted Out of Building

A high-ranking Santa Clara County official was placed on paid leave Thursday in the wake of a report that pointed to widespread dysfunction under his watch.

Don Moody, the public administrator/guardian/conservator, was escorted out of his office, sources tell San Jose Inside. County spokeswoman Gwen Mitchell confirmed that Moody was relieved of his duties for the time being but declined to elaborate.

“He’s out on leave, and it’s a personnel matter,” she said. “That’s all I can say.”

Moody came on board nearly six years ago as head of the Public Guardian’s office, a branch of the Social Services Administration (SSA) that takes financial control of adults who are unable to care for themselves and with no family or friends to care for them. His termination comes weeks after the county placed another SSA official—John Vartanian, director of the Department of Child Support Services—on paid leave for racking up travel rewards using public money.

During his tenure, Moody’s department has repeatedly come under scrutiny by the media, the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury and internal audits.

A grand jury report out this summer—the second in as many years—noted that Moody fails to track the amount of work and number of clients he handles. The people he hires to manage clients’ property don’t go through a thorough background check, the report found. Instead of having a panel of experts determine whether to assume control of a person’s estate, effectively revoking their civil rights, the decision lies with one person. And for years, countless referrals from the court have reportedly fallen through the cracks.

The latest grand jury report was spurred by a complaint that the office mishandled a case in which a client died before being conserved by the county.

Full Article and Source:
Santa Clara County Public Guardian Escorted Out of Building

Northshore Live: Coopers Corner - Ken Ditkowsky

Northshore Live:  Cooper's Corner - Ken Ditkowsky, August 7, 2014

Bond Set for Caretaker Charged With Financial Exploitation of Illinois Woman in Hospice

Multiple felony charges have been filed against a Chicago woman accused of stealing from two DuPage County women, one of which was a Winfield woman confined to hospice care in her home, according to a news release from the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

Latesha Miller, 37, has been charged with continuing a financial crimes enterprise, aggravated identity theft, financial exploitation of a person, financial institution fraud, forgery and theft, the release stated.

In August 2013, Miller worked as a certified nursing assistant at the Spring Meadows senior living facility in Naperville, where she allegedly stole an 86 year-old resident’s credit card and several checks, according to the release.

While working for a home health care agency, Miller was assigned to care for a hospice patient from Aug. 19 to 21, 2014, in Winfield. While caring for the woman, who has since passed away, Miller allegedly stole two checks that were both written out to an acquaintance, the release stated.

Bond was set at $300,000 for Miller, whose next court appearance will be Sept. 29 in front of Judge Kathryn Creswell.

Full Article and Source:
Bond Set for Caretaker Charged With Financial Exploitation of Naperville-Winfield Woman

Senator Susan Collins Honored for Her Work for Alzheimer's

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was honored by Women Against Alzheimer's, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to help fight and find a cure for the disease.

The "Out of the Shadows" award was presented to Collins at an inaugural dinner aimed at celebrating leaders in the Alzheimer's movement and bringing greater attention to the disease.

The dinner featured filmmakers behind the film, "I'll Be Me," a documentary about country music legend Glen Campbell and his struggle with Alzheimer's.

Campbell's story was featured during a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing last year on Alzheimer's disease.
Collins serves as ranking member of that committee and is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Alzheimer's Task Force. Fighting Alzheimer's disease is among her top priorities in the U.S. Senate.

"I am extremely proud to be the first recipient of the Women Against Alzheimer's 'Out of the Shadows' award," Collins said in a prepared statement. "So many families like mine have experienced the pain of Alzheimer's, and that number is growing exponentially as our population ages."

Collins Receives Award for Alzheimer's Work

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse Hearing: Alameda County Bailiff Says He Can Overrule Judge's Order!

On September 12, 2014, this Examiner attended a hearing on the Conservatorship of Elinor Frerichs in the Berkley, CA courthouse. Prior to the hearing, Judge Sandra K. Bean approved and signed the Order on Media Request to Permit Coverage posted at left.

The bailiff in Department 201, Deputy G. Resedes, refused to allow media coverage of the hearing. Deputy Resedes stated that he had authority to overrule an order by a judge. The deputy then refused to provide his badge number.

Alameda County residents who are concerned about freedom of the press can contact Court Executive Officer Leah T. Wilson.

On September 13, 2014, this Examiner sent the following complaint and public records request to Court Executive Officer Leah T. Wilson with copies to Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Leah T. Wilson
Executive Officer
René C. Davidson / Alameda County Courthouse
1225 Fallon St. Oakland, CA 94612 
Dear Ms. Wilson,
RE: Complaint and public records request 
Please accept this letter as a complaint concerning inappropriate conduct by a bailiff with the apparent intent and with the actual result of obstructing the First Amendment right of freedom of the press. Also accept this letter as a public records request for any documents that specify or authorize such behavior of bailiffs with regard to interactions with members of the press....  
On September, 12, 2014, I arrived at Department 201 prior to 9:30 AM, presented my signed order (MC-510) to the Clerk of the Court, and began opening my tripod in a back corner of the court room. A Deputy G. Resedes approached, and in a hostile tone of voice he ordered that I was not allowed to record. I showed Deputy Resedes my signed order, but he again stated that I was not allowed to video. I packed my tripod and moved to the front row of the court room, where I joined a group of elder rights advocates observing the proceedings.  
Deputy Recedes again approached me and stated that I was not a member of the press, 'You are just doing it for yourself.'  
I took the liberty of asking Deputy Recedes, 'Do you have authority to overrule an order from a judge?' 
The deputy replied, 'Yes. If you want my badge number, you can get it from the judge.'....
Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse Hearing:  Alameda County Bailiff Says He Can Overrule Judge's Order

Virginia: Senior Guardianship Regulations at Issue in the Courts

Arcadius Hakim, 94, of Bailey’s Crossroads served in the U.S. Navy and later became an ear, nose and throat physician, practicing for nearly 50 years and amassing a pretty hefty nest egg. But when he developed dementia in his 80’s and then married a significantly younger woman, his family quarreled about who was to be in charge of Hakim’s finances, and eventually he was appointed a third-party conservator and guardian by a Fairfax County judge.

“My dad is a wonderful guy,” said Dr. John Hakim, a cardiologist and one of three children of Arcadius Hakim. “But when his house burned down in 2002 and he married a much younger woman, we as family members got concerned, and were unsure of how to manage him.”

The McLean law firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack became Arcadius Hakim’s legal guardians and conservators in 2006, something that is not uncommon in Virginia. A guardian is often needed to care for an incapacitated adult, an adult with mental health issues or a senior who has diminished mental capacity. Additionally, in Virginia a conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage the incapacitated adult’s finances and property when they no longer can.

According to Susan Pollack of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, her law firm specializes in these types of cases, and especially in ones that have familial complications or are considered difficult to manage.
Legal guardian and conservatorship matters are billed at the firm’s professional rates, which can be hundreds of dollars per hour. Virginia Code § 64.2-1208 allows any appointed guardian reasonable compensation for services rendered to an incapacitated adult, but there is no specific definition of “reasonable compensation.”.

Fairfax County Circuit Court Commissioner of Accounts John Rust supervises the billing process by these types of law firms in these cases and for the last few years, the Hakim family has been embroiled in litigation that stemmed from findings issued by Rust in 2011 that some of the fees charged to the Hakim estate by NMP were disproportionate.

Rust concluded in his findings that it was unreasonable for NMP to charge legal rates for non-legal tasks and demanded the firm return $67,358 to the Hakim estate.

Now-retired Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Alden ordered a review of the billings, which was then taken before Judge Randy Bellows. The case may soon finally be decided by the Supreme Court.

“They charged my father’s estate $500 to attend a funeral,” said John Hakim. “In other cases, they were charging his estate $200-$300 an hour just to make a phone call on his behalf.”

But NMP’s attorney Bernard DiMuro says all of the charges for services in the Hakim case were reasonable, and that any non-legal tasks were charged accordingly, and not at professional attorney’s rates.

“When NMP was appointed, there was a specific finding and ruling that it could charge professional rates because of the complexity of the case,” he said. “But non-legal tasks were not charged at professional legal rates.”

Full Article and Source:
Senior Guardianship Regulation at Issue in the Courts

Could a Caregiver Corps Solve the Caregiving Shortage?

A recent report from AARP found that we are on the verge of facing a major caregiver shortage in the not-so-distant future. According to their report, in 2010, there were "more than 7 potential caregivers for every person in the high-risk years of 80-plus" and by 2030, the projected ratio will fall to 4 people for every person 80-plus. And by 2050, "it is expected to further fall to less than 3 to 1."

Aging in place has become an important part of aging in America. Whether due to the struggling economy, comfort or deeper personal reasons, people simply do not want to spend their later years in nursing homes or assisted living facilities; they prefer to grow old in their own homes, usually with the help of their grown children. For the last decade or so, this has been made possible thanks to their children and amenities offered by both private companies and local governments to assist the elderly with aging in place.

Baby Boomers, however, may not be as lucky. Boomer women had fewer children than their parents and some opted out of having children at all. Combine that with higher divorce rates -- by 2030, 36 percent of older men will have been alone for a decade or longer -- and we've got a Caregiver shortage crisis on our hands.

Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat out of Pennsylvania, sits on the U.S. Senate Aging Committee and has spent many hours listening to the testimony of people who are struggling to care for aging parents. Based on what he's heard, he's working on developing a National Caregiver Corps. According to a press release on Senator Casey's website, he plans "to introduce legislation to establish a Caregiver Corps program to foster the creation of community-based programs that can help 'fill the gap' in assisting older adults and individuals with disabilities, and in providing added support for informal caregivers." The goal of the program is to ease the burden of low-income and middle class families who have been struggling with how to balance work and family responsibility.

Volunteers who participate in the program would receive specific guidelines and structure from the Department of Health and Human Services in order to provide assistance to families by "cleaning, preparing food or even shopping for people who want to remain at home" as they age, as well as respite care for existing family caregivers. The proposal also includes providing volunteers with a stipend, tuition credit or even academic credits.

Full Article and Source:
Could a Caregiver Corps Solve the Caregiving Shortage?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Financial Abuse by Profiteering Guardians Awaits Boomers and Heirs

In May 2008, Larry Mills filed in Texas to become legal guardian of his then 80-year-old mother, Willie Joe Mills, who’d had a stroke. But by July 2009, Judge William McCulloch in a Harris County probate court appointed a third-party guardian who was also an attorney.

“The guardian put Mama in memory care with dementia people, then he sold her house for $86,000, cashed out $1 million in CDs and put it all in a trust before she was declared incompetent,” said Sherry Johnson, who is one of three of Mills’s adult children. “She never had a trial or due process.”

The nightmare Willie Joe Mills and her heirs experienced is part of a growing trend. Some 37% of judges, court managers and clerks who responded to a Center for Elders and the Courts survey revealed that guardianship filings have increased over the last three years and 43% noted an increase in caseloads.

In most states, it is not uncommon for the elderly to lose their individual rights around residence, medical care, assets and property once they are placed under guardianship. The consequences can be detrimental for families -- financially and in terms of the older relative's health.

Lasting Effects of the Swindle
Willie Joe Mills’s trust was reportedly billed on a quarterly basis by the guardian to pay his monthly salary to manage the elderly woman's affairs, but Johnson claims her mother’s health began failing once she was placed under care at Silverado Senior Living in Kenwood, Texas.

“She had pneumonia and urinary tract infections and the facility medical staff failed to treat her because the guardian told them not to,” said Johnson. “The guardian used a Do Not Resuscitate document my mother signed to avoid treating minor health problems that could have been arrested.”

“We are seeing financial exploitation of the elderly by court appointed third-party guardians where there is little oversight,” said Debby Valdez, president of Guardianship Reform Advocates for the Disabled and Elderly (GRADE) in San Antonio, Texas.

Money Talks
“Baby Boomers are the last generation of great wealth, so it stands to reason that things are going to get a whole lot worse and quickly,” said Elaine Renoire, president of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse in Indiana.

Help That Hurts
Typically, Adult Protective Services (APS) is the first point of contact responsible for investigating alleged abuse.

“When APS receives reports of elder abuse, case workers go into the home to investigate and ameliorate the situation with legal, medical, psychological and social services,” said Karen Roberto, director with the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech.

And therein lies another potential for abuse in states where anyone can reportedly initiate a guardianship by simply placing a telephone call to the probate court.“We receive two to three phone calls a week from families whose elderly parent or family member is being forced into guardianship under the guise of protection by an APS phone call or visit,” Valdez told MainStreet.

Full Article and Source:
Financial Abuse by Profiteering Guardians Awaits Boomers and Heirs

See Also:
NASGA:  Willie Jo Mills - Texas Victim

Boomers Beware of Guardianship Abuse

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps: Victim Denied Contact With NASGA Advocate

Elder rights advocates across the country are concerned about  elder Abuse in Oakland, CA.

Conservator Scott Phipps of Phisco Fiduciary is responsible for unlawful isolation of his conservatee, Elinor Frerichs (91). Following instructions from Phipps, assisted living facility Lakeside Park denies Elinor visitors and phone calls. Elinor has been unlawfully confined and isolated for the past two years.

Elaine Renoire, President of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA), called Lakeside Park and asked to speak to Elinor. Lakeside Park committed elder abuse and violated state licensing regulations by denying Renoire’s phone call. Phipps perpetrated further elder abuse against Elinor by denying all calls and visits.

On September 15, 2014, Renoire wrote:
Dear Mr. Phipps,
I just called Lakeside Parks to speak with Elinor Frerichs and was told I must go to you for permission to speak with her and that you will then notify the facility that it’s ok; and then I can speak with her. So, I am coming to you. Will you please advise Lakeside that I’ll be calling back to speak with Elinor tomorrow and that it’s OK for me to speak with her? 
Thank you in advance,
Elaine Renoire

NASGA – National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse
On September 16, 2014, Phipps wrote:
Ms. Renoire:
Due to your association with Linda Kincaid, a known associate of Kennett Taylor and who is also associated with (according to your email) I am going to deny your phone call and any visit with Elinor. 
Scott Phipps, MDiv, CLPF, NCG
CA Licensed Professional Fiduciary #11
Fiduciary Services: Trustee, Estate Administration, Conservator, Power of Attorney, Bill Pay Assistance/Daily Money Management.
510-508-9588 mobile 510-315-6993 fax
484 Lake Park Avenue #20
Oakland CA 94610 USA
On September 16 2014, Renoire wrote:
Dear Mr. Phipps,
Thank you for your response, although a quite puzzling response.
Just to set the record straight, I am not asking to speak to Linda Kincaid nor Kennett Taylor nor am I asking on their behalf for them to speak with Elinor Friechs.
I am the president of NASGA; and in that capacity, I am asking to speak to Elinor Frerichs on my behalf and my behalf alone. 
It is presumptuous of you to assume that NASGA (a nationally recognized organization seeking reform of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships) would cause Elinor any upset in any way. We advocate for the elderly and adult disabled, Mr. Phipps, – not against them.   
I therefore renew my request to call Lakeside Parks and be able to speak with Elinor Freichs on the telephone.
Elaine Renoire
President, NASGA
On September 16, 2014, Phipps wrote:
Ms. Renoire:
My decision stands. 
Scott S.H. Phipps, MDiv, CLPF, NCG
CA Licensed Professional Fiduciary #11
Fiduciary Services: Trustee, Estate Administration, Conservator, Power of Attorney, Bill Pay Assistance/Daily Money Management.
510-508-9588 mobile 510-315-6993 fax
484 Lake Park Avenue #20
Oakland CA 94610 USA

As of this writing, Phipps allows Elinor no visitors and no phone calls. Scott Phipps can be contacted at

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps:  Victim Denied Contact With NASGA Advocate

See Also:
NASGA:  Elinor Frerichs - California Victim

Indiana: Grant Will Help Guardianship Program Stay Alive

Reid Hospital officials saw a need in the community this week and filled it.

Through the hospital's Reid Community Benefit Grant Program, officials donated $48,500 to Achieva Resources for its Adult Guardianship Program.

The money, said Achieva director Dan Stewart, will be used to help the program hire a part-time driver, to send three staff members to guardianship certification training, to update computer equipment and to develop a guardianship resource library.

Mostly, it will help keep the program alive.

"You don't know what this money means to us," Stewart told Reid officials during a ceremony Thursday at Achieva. "We need it to survive."

Stewart said his agency has identified 650 people living in Wayne County who need guardianship services for health care and assistance with their finances.

"Achieva has three goals for our program," he said. "We want all of the individuals in our guardianship program to live in a safe place, receive quality health care and support, and most of all, to be happy."

The guardianship program is built on grants, including one from the Indiana Supreme Court for $38,500 that requires support from county government for the three counties it serves.

Full Article and Source:
Grant Will Help Guardianship Program Stay Alive

Alaska: New Task Force Focuses on Stopping Abuse of Elders, Vulnerable Adults

Focused on Alaska's justice system's response to elders and other vulnerable adults, Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe established an Elder Task Force.

The Elder Task Force will be made up of eleven members who represent the legal and social services community and have expertise in elder law issues.

They will address issues of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of Alaska's elder population.

In a statement through the Alaska Court System, Chief Justice Fabe said  "As our society ages, the court must be prepared to respond to the functional limitations and changes in capacity associated with longevity. I am hopeful that the Elder Task Force will be able to make specific recommendations for reforms in the way the court handles these cases, in particular addressing improvements to the adult guardianship and conservatorship system and the training we provide to guardians."

The group will be chaired by Alaska Supreme Court Justice Daniel Winfree.

Here are the names of the Elder Task Force:
Alaska Supreme Court Justice Daniel Winfree, Chair
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth
Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Bethany Harbison
Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg
Anchorage Magistrate Judge Jack Duggan
Anchorage Magistrate Judge Una Gandbhir
Alaska Court System Deputy Director Doug Wooliver
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Executive Director Jeff Jessee
Office of Public Advocacy Director Richard Allen
Chair of the Elder Section of the Alaska Bar Association Ilona Bessenyey
Court Visitor Marieann Vassar

Full Article and Source:
New Task Force Focuses on Stopping Abuse of Elders, Vulnerable Adults

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps: National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse Speaks Out

Elder rights advocates across the country are rallying to support elder abuse victim Elinor Frerichs of Oakland, CA. Elinor’s conservator, Scott Phipps of Phisco Fiduciary, denies Elinor contact with her family, friends, and elder rights advocates. Phipps alleges that he is “protecting” Elinor from some unspecified potential threat posed by Elinor’s friends and the advocates that seek to secure Elinor’s civil rights.

Elaine Renoire, president of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, sent the letter below to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Renoire asked the Board to support Elinor’s right to attend her court hearing on September 12, 2014.

The Supervisors did not support Elinor’s right to attend her hearing. Phipps did not allow Elinor to attend her hearing. The court made an adverse ruling on Elinor’s right to visitation, based on false information from Phipps and the attorneys who support Phipps’ abusive actions.

"Dear Board of Supervisors:
As you know, isolating an elderly person is one of the paramount signs of elder abuse. And yet unscrupulous conservators have long isolated their wards for years with impunity, as if they are above the law by virtue of their title. For this reason, AB937, a bill which clearly defined conservatorship wards’ rights to have visitors (family, friends, clergy, advocates, etc.), phone calls and mail, was introduced and quickly passed last year to combat this growing problem.

The state legislature overwhelmingly supported AB937 and were outraged that the system would allow such cruel mistreatment of California’s elderly.

I hope you will be equally appalled to know that 91-year Elinor Frerichs has already been isolated from family and friends for two long years. Try to imagine the torture this woman has endured because her conservator, Scott Phipps, and assisted living facility, Lakeside Park, deny her visitors and phone calls. And now, conservator Phipps will be going to court 9/12/14 asking for an order to continue this abuse.

NASGA would ask you to consider:
1. That some or all of you attend the hearing scheduled for 9/12/14 at which time conservator Phipps will be asking the court for approval to keep Elinor Freichs in isolation until the day she dies;
2. That you contact conservator Phipps to reiterate that his ward, Elinor Frerichs, attend and be heard at this important hearing which will decide her fate; and
3: That you encourage Community Care Licensing to pursue revocation of facility licenses when they continue to isolate the elderly after they have received fair warning.

Elder abuse is elder abuse whether the perpetrator is a stranger, a professional, a caregiver, family --- or a court-appointed conservator. Conservatorship wards are wards of the state of California and the state has a duty to protect them.

Elaine Renoire
NASGA – National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse"

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps:  National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse Speaks Out

Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps: Civil Rights Advocate Sarah Harvey Speaks Out

Civil rights advocates across the country are speaking out against elder abuse by Scott Phipps of Phisco Fiduaciary. Phipps keeps conservatee Elinor Frerichs confined and isolated at Lakeside Park assisted living facility in Oakland, CA.

California’s Notice of Conservatee’s Rights states that conservatees have the right to visitors. California’s Probate Code was amended through Assembly Bill 937 (2013) to clarify that conservatees have the right to visitation, phone calls, and personal mail. With very few exceptions, Phipps denies Elinor all contact with the outside world.

The Notice of Conservatee’s Rights states that conservatees have the right to ask the judge to replace the conservator. The Notice further states the conservatee has the right to ask the judge to end the conservatorship.

Elinor had a court hearing on September 12, 2104 in which Phipps asked the judge to take away Elinor’s right to visitation. In interviews on September 3 and September 5, 2014, Elinor stated to this Examiner that she wished to attend her hearing and she wished to ask the judge to replace Phipps as her conservator. Elder rights advocates from across the country urged Phipps to allow Elinor her right to attend her hearing and address the judge.

New York civil rights advocate [Sarah Harvey} sent the following email to Scott Phipps:
"Mr. Phipps, 
You did not allow Elinor Frerichs to attend her hearing on Friday Sept 12, and you did not present her wishes to the court. Rather, Mr. Phipps, you asked the court to take away her right to visitation so that she would be cut off from family, friends and elder advocates. 
Mr. Phipps, please visit your client Elinor Frerichs and allow other people to visit her as it is her wish and what is in her best interest. Isolation is a form of torture. Show some compassion.|
Sara Harvey
Wife of NY victim Gary Harvey"
Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Scott Phipps:  Civil Rights Advocate Sara Harvey Speaks Out

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Conservator Scott Phipps: Elder Advocate Diane Wilson Speaks Out

Elder rights advocates across the country are speaking out against elder abuse by Scott Phipps of Phisco Fiduciary.  Phipps caught the attention of advocates by placing Elinor Frerichs (91) at Lakeside Park, a locked dementia facility in Oakland, CA. Elinor was not diagnosed with dementia. She is alert, oriented, and feisty.

Phipps’ instructed Lakeside Park to isolate Elinor. No visitors. No phone calls. Community Care Licensing cautioned the facility they could lose their license if they continued to violate Elinor’s rights. 

Phipps retaliated by filing a petition with the court to take away Elinor’s right to visitation. The intent of the petition was to legitimize his abuse of Elinor.
Elder advocate Diane Wilson, daughter of elder abuse victim Dorothy Wilson, sent the following email to Scott Phipps.
"To Scott Phipps: 
I was appalled when I read the story of Elinor Frerich and the fact that you refused to allow Elinor to attend her own hearing; you also asked the court to take away her rights to visitation from friends and elder advocates. Why would you do such a thing? Why do you want to hurt another human being? Freedom is a God-given right, one that man or woman cannot take away from another human being without breaking every universal law there is.
I decided to do some research and read a little bit about you. According to your website you state the following:  
‘My goal is to keep you in control of your money; assist you in times of transition and when the time comes, honor the wishes and intent of your will or trust.’ 
‘Phisco Fiduciary helps people maintain maximum independence and self-reliance by providing assistance with financial affairs – from day-to-day matters to wills, estates and trusts…and everything in between. We adhere to the highest Fiduciary standards and practices; advocate and protect clients’ civil & legal rights strictly abide the code of ethics of the Professional Fiduciary Bureau, and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California.’ 
I read that you also served as a minister. The job of a minister is to "minister" to the needs of people; to serve God and help people, not to destroy them. You also say that you will advocate and protect your clients’ civil and legal rights. Please, Mr. Phipps, honor the words you speak and set Elinor free.
Diane Wilson
NASGA Member
Daughter of Dorothy Wilson"
Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Conservator Scott Phipps:  Elder Advocate Diane Wilson Speaks Out

Monday, September 22, 2014

MA: Elder Advocates Raise Concerns on Assisted Living

In Stoughton, an elderly woman walked out of a locked dementia unit at an assisted living residence in May, wandered into another room and fell from a second-story window.

That same month, at a Framingham assisted living facility, two staffers were arrested for allegedly slapping and pinching two elderly residents who have Alzheimer’s, and filming a third who was partly undressed.

In July, an 88-year-old man with a history of falling, and who had a tube in his chest for dialysis treatment, apparently tripped in the bathroom of his Revere assisted living residence and bled to death before staffers reached him.

Residents in Massachusetts assisted living facilities are in harm’s way too often, and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the state agency charged with overseeing the 224 residences, is ill-equipped to protect these increasingly frail residents, elder advocates say.

Even a key staffer at the agency is worried. Peter Antonellis, compliance officer at Elder Affairs who inspects the facilities, said the agency has just two ombudsmen to handle the thousands of complaints that pour in each year involving assisted living residences.

State data show that Elder Affairs has suspended just three assisted living residences for serious infractions since 2008 — an action that merely prevents the facilities from accepting new residents until they fix identified problems.

“I think most elders and their families think this is a regulated industry, but we don’t have the staff to regulate it,” Antonellis said.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Advocates Raise Concerns on Assisted Living

As Connecticut's Population Ages, Elder Abuse Rises

As Connecticut’s population ages, a disturbing statistic is emerging in the state: Abuse of the elderly is on the rise and nationwide, millions of seniors are at risk every year.

Many seniors are not reporting the abuse because the vast majority of abusers are family members, most often adult children, spouses, partners and others, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Connecticut’s population is the seventh oldest in the nation, with 14 percent of state residents over 65, and 27 percent turning 65 during the next 15 years. And as Connecticut goes gray, an increase in the rate of abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled state residents is following, social services and health care professionals say.

Legislation passed last year focuses on elder abuse. Deb Migneault, Senior Policy Analyst at Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging, said in an e-mailed comment, “Connecticut’s demographics reflect a rapidly aging population. Without intervention, cases of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation will continue to grow.

info on Protective Services:
“This program is designed to safeguard people 60 years and older from physical, mental and emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment and/or financial abuse and exploitation. DSS social workers devise a plan of care aimed at assuring an elder’s safety while preserving the person’s right of self-determination,” it says.

“Staff may help the person remain in the living situation he or she prefers, safeguard legal rights, prevent bodily injury or harm, determine service needs and then mobilize resources to provide necessary services.”

The Social Work service plan may include crisis intervention, arranging for and coordinating any of the following services: adult day-care, companionship, counseling, homemaker, home health care, home-delivered meals, and long-term care or, if necessary, emergency convalescent placement.

Full Article and Source:
As Connecticut's Population Ages, Elder Abuse Rises

Study Shows Financial Exploitation of Oregon's Elderly Climbs 18%

Nearly half of the people who exploit the finances of elderly Oregonians are members of their own families, according to a new study.

Financial exploitation allegations in Oregon increased by 18 percent between 2012 and 2013, based on the study of 623 reports on the suspected crimes. That was just a sampling of 2,929 reports documenting nearly 4,000 abuse allegations.

"Family relationships accounted for 46 percent of all substantiated perpetrators of financial exploitation," according to a news release heralding a comprehensive study by the state Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations. "Beyond family members, the second most common type of alleged perpetrator was acquaintances, followed closely by non-relative caregivers."

The subject of elder financial exploitation recently struck a chord in Oregon. Steve Duin,  The Oregonian's metro columnist,  wrote about financial shenanigans  that caused an elderly Portland couple – Elmo and Meliitta Marquette – to be paid $22,000 for a piece of property worth 10 times that much.

The study revealed that bank employees and family members of victims were the most likely to report financial exploitation.

Full Article and Source:
Financial Exploitation of Oregon's Elderly Climbs 18%, Study Shows

See Also:
Two Acres, Two Neighboring Couples, and a $200,000 Misunderstanding

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Brandy Beyer of the Beyer Foundation

Join us as Brandy Beyer talks about the guardianship of her father starting 1999 when he retired. 

Throughout the years issues with guardianship and family members and the interference of the corrupt legal system have caused a great deal of distress.

We will be discussing the corrupt justice system in the state of Illinois as it relates to guardianship and the elderly.  The Beyer Foundation.  
Support  Advocate  Prevent
The Beyer Foundation was founded in 2014 by Brandy L. Beyer. 

The Beyer Foundation is a registered non profit organization. Our mission to prevent elder abuse and financial exploitation through research, advocacy, public and professional awareness, interdisciplinary exchange, and coalition building.

The Beyer Foundation is based out of Lake County, Illinois and is proud to serve Lake and McHenry County.

Elder Abuse is a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation and despair.

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Northshore "Live" - Cooper's Corner: Investigative Journalist Michael Volpe

Investigative journalist joins Bev Cooper to detail his recent investigations into guardian abuse both in Chicago and in Memphis, Tennessee.

Volpe is the author of two books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild" and "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers", and Volpe will talk about Norman Hughes, a Korean and Vietnam War veteran who is being held against his will in a nursing home in Memphis, and Mildred Willis, whose family recently lost their home on the order of the Cook County Public Guardian.

Source:  Investigative Journalist Michael Volpe

See Also:
T.S. Radio:  Tonight A Special Show With Reporter Michael Volpe:  Systemic Corruption in Family and Probate Courts

Korean Vietnam War Vet Inside VA System Held Against His Will

Korean War Veteran Norman Hughes Makes Passionate Plea to Go Home. He is Being Held Against His Will in Assisted Living

How the Cook County Public Guardian's Office Can Take Your Home

The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers

TX: Probate Judge Guy Herman Retires, Knowing He'll Be Re-Elected

Longtime Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman wanted to take some time off before starting his eighth term next year -- time to brush up on his Spanish, exercise, perhaps do some traveling. So he decided to quit his job.

His last day of work will be Sept. 22. Come November, though, Herman will run unopposed for probate judge and is guaranteed to win his old seat back.

What Herman calls a much-needed "sabbatical" is highly unusual, but he says it's designed to save the county money and allow him to take a vacation that doesn't include responding to work emails and calls.

But Herman didn't think about one potential hitch in his plan: The 65-year-old can choose whether to start receiving retirement benefits once he quits.

Federal rules don't allow the distribution of such benefits if an employee retires but expects or has an agreement to be rehired by the same employer. That's because the Internal Revenue Service wants tax-exempt money in an employee's pension to pay for retirement and not pad regular paychecks.

An employee who breaks the rules has to return any benefit distributions, or the entire retirement plan that all Travis County employees participate in could be at risk of being disqualified by the IRS. Participants then would have to pay taxes when they contribute and distributed benefits would also get taxed.

Herman said in an interview this week that he hadn't considered whether it could be problematic for him to receive retirement benefits after he quits. He said he hadn't decided whether to receive his benefits, but that if he couldn't get the money, it would be "no big deal," since the savings in his retirement account would only grow.

"I want a sabbatical. I've got a sabbatical," Herman said. "So that's my focus right now. Rest. Relaxation."

Herman later referred other questions to Buck Wood, a prominent Austin lawyer who's been advising Herman on his resignation and related issues. Wood said that running for re-election hardly constitutes an "agreement" for Herman to return to work, and that if Herman did start drawing retirement benefits, there's no way the IRS would get involved in such a small-potatoes matter.

"We may have some disagreement with the retirement system," Wood said, later adding, "If he decides to do it, and if they decide to make an issue about it, I'm going to be very surprised."

A statement from the Texas County and District Retirement System said state law requires that an employee have a "bona fide" termination to legally receive benefits -- a criteria that isn't met if the employee plans to return as an elected official.

Travis County employees contribute 7 percent of each paycheck to their retirement, and the county matches each dollar with $2.25. To access retirement benefits, an employee must quit, fill out a retirement application and choose a monthly payment plan. Employees must meet eligibility requirements based on age and years of service to retire.

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to accept Herman's resignation, which was submitted Aug. 29.

The Commissioners Court also voted to appoint Associate Probate Judge Dan Prashner to replace Herman as probate judge, as recommended by Herman in his resignation letter. Prashner's pay, currently at $115,360, will increase to $158,000, the base salary for probate judges written into state law.

Herman, whose salary is $196,367, said in his resignation letter that he expects Prashner to then appoint a new, temporary associate judge. Prashner will return to his associate judge seat after the election.

Herman said he may not run for just one but two more terms, if he's rejuvenated enough by his time away from work, but said he hasn't seriously thought that far ahead.

Full Article and Source:
Travis Probate Judge Guy Herman retires, knowing he'll be re-elected

Protecting Special Needs Kids Financially

More than 56 million Americans have some type of disability, according to the Census Bureau.

Autism, for example, affects one in 50 children. For parents of a child with a disability, the great fear is: "What happens when we're gone?"

One answer: Set up a trust for the child.

To support a special-needs child during and beyond your lifetime requires truly special planning. Not only are there more costs and uncertainties but also heavier emotional weight. Many families simply avoid the process: Only 21% of parents with special-needs kids say they are familiar with the planning steps, even though most worry about their children's lifelong financial security, according to a 2011 by MetLife Center for Special Needs Planning.

(The MetLife survey reports some caregivers do tackle planning today: 38% have a will, 36% have planned for future housing for their special-needs dependent and 32% have identified a trustee. Those percentages are up from a similar survey in 2005.)

When setting up a special-needs trust:
1. Know what type of trust you need. Two kinds of special-needs trusts exist: self-settled and third-party. If a disabled child creates his or her own trust, it's self-settled. Parents of disabled children create third-party trusts.

2. Choose a trustee. This overseer distributes the trust funds to your child. Advisors suggest a combination of a family member and corporate trustee: The family member understands the child's needs and the corporate trustee has expertise to manage the funds.

3. Plan for funding the trust. Parents' life insurance policies often fund the trust, as do retirement accounts or real estate.

4. Inform other family members. Families sometimes neglect to tell other family members about the trust or, crucially, educate them how it works.

5. Do test runs. Make sure everyone knows the rules of maintaining a trust.

Full Article and Source:
Protecting Special Needs Kids Financially

See Also:
NASGA:  Some Scoop on Trusts