Saturday, May 21, 2016

A dream becomes a village

Friends and supporters of The Loveland Center celebrated the realization of a dream Monday, with the public unveiling of the Nancy Detert Residences at Loveland Village.

The first facility of its kind in Florida,  the 42-unit apartment complex will provide affordable, independent living for adults with developmental disabilities, many of whom are clients of Loveland's services.

“I'm so close to tears and full of goosebumps right now, when I think of all the number of people who have given to this and the importance of this cause to people with developmental disabilities and their parents and our community,” said Jim Woods, who spearheaded the local fundraising campaign that raised $4.3 million. “It's awesome, I feel so blessed.”

The $12.1 million residential complex was envisioned in 2006 by Carl Penxa, the former president and CEO at Loveland, who retired earlier this year.

“Affordable housing money is really hard to get and affordable housing money for a project nobody's ever seen before is doubly hard to get,” said state Sen. Nancy Detert, who shepherded legislation through the Legislature to allow for an apartment complex such as Loveland Village and secured state funding for its construction.

Penxa's goal is to provide a long-term housing option for developmentally disabled adults who in some cases face homelessness when they outlive their parents.

“This is a drop in the bucket for what needs to be done,” said Penxa, who estimated that in the state some 17,000 people with developmental disabilities are living with parents age 70 and older. “We don't want to see people with developmental disabilities end up homeless.”

Loveland Village is a pilot project, built to Universal Design standards for accessibility. That includes doorways wider than Americans with Disabilities Act standards and wheelchair-accessible showers in every bathroom.

Daniela Koci, president and CEO of Loveland, said the apartments also have appliances with stoves that have burner knobs on the front and refrigerators with freezers on the bottom, so a person in a wheelchair can have better access.

Kris Chynoweth, 35, of North Port, noted all that with approval.

“So far, good,” said Chynoweth, who easily navigated his wheelchair through a one-bedroom and three-bedroom model. “The bathrooms especially, they really did the bathrooms good.”

He had an interview Monday afternoon regarding his application for a one-bedroom apartment.

At least 66 adults with developmental disabilities can live in the complex, which has a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, for an occupancy of 94. By law, 80 percent of those residents must receive services from Loveland, while the other 20 percent can be live-in aides or friends of the program, like Chynoweth.

Rents are capped at 35 percent of a person's income, with the rest of the rent subsidized by HUD Section 8 certificates, obtained in partnership with the Sarasota County Housing Authority.

In the case of Loveland clients — the center serves about 150 people — that income may come from Creative Hearts, a social enterprise selling hand-made jewelry, accessories and one-of-a-kind mosaics.

Or, they could be involved with another Loveland enterprise, the Hearty Kitchen Academy, which will take advantage of a new commercial kitchen in Loveland Village to teach marketable cooking skills and possibly start a Loveland-based catering business.

People will start moving into Loveland Village June 1, Koci said. Loveland recently purchased another eight acres adjacent to its current campus with an eye toward building more residences.

“It shows what a great community can do when there's a need and certainly coming together to make a project great,” Penxa said. “What's even going to be greater is what goes on inside the apartments and inside this whole village.

“People with developmental disabilities can actually live the life they want to live, the life that they choose and be around the people that they want to be around and go out in the community and work and have a great place to live.”

Full Article & Source:
A dream becomes a village

Did suspended attorney steal funds from disabled girl?

Tampa attorney David Whigham made a career setting up special needs trusts for his clients, acting as a guardian of such trusts in at least dozens — and possibly hundreds — of cases.

However, Whigham’s law license was suspended in March 2016 after the Florida Bar accused him of stealing at least $899,431 from the Joseph E. Steurlein Revocable Living Trust.

According to court documents, the Bar accused Whigham, 48, of “causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds to be held in trust as will be shown by facts supported by the affidavits.”

The affidavits and accompanying evidence show Whigham did indeed receive nearly $900,000 into his law practice bank account but did not disperse the funds to various charities per the death of the settlor triggering the disbursement.

Whigham did disperse $200,000 to Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa but failed to disperse the remaining money to the Scottish Rite Schizophrenic Research Foundation of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Bank records show Whigham’s account was, in fact, overdrawn shortly after the Shriner’s dispersant. The Florida Bar alleges Whigham tried to pull the wool over their eyes with a series of excuses that were at first plausible, but increasingly outrageous.

Unfortunately, Whigham was also the guardian of a special needs trust set up in 2011 to benefit Emily Pike, 23, of Clermont. Pike has cerebral palsy and is mentally disabled.

According to Pike’s family, Whigham did a lousy job and seems to have lost $458,246 from her trust. The Pikes accuse Whigham of negligence, though they do not specifically accuse him of stealing the missing funds.

“We got a letter from David Whigham saying he was no longer going to be the guardian of Emily’s trust,” said Karen Pike, Emily’s mother. “We haven’t heard much else. We know he is being looked into by various people but that’s all we know right now.”

Where are all the hundreds of thousands of dollars under Whigham’s watch?

It seems only Whigham himself knows, and he isn’t talking.

Whigham could not be reached for comment, as both listed phone numbers have been disconnected.

Full Article & Source:
Did suspended attorney steal funds from disabled girl?

Moving the Boulder on Elder Justice: 5 Years of Collaboration


Last week, the Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) held its spring meeting on Capitol Hill, hosted by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. We heard from experts from across the country about milestones in three key areas—research, financial services, and spreading knowledge through training—and where the gaps remain.

As I listened to these dedicated, talented people presenting what they have learned and how they are tackling the thorny issues that elder abuse presents, it struck me that we have accomplished a great deal since the EJCC was established in 2012. We—and by ‘we’ I mean all of us who work on the issues of elder justice from our own spheres of influence—have infused new energy into the field by seeking new partners and joining together to see the work more comprehensively than ever. Law enforcement, health care, community organizations, governments, the aging network, the financial services sector, and philanthropy are all involved in doing this important work.

For the past five years, I’ve carried around a report I call my “calling card”—I’ve used it to ask for help from my colleagues at every level of government and in the private sector. In that 2011 report, titled Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance the National Response to Elder Abuse (PDF), the Government Accountability Office reported that, “[f]ederal elder justice activities have been scattered across agencies and as a whole have had a limited impact on the elder justice field; a clear indication that federal leadership in this area has been lacking.”

And it was true. But not anymore. We have worked hard to connect the dots with people, with policy and with practice, and we are seeing that approach bear fruit.

One of the main recommendations called out in the GAO report was to set up an Adult Protective Services (APS) system. We have built a federal home for APS as well as a national database so we can better understand what is happening in abuse of adults, including elders, from the perspective of the states.

In a follow-up report (PDF) in 2012, the GAO called for a national strategy to combat financial exploitation. This is also in progress. Many of their recommendations are happening, with work being done among multiple federal agencies: the Department of Justice has a comprehensive website for prosecutors and other criminal justice officials; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken steps to encourage banks and other financial institutions to identify and report suspected elder financial fraud; and financial services professionals are more aware of what suspicious activity looks like than ever before.

Bottom line: we really are doing what was needed in this nation. I may need a new calling card going forward.

My Short List:  Data, Research, and Screening

If I were asked for a short list of priorities to hand to federal officials, advocates, and to the new administration, there are three areas that I believe require the most significant focus:

Data—We need data everywhere. We need data so we can start analyzing and doing predictive modeling, and to figure out where to find aberrant behavior and abuse. There is data out there, but we have not yet harnessed our ability to pull together the datasets in the federal government to see what is actually happening and how to use that data most effectively. Predictive modeling is a great example of where we can use data not just for prevention, but to see what the data tells us in terms of behavior of older people and their abusers.

Research—We need research in every field. For example, we need research on the normal aging brain, as well as Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Not everyone who is a victim has dementia, but dementia definitely increases the risk for abuse. We need research of a variety of types to help us get better at both prevention and response. And we must identify the factors that support the resilience of older adults who are victims so we can ensure they are also survivors.

Assessment Tools and Screening—We are not yet where we need to be in screening: every professional who works with older adults in any capacity should be screening, and we need better tools. Some of the tools that have been evaluated may work, but they are too long to use in a brief doctor’s visit. We need to develop an easy-to-use tool to help us find abuse, like the mini mental state exam (PDF) External Web Site Policy used by professionals to quickly identify possible cognitive impairment.

I have a vision of recruiting pharmacists to screen for and respond to abuse—they are often trusted resources for seniors. Banks should proactively screen older customers—not just respond when they see a suspicious transaction. Aging service providers need to catch up, too. Everyone who interacts regularly with older adults—drivers who deliver meals, bankers, doctors, physical therapists, exercise class leaders—anyone who provides services to older people needs to screen for abuse.

Keep Asking People to Help: They Always Say “Yes”

Finally, I want everyone to keep asking for help. Everyone I have asked to help in these efforts says yes. Everyone wants to help.

Even the President. President Obama was our first president to speak out about elder abuse, and his administration was the first to include elder justice as a major focus of the White House Conference on Aging in 2015.

We have to continue to bring new people into the conversation. Let’s keep up the momentum—keep asking people to help.

Sometimes, when we try to tackle a problem this big and this important, it can seem impossible. It feels like pushing a boulder up a hill.

But I can tell you that we have moved this one. Progress is slow but certain. Both now and in the future we must keep pushing. At every level, in every way, we must continue to move forward and upward. Older adults deserve the dignity, independence, and security we all seek, and they are more than worth our effort.

Full Article & Source:
Moving the Boulder on Elder Justice: 5 Years of Collaboration

Friday, May 20, 2016

Accountant stole over $1M from two women who fled Germany during WWII

Richard Doren
An accountant stole over $1.1 million from the estates of two women who fled Germany during World War II, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Richard Doren, 50, as administrator to the estates, was supposed to find next of kin for the late clients but many died in the Holocaust, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.

Between 2009 and 2015, Doren took large sums of money from the estates for himself and used it to pay off a mortgage that was held in his wife’s name and her $10,000-per-month credit card bills.

“Insider theft and fraud can be committed by new and long-term employees alike — this defendant is accused of stealing from clients at the accounting firm where he worked for approximately 20 years,” DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement

Doren, who pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court, was ordered held on $300,000 bail.

Full Article & Source:
Accountant stole over $1M from two women who fled Germany during WWII

Municipal court fines collected nearly double in disgraced judge's absence

WYNNE (KATV) — The amount of money the city of Wynne is now collecting in court fines has nearly doubled compared to this time last year. Wynne's Mayor Bob Stacey said it all seems to be tied to disgraced Judge Joseph Boeckmann being removed from the bench.

Stacy said it all seems to make sense now - for years the amount of money being collected in municipal court fines had been dwindling for the city of 8,300. But the mayor of Wynne said court fines started trending upward ever since now former Judge Joseph Boeckmann started being investigated by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission for a conflict of interest in a case he presided over in 2014.

"When you double your income over the same period of time from last year, it gets your attention," said Mayor Stacy.

Mayor Stacy realized the upward trend in court fine collections when he made his monthly budget presentation to the Wynne City Council at their regularly scheduled council meeting. The numbers for April 2016 were double the amount of money collected for April 2015 - $123,462 compared to $59,465 respectively.

The nearly 100-percent increase in court fines collected appear to be the result of the Arkansas Supreme Court suspending former Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann with pay back in November 2015. Boeckmann hasn't heard a case since then and resigned earlier in May amid new findings in a JDDC investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct involving potentially dozens of young white male defendants.

"He was on the bench the whole time up to this time last year," said Stacy. "The numbers correspond - it's relatively easy to see that."

According to City of Wynne budget documents obtained by KATV, in 2005 the city collected $213,221 in municipal court fines for the whole year. The amount remained relatively the same in 2006 ($202,148), in 2007 ($194,425), and 2008 ($206,969). In 2009, Boeckmann was elected district judge and the drop off in court fine collections began with only $190,555 collected that year.

Court fines collected in 2010 were the outlier, where the collected amount went up to $206,637 - but in subsequent years, the amount of money in court fines collected dropped to $177,084 in 2011, $137,901 in 2012 and $164,630 in 2013.

In 2014, the amount of money collected in municipal court fines for Wynne increased to $208,560 and remained relatively the same in 2015 at $206,446. However the increase in the amount of money being collected by the Wynne "Administration of Justice Fund" also corresponds with the years Boeckmann was being investigated by JDDC.

JDDC began investigating Boeckmann in 2014 when the now former judge, "allowed either overtly or implicitly, family members to use his judicial position to attempt to influence a criminal investigation." In 2015, JDDC began looking into allegations of sexual misconduct involving Boeckmann giving reduced sentences or dismissing court fines in exchange for defendants performing "community service."

"Community service" involved defendants bending over and picking up cans for Boeckmann while Boeckmann photographed the defendants from the rear, according to JDDC's investigation and court files in a newly filed civil suit against Boeckmann. Often times "community service" would escalate to where defendants would be photographed clothed and unclothed in requested poses, according to court documents.

Gary Green, the attorney representing four civil suit plaintiffs suing Boeckmann for emotional damages, said he has since received phone calls from two currently incarcerated men who both claim similar treatment from Boeckmann dating back to the 1980s. Green said the two are now contemplating filing a lawsuit for post-conviction relief, claiming they received unfair trials.

"I'm not happy about it, and it's an embarrassment as well," said Mayor Stacy.

Stacy said if court fines continue to be collected at the rate they've been collected at so far this year, the city of Wynne could collect more than $300,000 in municipal court fines - close to $100,000 more than last year.

Full Article & Source:
Municipal court fines collected nearly double in disgraced judge's absence

Senator Susan Collins enlists state regulators to pass bill to strengthen senior financial protection

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., called on state securities regulators on Monday to help her advance a bill that would make it easier for financial professionals to report exploitation of seniors.

Ms. Collins' legislation would provide liability protection for people working for financial firms and the firms themselves for notifying appropriate agencies when they suspect that elderly clients are the targets of a scam.

The measure was introduced last fall and has seven bipartisan cosponsors. But the legislation will need more support in order for it to be brought up and passed by the Senate Banking Committee and acted on by the full Senate, Ms. Collins said.

“I'm optimistic that if we can show greater interest in the bill, we can get it approved by the Senate,” Ms. Collins said in a speech at a North American Securities Administrators Association conference in Washington.

She hopes the full Senate would approve the bill by voice vote and the House would take it up in a lame-duck session late this fall.

State regulators have made senior financial abuse a priority, and NASAA approved a model rule that is now being considered by individual states.

Ms. Collins urged the state officials to push for her federal bill during meetings on Capitol Hill with lawmakers.

“You can make the difference on whether this bill passes,” said Ms. Collins, chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. “We need your help in pushing the bill over the finish line. What a difference that will make to our seniors.”

The legislation is based on a program in her home state called Senior Safe.

Under the initiative, credit union and bank employees have received training in spotting elder financial abuse. Over the two years that it has been in place, more than 50 referrals have been made regarding suspected abuse to agencies such as Adult Protective Services.

A federal bill would put protections in place for financial-abuse reporting more efficiently across 50 states and augment NASAA's state-by-state efforts, said Ronald Long, director of regulatory affairs and elder client initiatives at Wells Fargo Advisors.

“To have the federal government interested in taking on this issue is fabulous,” said Mr. Long, who attended the NASAA conference. “This moves the ball soon on a number of issues.”

Ms. Collins anticipates support on both sides of the aisle for the bill, which addresses the $2.9 billion seniors lose annually to scams and nefarious schemes.

“This should not be a partisan issue in any way,” Ms. Collins said.

She credited NASAA, and especially a late former president of the organization, Patricia Struck, for keeping attention focused on senior financial abuse. Ms. Struck, former Wisconsin securities administrator, died in December.

Ms. Collins called senior exploitation the “crime of the 21st Century” that targets “the silver tsunami of retirees.” 

Full Article & Source:
Senator Susan Collins enlists state regulators to pass bill to strengthen senior financial protection

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Man fights to keep 104-year-old woman living at her home: 'It's her last wish'

Evan LaPointe with Audrey Roberts
For nearly all his life, Evan LaPointe has considered Audrey Roberts to be like a grandmother. So when the 104-year-old woman outlived all her retirement savings, he jumped at the chance to help.

"The way I see it, she used to watch over me and take care of me, and now it's my turn to do that for her," LaPointe, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, told TODAY.

He met Roberts when he was only 3 years old, through a foster grandparents program, where Roberts was a volunteer. 

"Whenever my parents wanted to get out or go out of town, I'd hang out with Audrey, and she would take care of me," LaPointe, 21, said. "She's like a grandma to me. So it's just like going over to grandma's house, going over there."

Now Roberts, who also outlived her husband and only child, is part of the family. LaPointe and his mother live about 10 minutes away and visit Roberts all the time, including every other Friday, to take her to a hair appointment.

"We used to have her over for Christmas and Thanksgiving, when she could get around better," LaPointe said. "But we still load up a plate for her and bring it over."

But now Roberts faces a dilemma — she's outlived all her savings.

"Throughout her life, she worked minimum wage jobs and saved almost $200,000," LaPointe said. "That was her life savings. But she'll be 105 this year. She's running out of money."

Part of the problem is that LaPointe wants to stay home instead of relocating to a nursing home, and while she can get around on her own using a walker, she has severe arthritis and still requires 24-hour care.

"And the caretakers are awesome," LaPointe said. "They even called last week and took a pay cut, so they're doing what they can to help. Everybody is. But 24-hour care... It adds up."

He launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to keep Roberts in her house, which she bought decades ago for $5,000.

"She takes pride in that house," he said.

LaPointe, who works at his family's print shop and also as a photographer, said Roberts is one of his favorite subjects.

"I love taking photos of her," he said. "She's 104 but she looks better than a lot of people in their 70s or 80s! She's an incredible woman."

Roberts told TODAY she's touched by LaPointe's efforts: "I think it's wonderful," she said.

"He's like my grandson," Roberts added. "He's always been with me. He's a great guy."

Roberts' doctor also testifies that she does better at home.   (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Man fights to keep 104-year-old woman living at her home: 'It's her last wish'

Walnut Creek hospital mistakenly diagnoses woman brain-dead

Anahita Meshkin
WALNUT CREEK -- A year ago, four John Muir Medical Center doctors told Mohammad Meshkin his daughter was brain-dead. The hospital refused to operate on Anahita Meshkin's infected, fractured hip because it said it would not be ethical to treat a dead person.

The Walnut Creek facility told the father they wanted to pull the plug on the then-29-year-old woman, who had been in a coma since 2007 after suffering a massive seizure while battling anorexia. But he wasn't ready to give up.

Before the hospital could stop treatment, Meshkin called the lawyer for Jahi McMath's family, Chris Dolan, who along with another attorney filed a temporary restraining order May 1, 2015, to block the hospital from withholding Anahita's treatment. Hours later, two UC San Francisco School of Medicine neurologists and professors conducted an independent test -- ordered by a Contra Costa Superior Court judge -- and determined Anahita was not brain-dead after all.

"She does not meet the clinical criteria for brain death," wrote physicians Wade Smith and Andrew Josephson, according to court records. They noted that she moved her head and elbow when they pinched her hands.

"You were all trying to kill her, and she's still alive," Meshkin recalled saying to hospital staff at the time.

Meshkin said he was inspired by the Jahi case to fight for his daughter, who remains in a coma in a long-term care facility. Jahi's family fought her brain-death diagnosis and won a court order to remove her from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

Meshkin's case is an example of the post-Jahi medical world. Increasingly, brain-death diagnoses are no longer taken as certainties, and new legal options exist to prolong end-of-life decisions. Meshkin is clear -- he doesn't believe his daughter is a medical miracle who recovered from brain death; rather, he believes hospitals and insurance companies are often too quick to make the declarations.

"This is their job to clear beds, and our job is to fight back," Meshkin said Tuesday as he stood beside his daughter in a Walnut Creek care center near Rossmoor. "Mr. Dolan saved Jahi. He saved (Anahita) too. He's my hero and Anahita's savior."

Dolan, who helped get Jahi released from Children's Hospital in January 2014 so she could be taken to a New Jersey care facility, said Anahita's case is another example of hospitals making decisions based on bottom lines, not science.

"In my opinion, it is an example of a physician making a resource determination and using brain death as a way to legitimize their beliefs on the quality of life and how they see this as futile," Dolan said. "Then there is their belief that better utility can be gained by organ transplantation. ... These families have relationships with their loved ones. ...

"Who are we to determine whether or not that relationship is significant enough?"

After Meshkin won the right to keep his daughter on life-support machines, John Muir performed the surgery on her hip, and she has returned to her care facility. A hospital spokesman said because of medical privacy laws and out of respect for the family's privacy, he could not comment on specifics of the case.

"What we can say is that the highly trained specialists on our medical staff adhere to a detailed protocol for determination of brain death," spokesman Ben Drew said. "The protocol exceeds the requirements mandated by state law and directly incorporates the criteria adopted by the American Academy of Neurology."

Meshkin, a 72-year-old Moraga resident, on Tuesday showed a framed photograph of his daughter taken months before she fell into the coma.

The photograph sits at the foot of the bed where his daughter lies, her black hair braided in a ponytail. Meshkin sees her twice a day, and on a recent visit he showed a reporter how when he pinches her nail bed on her right hand, her head jerks back and forth.

Meshkin's wife overdosed and died in 2011 out of grief over their youngest daughter's condition, he said. He has no plans to stop his daughter's care, despite medical professionals who question the decision.

"I'll fight as long as she does," Meshkin said. "If she quits, I will quit. But I have my hope that she'll come back."  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Walnut Creek hospital mistakenly diagnoses woman brain-dead

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Glen Campbell's Children Instigate Tennessee Law That Will Protect Elderly

This week marked a major victory for Glen Campbell's oldest children in what they claim has been an ongoing battle with their stepmother over rights to visit their ailing father. On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the Campbell/Falk Act, which protects communication rights for people who've become wards of the state and those who have conservators over their financial and living situations.

Named after the country music legend and Emmy-winning actor Peter Falk (Columbo, Murder, Inc.), the new law restricts conservators from blocking interaction with loved ones, whether it be in person or via phone, email or mail. And if the disabled person is unable to communicate — as is the case with Campbell, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer's — his or her prior relationship with the visiting person presumes consent.

Campbell's eldest daughter, Debby, and son Travis teamed with Falk's daughter, Catherine, in lobbying the government to get behind the cause. Catherine Falk claims her stepmother tried to prevent her from seeing her famous father, resulting in extensive (and expensive) legal action. Peter Falk suffered from dementia and passed away in 2011. Catherine claims her stepmother neither notified her of her father's passing, nor of his funeral.

Falk was at the Tennessee state capitol this past Monday, along with Debbie Campbell Cloyd, Travis Campbell and his wife Trudy, Marcia Southwick with Boomers Against Elder Abuse and Joseph Roubicek of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. Country legend Tanya Tucker — who dated Glen Campbell in the early Eighties and has remained a close family friend — was also in attendance to lend her outspoken support.

"If this can happen to Glen Campbell, it can happen to anyone," Trudy Campbell said at the bill's signing, as reported in a news release from Tennessee's Senate Republican Caucus. "It is a civil right and certainly a God-given right to see your child and to receive mail from them. We know that thousands of others are suffering from restrictive action by a ward and are very pleased that Tennessee has passed this law to protect them."

Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), who sponsored the bill with Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) commented that it's "heartbreaking to hear sons and daughters who cannot spend quality time with their parent after they are incapacitated and their health is in decline," adding, "We believe this new law strikes the right balance so that it protects the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens, while at the same time giving the conservator a fair process to follow in protecting the ward."  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Glen Campbell's Children Instigate Tennessee Law That Will Protect Elderly

Elder abuse legislation signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDEF) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation providing extra protections for Tennessee’s vulnerable adult population.

State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) sponsored the legislation in the General Assembly.

Crimes related to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of Tennessee’s vulnerable adults continue to increase but are extremely under-reported because often these crimes are committed by loved ones or trusted caregivers.

Bill HB1824/SB1848 requires background checks for individuals who work directly with seniors and adults with disabilities, including employees of home care organizations. Prior to passage of this bill, background check requirements among industries dealing with vulnerable adults was inconsistent. This legislation brings consistency and clarity to these requirements.

The bill also requires the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) to establish a working group to focus on the development and implementation of a field guide that will assist state law enforcement in recognizing signs of abuse, as well as provide them with a better understanding of how to investigate and report the possibility of abuse.

The newly passed legislation followed directly from the efforts of the Elder Abuse Taskforce, a group appointed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2014 to review Tennessee elder abuse laws and make recommendations for improvement. The Taskforce finished their review in the fall of 2015 and provided the General Assembly and the Governor with recommendations in the form of a formal report.

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Elder abuse legislation signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Sometimes the Caregivers Need Care — Keith Carradine and Wife Discuss Life Lessons of Alzheimer’s

Sometimes the Caregivers Need Care — Keith Carradine and Wife Discuss Life Lessons of Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Press Release: Governor Bill Haslam Signs Campbell~Falk Act

State Senate
State of Tennessee

Governor Bill Haslam signs Campbell~Falk Act

Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), May 16, 2016 – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today signed into law the “Campbell Falk Act” that for the first time in Tennessee establishes a ward’s right to visit and communicate with family and close friends. The new law is named in recognition of Country Music Legend Glen Campbell and renowned actor Peter Falk. Attending the governor’s signing at the Tennessee Capitol were country music artist Tanya Tucker; Glenn Campbell’s children, Debby Campbell Cloyd, Travis Campbell and his wife Trudy; and Peter Falk’s daughter Catherine Falk; Marcia Southwick, with Boomers Against Elder Abuse; and Joseph Roubicek, with the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.

The legislation was sponsored by Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby).

“We are very pleased that this new law has been enacted,” said Senator Crowe, who credited the Campbell children, Falk, Tucker and the organization to stop abuse with helping to pass the bill. “We are seeing a growing number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other disabilities which call for a conservator to be appointed. This gets very difficult when there are strained family relationships between the conservator and the ward’s family members and it involves the decision that no communication should occur.”

A conservator is a legally appointed guardian of a disabled person. Previously, Tennessee law allowed a conservator to restrict visitation and communication with the ward without going to court, even when it involved communication or visits by a family member. The new law provides the ward has a right to visit, communicate or interact with family and loved ones and that a conservator shall not restrict it unless specifically authorized by a court order. It also provides a process by which the conservator can petition the court to place restrictions upon communication or interaction by showing good cause. Some of the factors the court can consider are previous protective orders, whether the ward expresses the wish to visit and past preferences.

“If this can happen to Glen Campbell, it can happen to anyone,” said Trudy Campbell. “It is a civil right and certainly a God-given right to see your child and to receive mail from them. That is why Catherine Falk and I approached Senator Crowe and Representative Faison about passing this legislation with the support of Boomers against Elder Abuse and the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA). We know that thousands of others are suffering from restrictive action by a ward and are very pleased that Tennessee has passed this law to protect them.

“Some family situations are more difficult than others,” added Crowe. “It is heartbreaking to hear sons and daughters who cannot spend quality time with their parent after they are incapacitated and their health is in decline. We believe this new law strikes the right balance so that it protects the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens, while at the same time giving the conservator a fair process to follow in protecting the ward.”


Reference: Senate Bill 2190

The untold cost of the opiate epidemic: elder abuse

Reports of suspected elder abuse in Massachusetts have surged over the past five years, according to state figures — a troubling increase that law enforcement and elder advocates say is fueled in part by the opioid crisis and addicted adult children exploiting parents and other relatives.

Since 2011, abuse reports have climbed 37 percent, with more than 1,000 additional cases reported each of the past five years to protective services offices. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the agency that tracks and investigates abuse, recorded nearly 25,000 cases last year, but the state’s numbers do not delineate how many involved opioids.

Reports of suspected elder abuse in Massachusetts have surged over the past five years, according to state figures — a troubling increase that law enforcement and elder advocates say is fueled in part by the opioid crisis and addicted adult children exploiting parents and other relatives.

Since 2011, abuse reports have climbed 37 percent, with more than 1,000 additional cases reported each of the past five years to protective services offices. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the agency that tracks and investigates abuse, recorded nearly 25,000 cases last year, but the state’s numbers do not delineate how many involved opioids.  (Continue Reading)

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The untold cost of the opiate epidemic: elder abuse

Monday, May 16, 2016

Campbell Falk Bill Now Law

Glen Campbell

Campbell Falk Bill Now Law will be effective on Monday, May 16, 2016 when the Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam makes it official by applying his John Hancock to the Bill. Glen Campbell who has been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease will now have some protection.

Travis Campbell, Debby Campbell-Cloyd, Catherine Falk, Senator Rusty Crowe and many others’s fought long and hard to get this bill passed and they succeeded.

Glen Campbell’s first daughter (Debby Campbell-Cloyd) and son (Travis Campbell) became involved when their father’s fourth wife Kim Campbell was not allowing them to visit their father.
They had to take her to court to get visitation, something that should be a GOD given right to parents and children.

The brand new Law protects a person who have become wards of the State or who have conservators controlling their finances, day to day living and visitation.  These poor wards are not even allowed to get mail, a very basic right that is given even to death row inmates.

This new law helps to prevent abuse of the system and those conservators and protects the Wards.  Now Travis and Debby will have liberal visitation to their father and so will all the other people that this BILL turned LAW affects in Tennessee.

Congratulations Travis Campbell, Debby Campbell and most especially Catherine Falk, the daughter of Peter Falk who is getting this Bill or Bills similar to it passed state by state.  She has worked so long and hard at this so that what happened to her and her father will never happen to another human being again.

Click here to read the BILL at the Catherine Falk Organization website.

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Campbell Falk Bill Now Law

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Elderly couple’s $4 million suit accuses caregivers of major household theft

David & Vera Mann
Sometimes Vera Mann sees an empty spot where a treasured object once sat, and her eyes fill with tears. The mantelpiece in her living room, which used to display crystal vases and porcelain figurines. Her light-filled atrium, where small marble animals peeked out from among the orchids. Her own fingers, where for 70 years she wore her wedding and engagement rings.

All gone, now.

Over the course of six months last year, she and her husband, David, say, three nurses caring for him in their Kalorama home systematically made off with more than half a million dollars’ worth of their belongings. The Manns, both 91, have filed a $4 million civil suit against the nurses and two home health-care agencies, seeking compensation for the missing items — from bath towels to priceless family heirlooms — and for the distress it caused them. An investigation by D.C. police is also underway.

The alleged disappearances, and the length of time over which they occurred, highlight a growing problem as more Americans age and require in-home care: The more dependent they are on caregivers, the harder it is to confront them when there is a problem. And crime allegations can be hard to prosecute if it’s the word of the residents against that of the caregivers.

A bill being considered in the District may help, making it a crime to use “undue influence” in the financial abuse of a vulnerable adult, including people 65 or older. Thirty-five states have statutes criminalizing the financial exploitation of older or incapacitated persons, and at least nine have laws defining undue influence in their criminal codes.

The bill passed an initial D.C. Council vote last week, and the council expects to take a final vote this month or next. If it passes, advocates say it will make such cases easier to prosecute, particularly in situations involving coercion or in those in which it isn’t clear whether a crime has been committed.

The Manns’ three-story D.C. townhouse, with a soaring, custom-built atrium that Vera hand-painted in Italian-style trompe l’oeil, is filled with items collected over a lifetime of travel and overseas stints: He is a former assistant secretary of the Navy and she is a psychologist. The nurses were provided by Maryland-based Capital City Nurses, hired by their son in March 2015 after gastric bypass surgery left David in need of round-the-clock care.

When small kitchen items began to vanish, the couple said they initially assumed they had been misplaced. But then the disappearances became more glaring, they said. A Limoges china planter. A silver fish platter. An expensive eelskin briefcase that hadn’t left the house in 25 years. And finally, the couple said, jewelry and furs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars vanished, including pieces Vera’s mother brought over from Russia around the time of the Titanic disaster.

“Those things, and the house itself as a safe environment that she had designed, were an important world to her, so to have a lot of the components of that world lost, to be invaded like that, was very traumatic for her,” said their son, James Mann. For his father, he said, “it’s more a matter of a violation of trust, that people who came in on the basis of they were going to take care of him didn’t do their job.”

By September, David was nailing boards across the kitchen cupboards and Vera was hiding valuables in locked rooms the caregivers were not supposed to enter. That didn’t work — they allege that locked closets were forceably opened, and Vera said she awoke one night to find one of the caregivers in her bedroom, rummaging through boxes.

When the Manns called Capital City Nurses to report what was happening, they said, they were not taken seriously.

“They said, ‘Oh no, our people don’t do such things,’ ” David said.

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Elderly couple’s $4 million suit accuses caregivers of major household theft

Probation granted in financial exploitation case

A 23-year-old defendant received a suspended sentence and probation Friday when he pleaded guilty to financially exploiting an elderly and disabled Joplin resident.

Donald A. Davis pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to a Class D felony count of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person in a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office.

Court records indicate that the defendant convinced a 66-year-old man with a head injury to let him move into his house and live with him rent-free and then began taking advantage of the victim's finances.

Davis had been facing a Class B felony count of the offense, which carries a punishment range of five to 15 years in prison. A Class D count carries up to four years. The Jasper County prosecutor's office also agreed not to oppose probation for the defendant in exchange for his guilty plea.

Circuit Judge David Mouton assessed Davis four years for the crime but suspended execution of the sentence and placed him on probation for five years in accordance with the plea agreement. But the judge also ordered him to pay the victim $9,516.78 in restitution.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case states that while living with the victim, Davis convinced him to obtain a title loan of $1,513 on his vehicle at an interest rate of 155 percent and to give Davis the loan money. The defendant also tried to get him to buy him a car, but the sale was declined by the dealer, according to the affidavit. The defendant consequently got the victim to start paying for weekly rentals of vehicles from rental agencies for Davis with his monthly disability checks.

The defendant's sapping of his income led to the victim eventually falling behind on mortgage and utility service payments, the affidavit states.

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Probation granted in financial exploitation case

Dementia Puts Elders At Risk Of Financial Abuse

Barbara Macari's husband, Frank, always handled the investments in the family. Then one day, Frank, a real estate broker, gave his wife the shock of her life.

"I was coming down the stairs, and he came to me and said, 'I don't understand money anymore,'" Barbara said. "I was just shocked because this was something that he had always handled, and handled it beautifully. He made a lot of money on investments. He was smart, he was astute, he was careful, and all of a sudden, he didn't understand anything."

A couple of months later, Frank, 74, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

'Huge Problem' as Elders Increase

"He can no longer write checks," said Barbara, 72. "He doesn't even carry money with him because he doesn't understand it."

The Macaris are far from alone.

An estimated 5.1 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimer's disease or other dementias that eat away their ability to manage their financial affairs. With the United States rapidly aging, those dealing with cognitive decline is projected to rise.

That means that seniors, with a median household net worth of $170,500, will be more vulnerable to financial exploitation, whether it's a scam by crooks preying on them or theft by someone they trust.

"It's a huge problem," said Daniel Marson, a neurologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
"It's like a 2,000-pound elephant. Where do you start? Poor financial decision-making and financial exploitation, financial elder abuse are rampant."

Marson added, "All older adults experience normal cognitive aging as they grow older. Whether this normal cognitive decline causes actual problems in their everyday life and functioning will vary across individuals and their living situations."

Dementia for 35% Age 70+

"Thirty-five percent of everybody over the age of 71 will have some form of dementia," said gerontologist Robert Rousch, director of the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

In the financial realm, cognitive decline means a loss of "higher-order functional abilities" affecting a broad range of skills from counting coins to managing a checkbook, experts say.

Loss of those skills can have severe consequences for seniors, who lose $36.48 billion a year to financial abuse, according to a recent study by True Link Financial. The study estimates that almost half of that amount is lost to financial exploitation, such as high-pressure sales tactics using misleading or confusing language.

A third stems from scams or identity theft, and the remainder results from "deceit or theft enabled by a trusting relationship" typically exploited by a family member, friend, or legal/financial advisor.

"Since so much abuse is never uncovered, this is undoubtedly still a low estimate of the true cost," said Kathleen Quinn, executive director of the National Adult Protective Services Association.

Mark and Kent Olds said their mother Gail, 79, has dementia and was exploited by a caregiver who took about $7,500.

"This lady took Mom to the credit union on two different occasions," Mark said. "Mom gave this lady $6,000, $7,000 one time, a grand another. We noticed a few other things missing before we could put the stops on it."

Too Trusting

The financial losses of seniors aren't limited to what others do to them. They often hurt themselves by being too trusting and generous with their finances.

"When my mother was about 65 years old, she began giving money to anyone who asked, including those who just knocked on the door," said Tom Murphy.

His father, also named Tom, eventually took the family and business checkbooks away from his wife, who was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Cognitive decline also can cost seniors the ability to handle simple financial tasks.

In the Olds family, Gail once had her power cut off because her bill was overdue. Kent was able to pay the bill and have the power restored.

Her sons, who are seeking legal guardianship over their mother, said they have arranged for her bills to be paid through automatic deduction from her bank account.

Cliff Brunette's experience with his mother was similar.

"She went through the normal aging cycle where she was starting to get confused with the mail coming and what needed to be paid and what was an advertisement or what was a pre-notice to a bill, especially when it came to medical," said Brunette, a volunteer at the Senior Source's Guardianship and Money Management program.

"She would get multiple statements from insurance companies and doctor's offices and Medicare," Brunette said. "She would start to panic a little bit, and she would start to write checks out. I'd go over and I'd say, 'Wait, you don't owe this yet.'"

"It got to the point where I told her, 'Just put a shoebox next to your kitchen table. When this stuff comes in, just throw it in there. When I come over to visit, we'll go through it together,'" Brunette said.

Worst Possible Time

The deterioration in financial skills couldn't come at a worse time for seniors, said Lynne Egan, who chairs the Committee on Senior Issues & Diminished Capacity at the North American Securities Administrators Association.

"Our ability to make financial decisions starts to decline at about the time it becomes more important that we protect our nest egg because we don't have time on our hands to earn back losses that may have occurred," she said.

Because of the potential for financial exploitation of seniors, outside institutions including banks, health care providers, lawyers and financial advisers have developed policies and training to detect telltale signs.

Egan said bank employees can be the first line of defense against financial exploitation because they often get to know their older customers.

Glenda Coffman, a banker at Chase, proved Egan's point when she saved an elderly customer from sending $30,000 to a would-be scammer. A teller referred him to Coffman when he asked about withdrawing an unusually large sum.

"He said he needed to get some money to help out his grandson," she said. "He wouldn't give me too much information about the transaction, just that he wanted to help his grandson. I got him his money and he went on his way."

Red flags really started waving by the third day the man tried withdrawing fund. When Coffman questioned him again the customer was more forthcoming. He told her that his grandson was in trouble and needed to pay legal fees.

Coffman encouraged him to talk to his daughter - his grandson's mother - but the man eventually withdrew $30,000 and left. The next day, the customer's daughter came to the bank and redeposited the $30,000. The grandson wasn't in legal trouble after all.

Trained to Know Customers

Crediting the happy ending to the training Chase gives its employees, Coffman said, "One of the things we try to do is to get to know our customers and their families, if at all possible, just so when stuff like this occurs, it pops out at you."

The Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit investor education organization, works to educate doctors, nurses and other frontline medical professionals to recognize when their older clients may be vulnerable to or victims of financial abuse.

The organization supplies a pocket guide that suggests questions medical professionals should ask their older patients to determine financial capacity: Who manages your money daily? Do you run out of money at the end of the month? Do you regret or worry about financial decisions you've recently made?

The trust operates a similar program for lawyers.

Lynne Egan's association of securities administrators has made expanding and strengthening protection for senior investors a top item on its congressional agenda. She said it's sorely needed.

"It takes a village of people to protect a senior."

This article is adapted from a longer version, which Pamela Yip wrote for the Dallas Morning News supported by a Journalists in Aging Fellowship, a collaboration of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America, sponsored by the Silver Century Foundation.

Full Article & Source:
Dementia Puts Elders At Risk Of Financial Abuse