Saturday, June 25, 2016

Opinion: How to Handle Alzheimer's in Montana

For the past two years, a working group of 40 Montana volunteers, health care professionals, private and public agencies has been crafting a plan for tackling a fatal disease that has no cure yet and is expected to afflict 27,000 of us by 2025 as the state population ages.

The Montana Alzheimer’s Working Group introduced its state plan on Monday, a day on which the Helena Capitol dome was lit to honor those living with the brain disease and to honor their caregivers. The event occurred the same day that a legislative interim committee met in the Capitol to consider a package of draft legislation intended to improve support for Montanans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The Interim Children, Families, Health and Human Services Committee also is reviewing draft bills to set standards and guidelines for guardianships, a legal necessity for adults with dementia and no family.

Caregivers from Billings, Malta and elsewhere testified for hours to the committee Monday. Speakers were moved to tears as they recounted the struggles of clients and family members with dementia. Members of the Alzheimer’s working group strongly endorsed the draft legislation.

The 2015 Legislature directed the interim committee to study guardianship issues. After hearing from leaders of the Alzheimer’s work group, particularly those from Billings, committee members, including Rep. Jessica Karjala, D-Billings, and Sen. Roger Webb, R-Billings, expanded the panel’s focus to include the growing demands of dementia care.

Full Article and Source:
Opinion:  How to Tackle Alzheimer's in Montana

Former Mississippi Judge Sentenced for Simple Assault

Bill Weisenberger, a former Madison County justice court judge, was sentenced Wednesday for simple assault after pleading guilty earlier.

Weisenberger was given a six months suspended sentence, three months of supervised probation and three months of unsupervised probation, according to a release from state Attorney General Jim Hood.

In addition, the former judge must pay a $500 fine, $500 to the Crime Victims Fund and must serve 100 community service hours at Our Daily Bread Ministry, a feeding program for low-income families, in Canton.

In February 2015, Weisenberger was indicted for misdemeanor simple assault on a vulnerable adult. The indictment stems from a May 2014 incident at the Canton Flea Market where Weisenberger allegedly struck a 20-year-old African-American man and yelled, “Run, n-----, run.”

Full Article and Source:
Former Mississippi Judge Sentenced for Simple Assault

Friday, June 24, 2016

National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 301 Individuals for Approximately $900m in False Billing

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced today an unprecedented nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 36 federal districts, resulting in criminal and civil charges against 301 individuals, including 61 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $900 million in false billings. Twenty-three state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is suspending payment to a number of providers using its suspension authority provided in the Affordable Care Act. This coordinated takedown is the largest in history, both in terms of the number of defendants charged and loss amount.

Attorney General Lynch and Secretary Burwell were joined in the announcement by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, FBI Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich, Inspector General Daniel Levinson of the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), and Deputy Administrator and Director of CMS Center for Program Integrity Shantanu Agrawal M.D.

The defendants announced today are charged with various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services, including home health care, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment (DME) and prescription drugs. More than 60 of the defendants arrested are charged with fraud related to the Medicare prescription drug benefit program known as Part D, which is the fastest-growing component of the Medicare program overall.

“As this takedown should make clear, health care fraud is not an abstract violation or benign offense – It is a serious crime,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The wrongdoers that we pursue in these operations seek to use public funds for private enrichment. They target real people – many of them in need of significant medical care. They promise effective cures and therapies, but they provide none. Above all, they abuse basic bonds of trust – between doctor and patient; between pharmacist and doctor; between taxpayer and government – and pervert them to their own ends. The Department of Justice is determined to continue working to ensure that the American people know that their health care system works for them – and them alone.”

Full Article and Source:
National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 301 Individuals for Approximately $900m in False Billing

Elder Justice Task Force Announced to Deal With Scams Targeting the Elderly of Iowa

In the past fiscal year, the Heritage Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Abuse and Awareness program has taken 100 referrals throughout its seven county coverage area.

But Jill Gleason, Heritage’s associate director, said elder abuse — such as neglect, mistreatment or exploitation — said the problem is actually much more extensive.

“There are many, many more who are embarrassed to come forward,” Gleason said.

But, Gleason said she was hopeful that elder abuse and scams targeting the elderly will be brought to light by a collaboration of federal, state and local officials whose mission is to tackle those issues. On Monday, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Kevin Techau announced the formation of the Elder Justice Task Force in the northern district. Techau said the mission of the task force is to hold accountable nursing homes, long-term care providers and potential fraudsters and scammers.

“We’re all working together because we believe our most vulnerable citizens require our attention,” Techau said.

The task force was announced at the Oakhill Jackson Community Church. Techau was joined by other partners, including Gleason, Assistant Linn County Attorney Jason Besler, Cedar Rapids FBI resident agent in charge Gabriel Poling and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Jacob Schunk who Techau said will “quarterback” the task force.

Schunk said the task force will ensure Medicare and Medicaid funds are being appropriately spent by nursing homes and long-term care providers and will go after scammers who target the elderly. He said 20-30 partners will be part of the task force.

The U.S. Northern District of Iowa is one of only 10 nationwide districts designated to form an elder justice task force.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Justice Task Force Announced to Deal With Scams Targeting the Elderly of Iowa

Colorado Aid In Dying Ballot Effort Kicks Off

Proponents of allowing terminally ill patients to request life-ending medication officially launched a ballot effort in Colorado on Tuesday.

The initiative comes after the state Legislature failed two years in a row to act.

Proponents have been collecting signatures, but on Tuesday, they held a news conference and launched a website, They must collect 98,492 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Legislation made it through a House committee this year, but it did not have the votes to pass through the full House, so the legislation never came up for a full vote.

In the Senate, a separate bill was killed in committee. Another bill met a similar fate last year.

All hearings drew several hours of emotional testimony.

Similar to the legislation, the ballot effort asks voters to offer options to terminally ill adult patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live.

Two physicians would need to confirm the prognosis, patients would need to be mentally capable, the medication would need to be self-administered, two oral requests separated by 15 days and a third written request would be needed, and patients would have the right to rescind the request at any time.

Colorado would join five states with medical aid-in-dying laws.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Florida: Sanctions Motion Filed Against Lawyers in Bitter Guardianship Case

David Gersten
Former Third District Court of Appeal Chief Judge David Gersten is among three attorneys facing sanctions in a bitter probate case that has also engulfed a fourth lawyer in a criminal investigation.

Gersten is now a partner at Gordon & Rees. He and Miami attorneys Terry Fogel and Scott Rubin, of Fogel Rubin & Fogel, represent Jorge and Alina Lopez, the adult children of multimillionaire Jose Lopez Sr., who want to annul their father's marriage to his third wife, Mercy Flores.

The attorneys are all subject to a motion for sanctions by Flores' attorney, Michael Schlesinger of Schlesinger & Associates, under Florida Statute 57.105, which punishes parties for frivolous court filings.

Dismissing the allegations, Gersten said lawyers increasingly abuse the statute.

"I'm not worried at all about the 57.105. It's something that seems to be going on in our community quite a bit where lawyers seem to be trying to intimidate you into backing off a case," he said. "I want to state emphatically we are not intimidated at all, and I would be shocked if any court found any merit in any of their allegations."

A fourth lawyer, Miami tax attorney Edward Guttenmacher, may also be in the hot seat with the State Attorney's Office over allegations of elder abuse. Guttenmacher has been the senior Lopez's attorney for about 30 years and serves as his trustee, according to court records.

Guardianship questions

The elder Lopez has a history of marrying significantly younger brides. His first wife, the mother of the adult siblings involved in the probate litigation, died in 2000. His second wife, whom he later divorced, was decades his junior. He married Flores, now 55, in 2014 after years of friendship and two months of negotiating a prenuptial agreement, according to her attorneys.

Under the settlement, Flores surrendered any rights from the pre-need document in exchange for exclusive use of the marital home and daily visitation with her husband, among other conditions.

But the wife petitioned the court to set aside the settlement, claiming the siblings defrauded her and never intended to honor it.

"A few months after they got appointed as guardians, they moved to annul the marriage and exclude her from visitation," Schlesinger said.

The siblings' attorneys fired back, as did David Goldberg, a court-appointed lawyer representing the elder Lopez. Each filed motions to dismiss Flores' action.

"I don't have a dog in the fight in the annulment; I don't have a dog in the fight in the trust case," Goldberg said. "What my client wanted was that his children should be the guardians."

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro Tuesday denied their requests and cleared the way for the wife to push forward with her claims.

Fees take center stage

Attorneys on each side alleged their adversaries were drawing out the dispute for bigger paydays and acting in their own best interest, rather than that of Jose Lopez.

The siblings' attorneys pointed to Guttenmacher's creation of a trust that would compensate his firm for more than 60 years, as well as his greenlighting of the trust's reimbursement of Flores' litigation costs. But Schlesinger maintains that Lopez's living trust gave the trustee discretion in covering Flores' expenses and therefore allowed reimbursement of her litigation bills.

"You have a trustee who's paying for litigation against his own client," Gersten alleged during oral arguments. "Against his own client. I say it twice because I need it for the record for the appellate court."

Both judges at Monday's hearings voiced concerns over depletion of the estate's funds to cover litigation.

"I could easily see this costing $1 million," Miller said, requesting the litigants secure budgets from their lawyers to outline all expenses.

Court records show the trust paid Goldberg, Lopez's court-appointed lawyer, $42,154 for attorney's fees and expenses from April 3 to Dec. 17, 2015. Gersten is a legal heavyweight who commands $750 per hour for meditations. Schlesinger charges $585 per hour.

Full Article and Source:
Sanctions, Motions Filed Against Lawyers in Bitter Guardianship Case

Fees in Bitter Family Dispute Prompt Judge's Call for Litigation Budget

A family law judge is recommending a litigation budget to detail all costs in an acrimonious family dispute gearing to rack up more than a million dollars in attorney fees and costs.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Miller on Monday said he was "about a nanosecond away" from requiring attorneys on both sides to draw up budgets for their clients in a case pitting a millionaire's adult children against his third wife.

"If your clients knew they were going to be $2 million light … they might reconsider the wisdom of this case," Miller said toward the end of a contentious hearing to annul the marriage of Jose Lopez and Mercy Flores, who married in 2014. "I could easily see this costing $1 million."

Lopez's children suggest Flores manipulated their elderly father, an Alzheimer's patient more than 20 years her senior, into marriage after allegedly having a sexual relationship with his son. They won the right to serve as guardians of his estate, estimated to be worth more than $30 million.

The ongoing case spawned motions for sanctions against the guardians' attorneys and a reported criminal investigation against Lopez's longtime friend and trustee, Ed Guttenmacher.

Full Article and Source:
Fees in Bitter Family Dispute Prompt Judge's Call for Litigation Budget

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NASGA Florida Member, Doug Franks, on the Cobb Co. Elder Abuse Task Force

I have lived in the Great State of GA for 23 years now. It is not perfect but I'm proud of how they are addressing Elder Abuse.

 I met Vic Reynolds the Cobb county DA. He has formed a Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force that Ensures Safeguards for Seniors.

Florida needs to follow the Peach States lead and protect their Seniors.

Q&A: Liz Horvath, Senior Advocate: Sometimes a Conservatorship is the Right Answer

Q I read all your columns and am in a quandary. My mother, age 89, is showing some signs of memory loss. She wants to make changes to her trust because my brother has been using drugs and has stolen money from her, and she wants him out as a beneficiary of her estate. My attorney says the best thing to do is have my mother voluntarily go into a court conservatorship and have her new trust approved by the judge. In one of your columns you said, “Avoid conservatorship at all costs.” What should I do?

A Oh, boy, I wish my writing were sweeter — it would make it a great deal easier to eat my words! Your attorney is right; this action is usually called a “petition for substituted judgment,” and is a great tool for just this kind of situation.

However, before delving into the specific procedure, let me provide some general information about conservatorships.

A conservatorship is a legal process that takes place in the probate court. When an adult cannot take care of themselves or manage their finances, the court may appoint another person to take on the responsibility of helping and protecting the adult. Once conserved, the adult is called a conservatee.

Your attorney recommends that your mother “voluntarily” enter a conservatorship, which means she will be interviewed by the court investigator and, after a proper noticing period, a spouse, domestic partner, family member, close friend or hired professional will be appointed as her conservator.

In the situation you describe, let us say you are appointed as her conservator. Your attorney will then file a petition with the court stating that you are seeking approval to change your mother’s trust and are asking the court to approve this action.

The court should be given enough information to understand why your mother wants to change her document, but be careful about totally besmirching your brother’s reputation. These are generally public records so be sensitive to what you want in the open court record. Your attorney will no doubt be skilled at presenting enough information so the court will understand why the changes are needed but not so much to expose you to the potential of a defamation lawsuit.

Full Article and Source:
Liz Horvath, Senior Advocate: Sometimes a Conservatorship is the Right Answer

Editorial: There is no such thing as neutrality with assisted suicide

The assisted suicide lobby is once again pressuring medical association's to become neutral on assisted suicide.

Last Monday, the American Medical Association (AMA) reacted to pressure from the Oregon Medical Association, to change the AMA stance on assisted suicide to neutral (Resolution 015) by establishing a Study on aid in dying.

Tomorrow, the British Medical Association (BMA) will vote on two motions.

The first motion (79 on the agenda): affirms that: ‘it is not appropriate at this time to debate whether or not to change existing BMA policy’.

If the first motion is not passed they will debate a second motion (80) which states: ‘that this meeting believes that the BMA should adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying’.

Physicians need to recognize that neutrality on euthanasia or assisted suicide does not exist. Either you support physicians lethally injecting patients (euthanasia) or writing prescriptions for lethal drugs (assisted suicide) or you don't.

Full Article and Source:
There is No Such Thing as Neutrality With Assisted Suicide

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Editorial From Ohio NASGA Member Rosanna Miller

A month ago I was stranded in Bellefontaine. My vehicle broke down and my cell phone had no service. I bought a pay by the minute cell phone at Dollar General on Sandusky Ave. Clerks Diana and Erica were so accommodating to help me get the phone activated as I had no way to do that. They spent over THREE (3) hours to help me activate four phones while waiting on customers simultaneously. It took so long because we come to learn this particular brand’s sims cards were outdated.

This prompted my thoughts to question how my “disabled” Dad was living 700 ft from Dollar General in his own home being isolated, manipulated, exploited, abused, living in filth, hording, and cat feces for 6 years. The entire Bellefontaine and Logan County gov’t agencies knew this yet they refused to accommodate Dad to aid him with his Major Life Activities or carry out the services, programs and activities he signed up for while of sound mind to accommodate him in later years for his disabilities after my Mother‘s suspicious death reported in the Examiner on Nov. 27, 2006. Mom was Dad’s caretaker. Her death is still an open and ongoing case today.

I was “refused” association with Dad and retaliated against for reporting the discrimination on Dad. Hence this aided all the abusers to continue their nasty discrimination for 6 years. This heinous inhumane abuse was finally acknowledged and published in the Examiner Sept. 11, 2012. In the end the abuser walked free because judge O’Connor threw out the charge of “failing to provide“. For the next 3 years the courts continued discriminating against Dad and me, refusing to accommodate him for his disabilities and denying me association. Instead they abducted him to the Campbell Place and appointed him to attorney Steve Fansler’s supervision even though he had knowledge of Dad’s abuse, disabilities and refused to accommodate Dad. Thereafter Dad tried to kill himself to go home so they loaded him on psychotropic drugs for mental illnesses he did not have. Dad was never treated for the dementia he did have. He was held imprisoned in a place he did not want or have to be.

The outcome confirms the ADA is arbitrarily adhered to in Logan County. Law enforcement, APS, Medical Profession, Prosecutors, DD Board and most of all the Court agents knew full well Dad was disabled and they all refused us accommodations that ended in a cocktail of drugs that killed my Dad and violated his legal advanced directives. Assets were stripped out to the tune of $750,000. Who is going after these heathens and turn on their own?

I fail to see how two Dollar General clerks can be so accommodating while people who are supposed to serve us, making mega bucks from our tax dollars, are accommodating their own needs while abusers murder and steal from our elderly. I guarantee if my Dad had been accommodated for his disabilities he would not be dead and plundered. Those who commit these monstrous acts should be behind bars.

I hope the people of Logan County drop in at Dollar General and sincerely thank Diana and Erica for the extended help they gave me when I was stranded and alone. It will be my life’s mission to redistribute the salaries from those who are supposed to serve us but fail their duty and give it to the simple humble people who do the most from loving acts of kindness. We should all strive to exemplify God’s love like Diana & Erica and not discriminate.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, Your Loving Daughter,

~Rosanna L. Miller

For Father's Day:  Editorial From Rosanna Miller

New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study

The New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study, released June 15, 2016, is one of the most comprehensive studies to quantify both the financial and the non-financial costs of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

This study includes the largest number of Adult Protective Services (APS) financial exploitation cases to date in any single state. In New York State, APS provides protective services to adults 18 and older who, because of physical or mental impairment, are unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect, financial exploitation or other harm, and have no one else willing and able to assist responsibly.

New York State Office of Children and Family Services

READ the "New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study

People With Alzheimer's Tell us Memories They Never Want to Forget

We asked people diagnosed with Alzheimer's to tell us memories they never want to forget.

To learn about Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at

Thank you for sharing your memories:

Myriam Marquez
68, age at diagnosis: 62

People With Alzheimer's Tell Us Memories They Never Want to Forget

Monday, June 20, 2016

Steve Miller: Please Help Jason

LAS VEGAS - Cerebral palsy victim Jason Hanson, 26, is a victim of the Clark County Family Court system and several private for-hire "guardians" who with court approval stole Jason's entire inheritance estimated to be worth over $290,000.

After the death of Jason's father, Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his appointed hearing master Jon Norheim appointed attorneys Francis Fine and Elyse Tyrell along with their client private guardian Jared E. Shafer to look after then-17 year old Jason and his inheritance until he turned 21. However, by the time Jason became of legal age to manage his own affairs, every penny of his inheritance with the exception of $5,530.74 was missing, and Judges Hoskin and Norheim never demanded a final accounting per Nevada Revised Statutes.

Today, even after Chief Clark County District Court Judge Charles Barker unceremoniously removed Hoskin and Norheim from hearing any more cases involving guardianship, after the impaneling of a Nevada Supreme Court Guardianship Commission, and after District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Sheriff Joe Lombardo established a task force of deputy DA's and police officers to investigate crooked local guardians and their bottom feeding lawyers, Shafer, Fine, and Tyrell continue lurking at the courthouse, trolling for their next victims.

In the meantime, Shafer's cronies April Parks and Patience Bristol remain off the radar even though together they bilked millions of dollars from their elderly and disabled court appointed "wards." (Parks skipped town and declared bankruptcy during LVMPD's and the DA"s investigation. Bristol is in the Nevada State Prison for exploiting Shafer's PFSN, Inc. wards.)

The wheels of justice turn very slowly, and those victims of the above mentioned leeches have yet to be recompensed for their losses.

In the case of Jason Hanson, I have taken the step of setting up a GoFundMe Account in his name so he can live as a normal a life as possible while he awaits justice. ~ Steve Miller

GoFundMe:  Jason Would Appreciate Your Help

Elder Abuse Day Exposed at Healthy Exchange

Portia Williams | Daily Times Chief of Police Rob Ware
Wednesday, June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Southern Ohio Medical Center ( SOMC) worked in conjunction with Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce to host a Healthy Exchange session with Dr. Ron Miller of SOMC and Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware as guest speakers.

As cases of elder abuse continue to increase, Miller, Emergency Medical Program director of SOMC, and Portsmouth Chief of Police Rob Ware, dispensed a wealth of knowledge and information use to combat the growing problem in the local community at the Welcome Center. Miller said the basis of his presentation was the level of impact elder abuse has upon the local community.

“We discussed the issue of elder abuse, and its level of impact upon our community, and the impact that it will have as our population ages,” Miller said. “We talked about the different types of elder abuse that are prevalent in our community, and how we can help them. Mostly, it is to shine a light on the problem, most people know that it is there, and that it is a problem, but then as a group we can start formulating a plan on how to fix it.

Ware spoke extensively about avoiding financial exploitation. He said the sooner the signs of elder abuse are detected, the better elders are in the long run.

“I think that it is critically important that we educate the public on the signs of elder abuse,” Ware said. “As I stated before, things fly under the radar and are so subtle, that if you don’t have the professional community looking out for elders, is of the utmost important. The sooner we notice and know how to detect the signs, the sooner we are able to catch the culprits, before the life savings of an elder is wiped out.”

At the conclusion of the presentations Ware recognized and presented award the winning students of a local essay contest that was held by the Scioto County Elder Abuse Task Force. The students were asked to write about an elderly adult who has made a difference in their life, what they were able to learn from that particular adult and what they do for them to show appreciation.

The first place winner of the essay contest was Jonas Cooper who wrote about his grandfather. Cooper received a $100 gift car. Second place was Abigail Puckett, who wrote about her grandmother. Puckett received a $50 gift card. Both Cooper and Puckett are junior high school students at East Portsmouth Elementary School, and their teacher is Kristen Wawro.

Wawro, said both Cooper and Puckett are talented students who she is proud of.

“They are both very good writers, and it is really nice for them to write about people that are extremely important to them, and I am very proud of their accomplishments,”Wawro said.

Hope Blizzard, medical staff liaison of SOMC, said discussing elder abuse is critical.

“I think that it is very important to bring to light the issue of elder abuse and financial abuse and the different types of elder abuse in the world,” Blizzard said. “I also admire how this younger generation is coming up, and all of the positive things that they are learning from their elders so I think it was a happy end

Full Article & Source:
Elder Abuse Day exposed at Healthy Exchange

In Minnesota, crimes against the elderly are 'doubling year-over-year'

Some 400 social workers, law enforcers, lawyers, nursing home workers and others who work with vulnerable adults gathered Wednesday at the University of Minnesota to discuss what could be the next big crime wave: Elder abuse.

The conference, hosted by the nonprofit Minnesota Elder Justice Center, was one of many nationwide marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which began in 2006 to shine a light on financial crimes and other abuse targeting older people.

A statewide Elder Abuse reporting hot line launched last year consolidated 169 different county phone numbers into a single toll-free number — (844) 880-1574 — and mandated reporters have a dedicated website for filing reports. Together, they are bringing in about 1,000 tips a week, said Emily Johnson Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She attended the conference along with Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

Debra Hilstrom, an Anoka County prosecutor and state representative from Brooklyn Center, said more and more tips are coming from financial institutions and nursing homes covering a wide variety of concerns, including possible financial exploitation and medication thefts. The victims themselves are frequently reluctant to report the crimes because they are embarrassed and don’t want to be seen as vulnerable adults, Hilstrom said.

Erica Yarlagadda, an assistant Hennepin County prosecutor, said crimes against the elderly are “doubling year-over-year.”

She’s one of two attorneys Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman assigned to work full-time on crimes against the elderly. She said the most common crimes involve financial exploitation by family members who seem to think they’re entitled to their loved ones’ wealth. She said abuse by professionals, including investment advisers and insurance agents, probably ranks second.

Thomas R. Hatch joined the Ramsey County attorney’s office two years ago after working 20 years in civil litigation.

“All I do is financial fraud [prosecutions], which would include financial exploitation of vulnerable adults,” Hatch said.

He described a recent case in which an Arizona man stole $154,000 from his mother, who lives in Minnesota, in less than a year. She was torn about whether she wanted her son to spend 180 days in jail, Hatch said. She eventually signed off on the plea bargain, yet continued to drive him to and from the airport when he flew into town for court hearings. Hatch said he questioned why she would do that.

“ ‘Well, he is my son,’ ” Hatch recalled her saying.

She’s one of two attorneys Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman assigned to work full-time on crimes against the elderly. She said the most common crimes involve financial exploitation by family members who seem to think they’re entitled to their loved ones’ wealth. She said abuse by professionals, including investment advisers and insurance agents, probably ranks second.

Thomas R. Hatch joined the Ramsey County attorney’s office two years ago after working 20 years in civil litigation.

“All I do is financial fraud [prosecutions], which would include financial exploitation of vulnerable adults,” Hatch said.

He described a recent case in which an Arizona man stole $154,000 from his mother, who lives in Minnesota, in less than a year. She was torn about whether she wanted her son to spend 180 days in jail, Hatch said. She eventually signed off on the plea bargain, yet continued to drive him to and from the airport when he flew into town for court hearings. Hatch said he questioned why she would do that.

“ ‘Well, he is my son,’ ” Hatch recalled her saying.

“These are family,” he said. “What are we going to do about it?”

Thomas Haines, an assistant Carver County attorney, said his office is preparing for “a tsunami of financial exploitation” crimes that prey on older people. Haines said prosecutions can be avoided sometimes by summoning a suspected abuser in for a meeting with adult protection maltreatment investigators to spell out the penalties for wrongdoing.

Ashton Applewhite, an author and activist, set the tone for the conference in her keynote speech.

“We aspire to grow old, and yet we dread the prospect,” she said. “We are all old people in training.”

Full Article & Source:
In Minnesota, crimes against the elderly are 'doubling year-over-year'

Sunday, June 19, 2016

10 Ways to Honor Your Deceased Father on Father's Day

The annual Father's Day holiday can prove challenging for anyone mourning the loss of his or her dad, even many years after he died. This article offers 10 meaningful ways that you can honor your deceased father and keep his memory alive on Father's Day or any of the other 364 days in the year.

Put a "Shrimp on the Barbie"

If your dad enjoyed firing up the grill and cooking up burgers, brats, steaks, chicken, fish or anything else the family desired, then don an apron, grab some tongs and serve your family a feast in his honor.

(And even if your father didn't care to cook, he probably had a favorite meal or restaurant that you could also enjoy during the holiday.)

You might offer a few words about your favorite food- or meal-related memory before you and your family dive in to the meal you prepared.

The Write Stuff

Writing or journaling your thoughts and feelings is an effective way to reduce stress and often proves therapeutic. Whether you express yourself best sitting at your computer or using paper and pen, consider writing a private letter or even a poem describing how much your father means to you.
Pay Him a Visit

Honor your deceased father this Father's Day, his birthday or some other special day by visiting his gravesite, the spot where his cremated remains ("ashes") were scattered, or some other location significant to your dad. While there, you should remove any debris, such as leaves or dead flowers, from his resting place and then leave a fresh floral bouquet to mark your visit and your love.

Enlarge Your Family Tree

If you have the space in your yard, consider planting a tree in memory of your dad. After buying the sapling from a nursery, dig the hole and then have your family gather 'round to say a few words or share their favorite memories about your father. After placing the tree in the hole, ask each family member to toss a handful of dirt in before you finish planting and watering the tree.

You could also place a small engraved "In Memory of..." plaque at the base of this living reminder of your dad. (Incidentally, if you don't have the space to plant a tree, consider donating one to a local hospice, library or place of worship to beautify your community in your father's memory.)

Hit the Road

Did your dad enjoy watching his favorite baseball team at the ballpark? Was his love of fishing exceeded only by the size of "the one that got away"? Did he relish time spent at a cabin in the great outdoors or on a golf course? Whether near or far, if there was a particular place or activity he loved, then gather your family, pile into the car and hit the open road as a tribute to Dad.

"I Never Told You This, But..."

If there's one thing you wish you could/would have said to your dad before he died but never did, write it on an index card, tie it to a helium balloon and release it from a place special to your father. No, your dad won't actually get your message, but the symbolic nature of this gesture will likely prove more powerful and moving than you think.

Full Article and Source:
10 Ways to Honor Your Deceased Father on Father's Day

Elder Abuse Awareness Day shines spotlight on hidden scourge; 137 cases this year in Columbia County

A year ago, Becky Mulhern got an irate phone call.

It was a Columbia County resident, who expressed indignation about a demonstration in front of the Columbia County Courthouse to foster awareness of elder abuse.

The caller said she simply could not believe that vulnerable older adults ever experienced physical, psychological or financial abuse in Columbia County, even though, at that time, 108 cases had been reported in the county in the preceding year.

On Wednesday, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the purple balloons and purple pinwheels were returned to the front entrance of the courthouse — 137 of each, to represent the 137 cases of elder abuse reported in Columbia County over the last year.

Mulhern, director of Columbia County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, said she doesn’t know why the number of reported cases has increased.

“It could be that people are becoming more aware, or it could be because times are hard,” she said. “We just don’t know.”

On Wednesday morning — for a relatively brief time, because of the heat and humidity — purple-clad people gathered at the courthouse. They included not only older adults, but also representatives of law enforcement, human services and other agencies charged with the safety of vulnerable seniors.

The term “elder abuse” applies, in general, to people age 65 or older, though it can happen to any vulnerable adult.

Elder abuse is not just physical attacks — hitting, slapping, bruising, burning with cigarettes — although all that happens.

It could entail emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect.

It was self-neglect, according to Mulhern, that resulted in Columbia County’s one death in the last year that was traceable to elder abuse. Self-neglect happens when seniors stop taking care of themselves — stop eating, bathing or tending to their medical needs — sometimes because they no longer can do those things for themselves and do not ask for help.

For the two adult protective services workers in Columbia County, Sue Weaver and Marcy DeSomer, the nature of elder abuse reports varies.

DeSomer, who has a background in child protective services, said she often sees elder abuse cases that are similar to child abuse cases, in that unhealthy family dynamics are hurting someone who’s vulnerable.

According to Weaver, more and more reports deal with financial exploitation of older people. Many of these reports, she said, come from employees of financial institutions, who may notice large or frequent withdrawals from a senior citizen’s account, or suspicious behavior on the part of a relative who may be taking unfair or unlawful advantage of his or her access to a vulnerable older person’s account.

What all forms of elder abuse have in common, according to Weaver, is that they often are, to the victim, astonishing and puzzling.

“You don’t want to believe that your own children would do this to you,” she said. (The abuser of an older adult isn’t always his or her child. It could be anybody, including another senior citizen.)

When people see what they suspect to be elder abuse, Weaver said, they often don’t tell anybody, out of embarrassment, fear or a misguided sense of family loyalty.

Many, however, don’t know what to do.

That’s why Weaver and DeSomer are here to help.

Anyone in Columbia County who suspects elder abuse should call the ADRC at 608-742-9233 or 888-742-9233.

Mulhern said people who are committed to safety for vulnerable older adults may also participate in the I-team — an interdisciplinary group, overseen by the ADRC, consisting of public safety workers, administrators of nursing homes or assisted living facilities and individuals from all walks of life. The I-team, according to Mulhern, brings in speakers and taps other resources for improving safety for seniors.

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Elder Abuse Awareness Day shines spotlight on hidden scourge; 137 cases this year in Columbia County

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day observed in Orange County

GOSHEN – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is meant to raise the understanding about elder abuse and neglect and in Goshen, Orange County officials marked the day on Wednesday by calling attention to the issue.

“Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse and financial exploitation,” said County Executive Steven Neuhaus. He said many seniors do not report abuse because of the fear of retaliation.

“Orange County has a variety of programs for elder abuse victims and we encourage them to come forward and seek help,” the county executive said.

District Attorney David Hoovler said the “only way to effectively reduce elder abuse is to raise awareness about it.”

County Social Services Commissioner Darcie Miller said approximately one in 10 seniors are subjected to abuse, neglect and/or financial exploitation.

To report adult abuse in Orange County, call the Social Services Department t 845-291-2800 or the state hotline at 844-697-3505.

Safe Homes of Orange County also provides comprehensive non-residential and residential services to victims of domestic violence in the county. They provide a 24-hour hotline at 888-503-HOPE (4673).

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day observed in Orange County

Author highlights personal story on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

WEDNESDAY (June 15) is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and an author who is aiming to highlight the problem is selling copies of her book which tells of a lengthy family feud.

Adrienne Nairn, who now lives in New Zealand will be selling copies of her book My Brother My Enemy at WH Smiths in Exeter tomorrow (Thursday).

The book details a protracted legal dispute involving Adrienne and her brother over the care of her stepmother.

She explains: "I was motivated to write a book to highlight what can happen and if it helps warn others of the dangers that is great."

Mrs Nairn moved to New Zealand in 2002 and published the book with the aid of a ghost writer three years ago. 

Elder abuse can take a variety of different forms, not just physical, but also emotional and financial and Mrs Nairn says it is more widespread than many people realise.

Government recognition is also increasing with ministers using the global day of awareness to call on people to commit to understanding signs that an older person could be vulnerable to abuse.

The Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt, said: "Every older person deserves to live out their life in health and security. Yet, every year, thousands of older people are denied that most basic right because of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, focuses attention to this global public health issue.

"Victims of elder abuse are parents and grandparents, neighbours and friends. Elder abuse cuts across race, gender, culture, and circumstance, and whether physical, emotional, or financial, it takes an unacceptable toll on individuals and families across our country.

"Seniors who experience abuse or neglect face a heightened risk of health complications and premature death, while financial exploitation can rob men and women of the security they have built over a lifetime. Tragically, many older people suffer in silence, burdened by fear, shame, or impairments that prevent them from speaking out about abuse.

"We owe it to older people to expose elder abuse wherever we find it and take action to bring it to an end. Together, all of us can play a role in addressing this crisis. Today, let us speak out against elder abuse.

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Ban Calls For End To Elder Abuse As Pathway For Global Goals

New York, NY– Marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today emphasized that ending neglect, abuse and violence against older people is crucial as the international community continues to work together towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and fulfil their underlying pledge to leave no one behind.

An old woman at her window in a Nepalese village. UN
Photo/John Isaac. 
“Abuse and violence directed at older people take many forms, including partner and stranger violence, psychological and emotional abuse and financial exploitation,” Mr. Ban said in his message to mark the Day.

“On this Day, I call upon Member States and civil society to strengthen their resolve and redouble their efforts to eliminate all forms of violence and abuse against older people,” he added, highlighting that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to end poverty and build a more sustainable world for all.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – observed annually on 15 June since it was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2011 – aims to spotlight the global social issues affecting elderly people. The commemoration also brings the attention of the international community on the safeguarding of older human beings from mistreatment and suffering.

Elder abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” Such abuse can take various forms, including physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse, and can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.

Noting that older women suffer from age and gender discrimination and are more vulnerable than men, Mr. Ban pointed out that World Health Organization (WHO) estimates show that up to 10 per cent of older people may be affected in some countries.

“Abuse of older women often follows a lifetime of discrimination, violence and oppression. I am particularly alarmed by growing reports of older women who are accused of witchcraft, making them targets of abuse from their own families and communities,” Mr. Ban said.

Along those lines, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, warned that insufficient action is being taken to stop elder abuse around the world, and called on anyone who suspects such a case to immediately report it.

“One in ten older persons experience abuse every month. So, tomorrow it may well be you,” Ms. Kornfeld-Matte said in a statement released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The Independent Expert noted that elder abuse occurs anywhere in institutional settings, but often also at home, and it affects older persons across all socio-economic groups. Manifestations include physical violence, sexual or emotional abuse, abandonment, and neglect, as well as financial or material exploitation.

“One of the reasons for lack of action is that most people would rather not think of themselves as frail and dependent and, therefore, do not feel concerned. For others, it may be inconceivable that those who are closest to them today – their beloved ones – may be the perpetrators of tomorrow,” she said.

“Those concerned – the older persons who are physically restrained, left in soiled clothes,

overmedicated or emotionally neglected – may not speak up for fear of reprisals or to protect relatives from criminal prosecution,” she added.

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte emphasized that most cases of elder abuse go undetected and prevalence rates are likely to be underestimated. It is therefore essential to continue to raise awareness to help prevent some abuse cases and to ensure that those that take place are immediately reported, she said.

Warning signs can include unexplained bruises, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration, unexplained changes of alertness and sudden changes in finances and accounts.

“On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I urge everyone who suspects a case of elder abuse: report your concerns,” the Independent Expert said.

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Ban Calls For End To Elder Abuse As Pathway For Global Goals