Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mysterious signature adds to confusion in Patterson Guardianship case

by Michael Volpe:
WASHINGTON, September 2, 201 6- A mysterious signature has deepened the confusion over Martin Patterson’s already controversial guardianship.

Patterson, only 37 and a former Army Ranger, was deemed incompetent as a result of being hit by lightning and placed into guardianship in 2011. Under guardianship, he is unable to make his own financial decisions.

Several neurological and competency tests have found Patterson competent.

Patterson alleges his mother Gail, an employee of the Erie, Pennsylvania VA Medical Center,  is responsible for the guardianship petition. He also alleges that since he has been in guardianship, approximately $100,000 has been misspent.

On August 1, 2014, Karen Boatwright signed off on the accounting for Patterson’s yearly budget- a total in excess of $75,000.

But Boatwright is an individual Patterson doesn’t know.

“I’ve never communicated with her,” Patterson said.

Patterson further stated the name was totally foreign to him until he discovered it on his document. He said that it was his understanding that his VA Fiduciary- the individual solely responsible for managing his money while in guardianship- was Laura Eaton of the local nonprofit MECA Inc. Not so, said Lisa Goebel, the spokesperson for the VA Fiduciary Hub In Indianapolis, which is overseeing the case.

Full Article & Source:
Mysterious signature adds to confusion in Patterson Guardianship case

See Also:
Former Army Ranger Claims Forced Guardianship

Beating Apathy in Dementia

90% of people with dementia suffer from apathy at some point. When they do, they decline faster and are harder to care for. A stimulating environment made all the difference in a revealing new study of 5 factors. Specifically, moderate stimulation did the most to lift people out of their apathy, while none or too much made it worse. Learn more about beating apathy in dementia.

People with dementia are less likely to be apathetic if they live in an appropriately stimulating environment, according to nursing researchers.

According to a report by The Centers for Disease Control, about half the people in nursing homes have dementia. 90% of them experience apathy at some point,
one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Those with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy.

Help Them Stay Engaged

Ying-Ling Jao, assistant professor of nursing, Penn State, identified 4 negative consequences of apathy in dementia:
  1. Persons with dementia who are also apathetic won't be curious about the world around them;
  2. They are not motivated to carry out activity nor engage with those around them, in either a positive or a negative way.
  3. The individuals' cognitive function will likely decline faster.
  4. Caregivers will have more difficulty with their caregiving and are more likely to become depressed.
Jao observed 40 nursing home residents with dementia. She watched videos of each taken throughout a typical day. Three videos were chosen for each resident from recordings made during a previous study:
  • One taken at a mealtime,
  • One during a direct interaction between the resident and staff
  • One that was randomly selected.
Jao reports her results in The Gerontologist. She said,
'The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between environmental characteristics and apathy in long-term care residents with dementia. My interest in apathy was mainly driven by my clinical observations in nursing homes when I was a nurse practitioner student. I remember that no matter which nursing home I visited, I often saw a crowd of residents sitting in the living room or hallway with no interest in the surroundings and no emotional expression.'

5 Influences on Apathy in Dementia

Jao zoomed in on five key characteristics that affect the quality of life in nursing homes:
  1. Environmental stimulation
  2. Ambiance
  3. Crowding
  4. Staff familiarity
  5. Light and sounds.
Of the five, clear and strong environmental stimulation associated most strongly with lower apathy in residents. This means an environment without competing background noise, and with a single straightforward stimulus. A good example is music therapy in a quiet room. A strong stimulus is intense, persistent, interesting and out of the ordinary. Even routine activities, such as a regular conversation or meal, count as moderate stimulation. A birthday party is considered strong simulation.

Strong Stimulation, No Stimulation, Overwhelming Stimulation

Assistant Professor Jao said,
'Interestingly, our results showed that clear and strong environmental stimulation is related to lower apathy, while no stimulation or an overwhelming environment with no single clear stimulation is related to higher apathy.'

'One of the innovative features of this study is that we used the Person-Environment Apathy Rating scale to measure environmental stimulation at an individual level. I believe that the same stimulation may be perceived differently or bring about different responses for different individuals in the same environment based on the individual's characteristics, interests and relevance to the stimulation. In fact, a stimulus may be clear to one person but unclear to another because of differences in hearing or visual abilities, especially in older adults.'

'One of the most important implications of these findings is that they will guide us in designing appropriate physical and social environments for dementia care that helps prevent or decrease apathy. We need more people to care about apathy for older adults with dementia.'
Jao plans to continue this research by replicating the study with a larger sample size and by looking more closely at the quality of interaction and communication between nursing home residents and their caregivers.

Full Article & Source:
Beating Apathy in Dementia

Unusual Dementia Facility Wants To Take Its Residents Back In Time

It’s always sunny inside the halls of an Ohio assisted living facility that has a one-of-a-kind approach to helping dementia patients feel comfortable in their surroundings.

A photo of the Lantern of Chagrin Valley assisted living facility got hundreds of comments after being posted on Reddit just a few days ago, showing the unique interior. 
Designed to have a 1930s-1940s feel, the facility wants to make dementia patients nostalgic, with an eye toward helping them relive their earliest memories.

The rooms are made to look like miniature houses on a golf course, complete with green floors, porches with rocking chairs and a ceiling that simulates sunny, blue skies by day and darkness at night. In the evening, lights on the patios come on, making it look as though you’re on an actual residential street. And there are other sensory enhancements, like the sounds of birds chirping and the smells of “peppermint and frankincense,” according to the News Herald.

CEO Jean Makesh says the elements have all been meticulously selected.

“I create a time capsule. It enables them to embrace everything around them,” he told The environment, he believes, has a calming effect, helping reduce common symptoms of dementia like agitation and anxiety.

The newest facility, pictured above, is the third of its kind in Ohio and just opened in July. At present, they only have one patient while they wait for state licensure, Makesh’s assistant, Heather Grice, tells The Huffington Post, but they have accommodations for up to 66 residents. Twenty-six of those spots are specifically for people with Alzheimer’s.

Besides enjoying the multi-sensory experience, residents at the new facility, like at the two others, will be encouraged to engage their minds ― whether it’s learning to write their names again or how to dress themselves each morning.

“We focus on what they can do and maximize on that and take things they can’t do and we work things back into their life,” Grice said.

Makesh said people have referred to him as “radical,” but he believes his method can help slow down the disease.  

Full Article & Source:
Unusual Dementia Facility Wants To Take Its Residents Back In Time

Friday, September 2, 2016

Glen Campbell Honored Among Alzheimer's Angst

Note:  The Falk/NASGA Legislative Team crafted the "Campbell/Falk Act" with the help of Senator Rusty Crowe and his wonderful legislative team. That bill became our signature bill and it received positive reviews in many states around the county.

The Campbell/Falk Act easily and enthusiastically passed the Tennessee Senate; but met with strong opposition in the House.  The House basically gutted our bill (removing accountability by adding a sentence which would have given public and professional guardians exemption from the requirements of the new law).  It was touch and go and we were worried the bill would not pass.

Were it not for the monumental efforts of Senator Rusty Crowe in negotiating with the House to remove the "free pass" the House version wished to give to public and professional conservators, the Campbell/Falk Act would not have passed at all.  

We are grateful to Senator Crowe for going more than the extra mile to ensure the passing of the re-drafted Campbell Falk Act in Tennessee, for his friendship and support, and the many hours he spent working with the Falk/NASGA legislative team to create the original bill which soon passed in its entirety in South Dakota.   

The country crooner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. This diagnosis spurred a documentary being filmed of his final tour as Campbell wanted to bring awareness to the disease to help others. It also brought on a family feud that continues today when Campbell does not have the ability to facilitate a reconciliation.

The prestigious Awards show will be televised for the first time in its 10 year history on September 9th, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. eastern on CBS. Glen Campbell will be honored by many via a medley of his hits by some of today’s hottest stars in country music at the 2016 ACM Honors which were filmed on August 30, 2016.

During the Awards show you will see a lot of great folks performing and being honored at this award show. What you won’t see are the adult children from Glen’s first and second marriages who were sitting in the audience get up and stand on the stage with Glen’s 4th wife and their 1/2 siblings to accept the award. The apparent shun and animosity did not go unnoticed by dozens of industry people in attendance and the Nashville music community is concerned.

There has been an ongoing feud between Glen’s 4th wife and some of his adult children from previous marriages for several years now. This unfortunately is happening more and more in families with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. It seems to be a growing epidemic happening in today’s modern families, especially in families where there have been multiple marriages. Some good came from this feud however as the two oldest Campbell children (Debby & Travis) teamed up with Catherine Falk, the daughter of deceased actor Peter Falk and secured the Campbell Falk Bill. That Bill became law this past September, 2016.

Full Article and Source:
Glen Campbell Honored Among Alzheimer's Angst

See Also:
NASGA:  NASGA Members in Legislative Action

Experts Address Elder Financial Abuse as Global Problem

Experts on elder abuse meet in June at Weill Cornell Medicine to discuss the financial exploitation of older people. Clockwise from left: Karl Pillemer, Bridget Penhale, Nelida Redondo, Kendon Conrad, Mark Lachs and Peter Lloyd-Sherlock. All photos: Ira Fox
Financial exploitation of older people by those who should be protecting them results in devastating health, emotional and psychological consequences. A group of international elder abuse experts met in June at Weill Cornell Medicine to map out a strategy for conducting research on this problem in low and middle income countries.

The meeting, organized by Dr. Mark Lachs, co-chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine and the Irene F. and I. Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. Karl Pillemer, director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, brought together experts from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Argentina.

"Over the last few years, studies have found financial abuse and exploitation of older people to be extremely prevalent and extremely harmful for older people," said Dr. Pillemer, who is also a professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. "These studies have mostly been done in the United States, England, and other high income countries, but very little is known about how this problem plays out in low-income countries. Our goal was to bring together research internationally and comparatively to try to understand this problem."

"This issue is an interesting integration of sociology, medicine, economics and geopolitics," said Dr. Lachs, who is director of Weill Cornell Medicine's Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care and director of geriatrics for the New York-Presbyterian Health System. "There has been growing interest here in the United States on financial vulnerability of older people, but I'm unaware of an international group that is focused on this."

One consequence of older people who are being financially exploited is that they cannot meet their own health needs. There are also psychological and emotional consequences because some older people live in fear of relatives who may be exploiting them and may give away much needed pensions to spouses, adult children, and other extended family members.

Top (from left): Chelsie Burchett, Bridget Penhale, Karl Pillemer, Janey Peterson, Kendon Conrad, Mark Lachs, Natal Ayiga, Steve Gresham. Bottom (from left): Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, David Burnes, Nelida Redondo.
According to Dr. Pillemer, based on available evidence, 5 to 10 percent of older people globally may experience some kind of financial exploitation. Exploitation can take different forms. In high-income countries, like the United States, the abuse may encompass theft, misuse of power of attorney or denying access to funds. In low-income regions, financial exploitation results from abuse of local laws and cultural norms. For example, in some South American countries, the law requires that children receive the parents’ dwelling, resulting in children moving parents into nursing homes in order to obtain the house. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, women may be accused of witchcraft in order to seize their property or gain access to their funds.

Government pensions in low-income countries have become a source of income for older people, which puts them at risk for financial exploitation. However, researchers need to be sensitive to local cultural norms in their conduct of research and analysis of data so governments are not hesitant to provide much needed income to older people, according to Dr. Lachs.

"In some of the countries there's a cultural expectation that if the older person has a pension it will be shared with other family members," Dr. Lachs said. "Whereas in my practice, if a patient tells me that a child is asking for some of their pension, it raises the specter of the potential for financial exploitation."

The group, Dr. Pillemer said, concluded that there's a desperate need for new scientific knowledge about the extent, causes and consequences of this problem, as well as a need to understand how the problem of financial exploitation is the same across countries, and how it differs. The group is now working on a white paper to make the case for comparative research on financial exploitation of older people.

"That's important for a very critical reason: By looking at the dynamics of financial abuse in different countries, we can understand how policies affect both how much abuse occurs and how to deal with it," Dr. Pillemer said.

In addition to Dr. Pillemer and Dr. Lachs, attendees of the meeting were:
  • Bridget Penhale, Reader in Mental Health, University of East Anglia, UK;
  • Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Professor of Social Policy and International Development, University of East Anglia, UK;
  • Steve Gresham, Executive Vice President, Private Client Group, Fidelity Investments, and Adjunct Lecturer in International and Public Affairs, Watson Institute, Brown University;
  • David Burnes, Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto;
  • Nelida Redondo, Senior Researcher, Universidad Isalud, Argentina;
  • Natal Ayiga, North-West University, South Africa;
  • Janey Peterson, Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in Medicine, Integrative Medicine and Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine; and
  • Ken Conrad, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago.
The meeting was supported by the Elbrun & Peter Kimmelman Family Foundation, Inc.

Full Article & Source:
Experts Address Elder Financial Abuse as Global Problem

Montgomery County judge's suspension amended

HOUSTON - A Montgomery County judge indicted for official misconduct had the terms of his suspension amended to allow him to perform administrative duties.

Judge Craig Doyal was originally suspended without pay June 28 for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. At a July 26 hearing, Doyal and his attorneys argued that Doyal does not perform judicial duties as chief executive officer of Montgomery County and therefore would not jeopardize the interests of court proceedings.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct Tuesday amended the order of suspension so that Doyal is suspended with pay from judicial functions. He will be able to continue to perform "non-adjudicative, administrative duties of Montgomery County Judge," the order said.

"I am thrilled to get back to the critical budget issues and the work of the county. It has always been my honor to serve this county. I know I have followed the law in my work here and that I did nothing improper. My lawyer and I will deal with the misdemeanor charge in court and I will get back to dealing with the county business and continue to do all I can to serve this great and growing county," Doyal said in a statement.

Doyal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark and political consultant Mark Davenport were indicted June 24 by a Montgomery County grand jury.

They all face misdemeanor charges for allegedly holding private discussions about a $280 million road construction bond they passed in November.

If convicted, all four could face punishment ranging from probation to six months in jail.

Full Article & Source:
Montgomery County judge's suspension amended

Jewish Family Service helps ‘forgotten population’ with Volunteer Guardian program

Lynn and Match 2
Volunteer Lynn Spencer (right) spends time with her ward, Margie as part of Jewish Family Service’s Volunteer Guardian program. Photo Credit J.J. Mesko-Kimmich.

There’s a forgotten population of adults here in Akron: those who are mentally or physically impaired or developmentally disabled and without anyone willing or able to care for them.

Two years ago, Jewish Family Service of Akron (JFS) and Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer partnered to institute a Volunteer Guardian Program to help serve this hidden population.

There are currently have 77 volunteers, but the baby boomer population is aging, creating increased need for additional volunteer support, says J.J. Mesko-Kimmich, who works for JFS as director of Volunteers for the program.

Says Stormer says of the program: “The need for compassionate, committed guardians is growing every year. I invite you to consider becoming a guardian through the JFS Volunteer Guardian Program. As a trained Volunteer Guardian, you can make a real difference to someone facing the most challenging time of their life.”

Volunteer Jay Regallis with his ward, Odie. Photo Credit J.J. Mesko-Kimmich.
Volunteer Jay Regallis with his ward, Odie. Photo Credit J.J. Mesko-Kimmich.

Program clients (wards), who are only accepted by referral from the Summit County Probate Court, must be 21 or older and must reside in Summit County. All JFS Volunteer Guardian clients live in nursing facilities and group homes that accept Medicaid.

The responsibilities of Volunteer Guardians include contacting their wards by telephone, letter and/or personal visit at least four times per year. Guardian paperwork is minimal; they are required to submit only one report per year to the court. Volunteer Guardians may be asked to assist with decisions involving medical treatment, housing, transportation and personal care necessities and options for their clients.

Says Kimmich: “In both the nursing home and the group home setting, there are supports and care teams in place to work through the decisions.  They all work together on behalf of the client, and the guardian is a part of that team, plus the Coordinated Care Team (CCT) at our office can help too. There are many supports in place.”

Volunteers must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license. They do not have to reside in Summit County. JFS and the Summit County Probate Court require that all Volunteer Guardian applicants submit to a background check. Once accepted, they are asked to make an 18-month commitment to the program.

Volunteers receive training before beginning to work with clients. Photo Credit: J.J. Mesko-Kimmich.
Volunteers receive training before beginning to work with clients. Photo Credit: J.J. Mesko-Kimmich.

Volunteer Guardians are carefully matched with their clients. Kimmich takes gender, age, location, special client needs and Volunteer Guardian skills into consideration when pairing volunteers with their clients. Volunteers choose their clients from those identified as matches. They may visit the client first before making a commitment to a specific individual.

JFS Volunteer Guardians have no financial or estate management responsibilities, nor do they have any personal care duties.

Each volunteer receives comprehensive training so that they may enter the field well-prepared and confident about their role in their client’s life. There are also optional supplemental quarterly volunteer training sessions, and program staff are always available to provide added support.

JFS and the Probate Court work together closely to administer the program, and it receives a significant portion of its funding from the Court.

To learn more about the JFS Volunteer Guardian Program, go to

Full Article & Source:
Jewish Family Service helps ‘forgotten population’ with Volunteer Guardian program

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Former director at Northland nursing home accused of stealing thousands from cancer victim

CLAY COUNTY, Mo. – A suburban mom is accused of stealing thousands from a cancer victim. Prosecutors say the suspect worked at a Northland retirement center and used the money for things like tanning, gasoline and groceries.

Angela Kreps, 35, used to be the director of social services at the Maple Wood Care Center off NE 79th Terrace, across from Oak Park High School. Court records say Kreps used her position at the center to gain the victim’s trust. Investigators say Kreps befriended 60-year-old Kay Wiley. Wiley is a cancer victim and suffered a stroke.

She told police she requires 24-hour skilled nursing care, which is why she lives at Maple Woods.

Court records say in 2014 and 2015, Kreps used Wiley's debit card to spend more than $3,000 without Wiley's permission. Police reports list nearly 50 "illegal transactions" at places like Quik Trip, Hobby Lobby, and Dollar tree. Investigators say Kreps also used Wiley's money at her own doctor's office and to renew her tanning membership at Venetian Tan.

The victim told detectives she has no guardian or power of attorney. Wiley said she "never gave Kreps permission to use her debit card when Wiley was not with her."

FOX 4’s Megan Dillard knocked on Kreps’ door Wednesday afternoon, but no one answered. Someone did close the garage door while the crew was on the front porch, ready to ask Kreps questions about the charges.

Sources tell FOX that 4 Kreps turned herself in earlier in August and is out on bond.

Tina Uridge is an expert advocate for older adults. She’s the Executive Director of Clay County Senior Services. Uridge said she would’ve liked to have seen stronger checks and balances in place.

She said it’s disturbing “to see a vulnerable older adult be taken advantage, especially someone that may have some cognitive impairment and putting all their trust into that care facility.”

Urdige says 1 out of 10 older adults will endure some kind of abuse and that financial exploitation of seniors is on the rise.

“I'm glad to see charges are being brought forth,” Uridge said.

Court records say Kreps also set up a Facebook page in the victim's name and signed up for online banking -- both without Wiley’s permission. Kreps quit her position at the center when the investigation started, according to court documents.

Maple Woods wouldn’t comment to FOX 4, citing “confidentiality and HIPAA,” though the questions were in regards to Kreps and the center’s policy, not the victim.

Kreps could face fines and up to seven years behind bars if convicted.

Full Article & Source:
Former director at Northland nursing home accused of stealing thousands from cancer victim

Abuse and neglect of the Alzheimer’s patient -red flags

By Micha Shalev

Micha Shaley
This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will be in the October issue of the Fifty Plus Advocate.

Elder Abuse is one of the most overlooked public health hazards in the United States. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that between one and two million elderly adults have suffered from some form of elder abuse. The main types of elder abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, neglect and self-neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. Elders with dementia are thought to be at greater risk of abuse and neglect than those of the general elderly population.

One occasionally reads of sensationalized newspaper stories of elderly Alzheimer’s and dementia victims who were subjected to abuse or neglect while they were residents in long term care facility.

Based on such newspaper accounts, one would have the impression that most cases of the abuse or neglect of Alzheimer’s or dementia victims takes place in such facilities. While such sorry events and incidents rarely do take place in such facilities, they are far from the norm. Recent studies however, have established rather clearly the troubling fact that most cases of the abuse of Alzheimer’s and dementia victims actually take place in the family home setting, by their own family members or paid care givers.

Potential indicators of abuse
Below are some potential indicators for each type of elder abuse. Please be aware that this does not represent a definitive listing.

Passive and active neglect
  • Evidence that personal care is lacking or neglected
  • Signs of malnourishment (e.g. sunken eyes, loss of weight)
  • Chronic health problems both physical and/or psychiatric
  • Dehydration (extreme thirst)
  • Pressure sores (bed sores)
Physical abuse
  • Overt signs of physical trauma (e.g. scratches, bruises, cuts, burns, punctures, choke marks)
  • Signs of restraint trauma injury – particularly if repeated (e.g. sprains, fractures, detached retina, dislocation, paralysis)
  • Additional physical indicators – hypothermia, abnormal chemistry values, pain upon being touched
  • Repeated “unexplained” injuries
  • Inconsistent explanations of the injuries
  • A physical examination reveals that the older person has injuries which the caregiver has failed to disclose
  • A history of doctor or emergency room “shopping”
  • Repeated time lags between the time of any “injury or fall” and medical treatment
Material or financial abuse
  • Unusual banking activity or bank statements (credit card statements, etc.) no longer come to the older adult
  • Documents are being drawn up for the elder to sign but the elder cannot explain or understand the purpose of the papers
  • The elder’s living situation is not commensurate with the size of the elder’s estate (e.g. lack of new clothing or amenities, unpaid bills)
  • The caregiver only expresses concern regarding the financial status of the older person and does not ask questions or express concern regarding the physical and/or mental health status of the elder
  • Personal belongings such as jewelry, art, or furs are missing
  • Signatures on checks and other documents do not match the signature of the older person
  • Recent acquaintances, housekeepers, “care” providers, etc. declare undying affection for the older person and isolate them from long-term friends or family
  • Recent acquaintances, housekeeper, caregiver, etc. make promises of lifelong care in exchange for deeding all property and/or assigning all assets over to the acquaintance, caregiver, etc.
Psychological abuse
  • Psychological signs:
    • Ambivalence, deference, passivity, shame
    • Anxiety (mild to severe)
    • Depression, hopelessness, helplessness, thoughts of suicide
    • Confusion, disorientation
  • Behavioral signs:
    • Trembling, clinging, cowering, lack of eye contact
    • Evasiveness
    • Agitation
    • Hypervigilance
Sexual abuse
  • Trauma to the genital area (e.g. bruises)
  • Venereal disease
  • Infections/unusual discharge or smell
  • Indicators common to psychological abuse may be concomitant with sexual abuse

Full Article & Source:
Abuse and neglect of the Alzheimer’s patient -red flags

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New law extends statute of limitations in financial exploitation cases involving elderly, disabled

BENTON —Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law this week that extends the time period that charges can be brought against individuals accused of financially exploiting older adults or people with disabilities.

The law extends the statute of limitations for such crimes from three years to seven years, according to a news release from Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The measure was signed into law by Rauner on Monday and is effective immediately.

“Unfortunately, the financial abuse of seniors and the disabled is on the rise,” Forby said in a statement. “It can force these vulnerable populations into dire financial situations, robbing them of their savings, their financial security and even their homes.

“It’s important that we continue to make necessary changes to our current safeguards to help prevent this type of abuse from occurring.”

Reported rates of elder abuse in Southern Illinois are higher than state and national averages. David Mitchell, the adult protective services unit director at Shawnee Alliance, a nonprofit that serves area seniors, recently told the newspaper that the rate of abuse of seniors and people with disabilities in Shawnee alliance’s 13-county catchment area is about 15 per 1,000 people. The statewide and nationwide rate is about 3.5 per 1,000 people, Mitchell said.

While recognizing elder abuse as a serious problem across the country, Mitchell also noted that this area may experience higher rates, in part, because of the awareness that has been created by Shawnee Alliance. The agency’s extensive outreach and education efforts on the issue of elder abuse are a positive for the region, he said.

Abuse can take many forms, including abuse that is physical, emotional or financial abuse or exploitation. It can rise to the level of a criminal offense, in which case that must be reported to the authorities, though Mitchell noted that often times the abuse is more subtle and involves exploitation by a family member that uses sob stories that may or may not be true, or threats not to visit an older person that is lonely, to convince her to fork over funds, sometimes funds she doesn’t have to give.

In a June interview, on the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Mitchell said in an interview that by far the most common form of abuse cases reported to Shawnee Alliance involve financial exploitation. The most likely abuser is a family member or other trusted caregiver, he said.

Shawnee Alliance’s protective service unit investigates reports of abuse to adults age 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, broadly defined, ages 18 to 59.

The measure was House Bill 5805. It was co-sponsored by Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, in the House. The vote to change the statute of limitations was unanimous in the House and Senate.

Full Article & Source:
New law extends statute of limitations in financial exploitation cases involving elderly, disabled

No bail for alleged leader in $1B Florida health care fraud

MIAMI — A businessman accused of orchestrating a $1 billion Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme in South Florida will be staying in jail until his trial.

Court records show a Miami federal judge on Friday denied bail for 47-year-old Philip Esformes, finding he was a flight risk and might obstruct the ongoing investigation. Esformes faces a potential life prison sentence if convicted of multiple fraud, conspiracy and other charges.

Authorities say Esformes ran 30 nursing homes and assisted living facilities that used a network of corrupt doctors and hospitals to refer thousands of patients to the facilities even though they did not qualify for services. Esformes and others also allegedly got kickbacks for steering patients to other health centers.

The Justice Department says it's the largest health fraud case in U.S. history.

Full Article & Source:
No bail for alleged leader in $1B Florida health care fraud

Accused wealthy fraudster's alleged parenting style: 'Money is king'

Philip Esformes
MIAMI - While he was under investigation for what the U.S. Department of Justice described as the largest health fraud case in U.S. history, Philip Esformes was also getting divorced.

Two out of of his three children are already in college, so the family conflict centered on their youngest son -- a 16-year-old Hebrew Academy student from Miami Beach.

On social media, the boy referred to Esformes, 47, as "the greatest dad in the world." But his mom, Sherri Tennenbaum-Esformes, claimed the father was exposing the boy to a lifestyle of "sex, drugs and rock and roll."

Esformes owned a network of skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities in Miami-Dade County.

He was a philanthropist with a lavish lifestyle that extended from Miami Beach to Los Angeles and Chicago. Now he stands accused in a plot to bill more than $1 billion to government programs meant to help the poor, aged, disabled and blind.

Family court records showed scandalous allegations about the value system that might have led to his demise.

The 45-year-old mom described Escortes' parenting style was based on his belief that "money is king." She accused him of using his vast wealth -- reported at $78 million in 2014 -- to keep her son away from her by buying him off.

Tennenbaum-Esformes claimed a Miami Beach mansion designed for the boy to use as a gym and basketball training area became a bachelor pad, "contributing to the delinquency of a minor." A locker room area was converted into a bedroom, and she allegedly found condoms there.

Investigators in the Medicare and Medicaid fraud case said Esformes sometimes got kickbacks through payments for his son's basketball coach and escort services.

FBI special agent in charge George Piro and U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer talk about health fraud case July 22.

The federal government has since seized their North Bay Road estate, including the multimillion-dollar mansion with the basketball court, luxury cars, watches and millions in cash from the couple's shared bank accounts.

During his recent bail hearing in federal court in Miami, his attorneys, Marissel Delcalzo and Michael Pasano, of Carlton Fields, said Esformes is innocent.

They described him as a man who doesn't have a criminal record and who is dedicated to his religion and helped orphans. As a father, the attorneys said, he wouldn't flee the country and leave his family behind.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres didn't buy it. After the Aug. 3-4 hearing, Torres denied Esformes release on bail.

Medicare Fraud Strike Force investigators and Tennenbaum-Esformes describe Esformes as unscrupulous.

Tennenbaum-Esformes' attorney, Andrew M. Leinoff, said in July that although Esformes was supportive of his son's love for basketball, he was otherwise "uninvolved in the minor child's academics, health and welfare."

Esformes encouraged the teen to exploit women and "texted, communicated and encouraged suggestions of inappropriate behavior," Leinoff said. Tennenbaum-Esformes claimed she was concerned about the values he was instilling in their son.

Prosecutors claimed Esformes not only stole resources meant to help the poor, but he also endangered patients' health at his facilities with unnecessary medical treatments.

Although Esformes doesn't have a criminal record, this isn't the first time he has been accused of prioritizing profits over the best interest of patients.

He and his father, Rabbi Morris Esformes, of Chicago, who also owned nursing homes, have been a part of two civil court settlements.

In a 2006 case linked to Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami, there was a $15.4 million settlement over accusations of kickbacks paid to physicians for referrals. The other was a $5 million settlement related to a 2004 deal to replace their nursing homes' pharmacy providers with a pharmacy they sold to Omnicare, the nation's largest provider of pharmacy services to nursing homes.

They didn't admit to any wrongdoing in any of the cases. Prosecutors said they continued their criminal behavior after the settlements; they were just more careful.

With some of his alleged co-conspirators betraying him, Philip Esformes could face life in prison if found guilty of health care and wire fraud, kickbacks, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

"It's the husband's belief that because he is very successful, has a lot of money and makes a lot of money, that the rules do not apply to him," Leinoff said, according to family court records.

Philip Esformes remained in a federal detention center Wednesday in downtown Miami.

The interagency Medicare Fraud Strike Force is said to have charged about 2,900 people accused of collectively billing Medicare for more than $10 billion in the past nine years. Medicare has been able to recoup between $1 to $1.5 billion through convictions and settlements, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General.

Full Article & Source:
Accused wealthy fraudster's alleged parenting style: 'Money is king'

See Also:
Elder Care Company Placed Thousands of Seniors into Nursing Homes to Defraud Medicare and Medicaid

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pearl City woman, 95, wrongfully evicted from her own home

WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 95-year-old Pearl City woman was wrongfully evicted from her home this week, when a property protection company mistakenly identified her home for her next door neighbor's foreclosed unit.

Felicidad Marquez has owned her home since 1969.

But on Tuesday, her locks were suddenly changed and she was forced to leave.

"I felt like this is not mine anymore and it hurts," she said, holding back tears.

Daughter Felicia Marquez-Wong says Ohio-based Safeguard Properties was ordered by mortgage company, Rushmore Loan Management, to lock up the property. But Marquez-Wong says the company confused her mother's home with the adjoining duplex unit, which has been foreclosed and vacant for years.

"We didn't know when we were going to be able to get back in the house so we naturally started to bring things out," Marquez-Wong said. "They locked the wrong house is basically what they had done."

Marquez-Wong says it's a mistake that could have been prevented if proper protocols were taken. The family was never given an eviction notice.

"We felt very violated that they would do something like this without our permission," said Marquez-Wong.

"I don't know the feeling, it's hard," her mother said. "My own place I could not get in."

Two days passed with unanswered calls to Rushmore and Safeguard Properties. Marquez-Wong says it wasn't until she filed a police report that she finally got the code to the lock box.

She also provided documents showing her mother owned the property.

"We didn't get a chance to enter the house until two days later," Marquez-Wong said.

She said Rushmore admitted to the mistake but never apologized. Her mother's door was unnecessarily damaged in the process.

"It's not something you would do to someone's home," she said. "Just create a big hole where you can see inside your doorknob."

Marquez-Wong says it's been a stressful week and is worried other families will fall victim to unfair evictions.

"What you folks did really traumatized my mother and my family," she said. "Please don't do that to other homes."

Hawaii News Now spoke with a local attorney who says the entire process was illegal because no eviction noticed was issued. Homeowners have a right to a court decision first.

Calls to Rushmore Loan Management Services and Safeguard Properties were not immediately answered.

Full Article & Source:
Pearl City woman, 95, wrongfully evicted from her own home

EDITORIAL: Judicial discipline

Las Vegas Review-Journal

The state Judicial Discipline Commission last week dropped the hammer on Catherine Ramsey, a North Las Vegas Municipal Court judge.

After Judge Ramsey admitted to seven charges of professional misconduct, the panel barred her from seeking re-election next year and suspended her without pay for the final three months of her six-year term.

While it would be preferable if voters determined Judge Ramsey’s professional future, the commission’s action sends a strong message that judges have a responsibility to both the public and the legal profession to maintain high standards of integrity.

And while we’re on the topic of judicial integrity, let’s hope the commission also takes a hard look at the behavior of Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen.

Judge Hafen in May garnered national attention when he ordered a public defender handcuffed and confined to the jury box after she tried to argue on behalf of her client. A group of defense attorney’s subsequently filed a complaint with the Judicial Discipline Commission arguing the judge’s actions showed “a complete disregard for the law.”

Then, earlier this month during a preliminary hearing, the judge banished the relatives of murder victims from his court and threatened to have an R-J reporter arrested for recording audio of the proceedings, a routine practice.

Judge Hafen failed to advance past the June primary election in his effort to secure a second term, so the discipline commission may be inclined to pass on the matter. In fact, though, a strong statement from the panel acknowledging that his behavior was inexcusable and unprofessional might go a long way toward deterring other jurists who may have similar proclivities.

Full Article & Source:
EDITORIAL: Judicial discipline

Dothan woman charged with financial exploitation of 74-year-old

Nancy Denise Wells
A Dothan resident faces nearly a dozen felony charges in connection with the financial exploitation of a 74-year-old woman.

Dothan Police Lt. Will Glover said police arrested 39-year-old Nancy Denise Wells and charged her with felony second-degree financial exploitation of the elderly and 10 felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Glover said the victim in all the offenses is a 74-year-old relative of Wells.

“She’s charged with exploitation because she stole approximately $1,000 from the victim by using her credit card approximately 60 times without permission,” Glover said.

Wells was booked into the Houston County Jail on bail totaling $110,000.

According to earlier Dothan Eagle reports, Wells' arrest became the six arrest this year by the Dothan Police Department for financial exploitation of the elderly.

Full Article & Source:
Dothan woman charged with financial exploitation of 74-year-old

Monday, August 29, 2016

2 probate judges disciplined for inappropriate behavior

DADEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Two Alabama probate judges have been disciplined by a judicial court: one for sexting a litigant and the other for ruling on matters in her father's estate.

According to ( ) Tallapoosa County Probate Judge Leon Archer was suspended Monday for six months without pay for sexting with a litigant. Archer admitted that sexually explicit Facebook messaging exchanges included photos of his genitals, taken while at the county courthouse.

Probate Judge Earlean Isaac was charged with ethical violations regarding her actions on distributing money from her father's estate. Isaac agreed to resign effective Saturday. She also will never seek judicial office again.

Both Archer and Isaac had worked out agreements with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission on what their discipline would be before the Court of the Judiciary.

Full Article & Source:
2 probate judges disciplined for inappropriate behavior

New Legislation Provides Tools for Seniors to Combat Elder Abuse

Roxanne J. Persaud, Senator Persaud, New York legislation, elder abuse, senior citizens

Like many states throughout the country, New York State has existing elder laws that were developed with elder safety in mind. Despite lawmakers’ best efforts, some of these existing laws do not offer protection against the types of challenges that many elder citizens face today. In the wake of new exploitation techniques and scams that rely on the unwitting senior citizen, their assets are becoming more and more susceptible to criminal activity. According to Senate Bill S8098, on July 21, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed a new addition into law that was dutifully sponsored by Senator Roxanne Persaud, which provides more tools for New York’s seniors as they fight against various forms of elder abuse.

The bill is unique in that it includes new resources to help combat financial scams that affect senior citizens and their assets. According to Persaud, scams are becoming more and more deceitful and sophisticated as they target individuals who may not otherwise know how to protect themselves.
“Our state will now make sure that we give seniors a chance to learn about what traps are out there, and who to go to if they think someone or some business is offering something too good to be true,” Senator Persaud explained.
The bill to amend New York State elder law provides tips on money management, applying for benefits and raising awareness of the myriad of rip-offs used by predators to separate elders from their money.  The additions to the pre-existing laws were effective immediately upon Governor Cuomo’s signature and were added to New York Elder Law § 217 (1) (d). This bill is another in a long list of legislation proposals that require 21st century considerations. Despite its uniqueness in nature, it recieved unanimous support from the Senate Rules Committee and an equal amount of support on the Senate floor.

If you wish to review the legislation, you can download a copy here:
Full Article & Source:
New Legislation Provides Tools for Seniors to Combat Elder Abuse

Morristown woman pleads guilty

A Morristown woman pled guilty yesterday to Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult.  Northfield police were called to Three Links Care Center in September of last year on report of a resident’s Power of Attorney not paying the bills.  53 year old Loretta Anne Fossum was accused of bilking an elderly Northfield woman out of thousands of dollars over a nearly 2 year period.   

According to a source, Fossum moved into the woman’s home on Meldahl Lane in April of 2014 and started using her bank card for personal purchases soon after.   In October of 2014, Fossum closed the victim’s bank account and opened a new one adding her name.  In the Spring of 2015, the victim moved to Three Links. Fossum continued to live in the victim’s home but stopped paying the bills.  In September of 2105, she convinced the victim to make her Power of Attorney.  By October, debt collectors were calling the victim’s grandson.  Fossum faces up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.  Her sentencing is scheduled for November 2nd.  FossumLorettacomplaint (1)

Full Article & Source:
Morristown woman pleads guilty

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Who Guards the Guardians?

Texas counties have stripped thousands of elderly and disabled citizens of their rights — and then forgotten about them.
They paid their tab at the Waffle House and put the plan in motion. Phil and John Bradley guided their mother, Rosamond, to the back seat of Phil’s car, and John took the seat beside her. Driving through the familiar North Dallas streets, it wasn’t long before Rosamond realized they weren’t headed to her home.

“What are you doing?” she asked. It was John who answered, “We’re taking you to Lubbock.”

Though Rosamond protested the whole way, her sons didn’t know what else to do. It was March 2009, and at 73 she insisted on living alone, hours away from them. Sometimes she didn’t take her medication; sometimes she took too much. Phil had been awakened one night recently by a call from the Dallas police. She’d smashed her bathroom window and alarmed the neighbors with her screaming, an incident that landed her in a psychiatric hospital for six weeks.

When they arrived at Rosamond’s new home at an Alzheimer’s care center, she refused to leave the car. According to notes in her medical record, she “did exhibit some aggressive behavior.” Rosamond recalls, “I struggled and kicked John where I shouldn’t have.” A Lubbock psychiatrist described Rosamond as “expressive/noisy,” “hyperactive” and “anxious/suspicious,” noting that she exhibited “bipolar disorder, psychosis and delusions.”

“It was terrible,” Phil recalls. “There were times that she couldn’t feed herself. She would do group therapy and it was just an absolute disaster.” Still, she kept demanding to go home. So, in late April, Phil filed a request in county court for authority over his mother’s affairs. Lubbock County Judge Tom Head reviewed the doctors’ reports and appointed Lubbock attorney David Kerby to advocate on Rosamond’s behalf. Rosamond says she never met the lawyer, who did not return the Observer’s calls. Without Rosamond present, which is common in guardianship cases, Head found her legally incapacitated. Phil won the right to decide where his mother lived, who she saw and how she spent her money, even if she objected — which she did, vehemently.

Rosamond says she was so heavily medicated that she spent much of her time in a fog. She couldn’t leave the nursing home without supervision, and only heard after the fact that her sons had sold her Cadillac and begun moving furniture out of her house. She began to see the move as a ploy by her sons to access her money, and she felt helpless. “I had no contact with anybody,” she recalls. “It was like being all alone.”

Rosamond wasn’t accustomed to traveling solo. In the last 20 years, her usual adventure partner was Jim Bithas, whose late wife had been Rosamond’s high school friend in Highland Park. Together, Rosamond and Jim had filled their golden years with epic vacations — a week in Alaska, a month in Australia, three weeks on a cruise to Antarctica. Theirs, Jim says, is “a long love story,” and with every thousand-mile journey, they inched closer to making the relationship official. At home, Rosamond had a gold ring from Jim, studded with diamonds they’d combined from their jewelry collections. It was to be her wedding ring when they married. Jim says he had no idea Rosamond was being moved to Lubbock. At the nursing home, once Rosamond was able to borrow Phil’s phone, the only person she wanted to call was Jim. “Guess where I am,” she told him.

Rosamond had landed in a little-understood corner of the legal system, a court-ordered, semi-autonomous state in which, for her own good, her most basic rights were given to another person. Guardianship is the state’s last-ditch tool to protect people from neglect or abuse, and although it saves lives, it can be a blunt instrument. More than 53,000 Texans, most of them elderly or intellectually disabled, are under a guardianship today. Some could never make their own decisions; others, in the eyes of a friend or family member, have been making decisions that are dangerously wrong. In either case, the remedy is the same: Their legal rights transfer to a person of the court’s choosing. Proponents credit guardianship for celebrity success stories such as Britney Spears, whose life and career regained stability after her father won the legal authority to step in. But guardianship is in the news much more often for its abuses.  (Click to continue)

Full Article & Source:
Who Guards the Guardians?

Make a Dementia-Friendly House

VIDEO - HOME IMPROVEMENT: It is important that people living with dementia have the best quality of life possible in their homes. See simple changes that create a more dementia-friendly environment, enhancing emotional well-being and independence.

Inexpensive and simple changes to a house can make it so much more dementia-friendly. See this video for good ideas from the Social Care Institute for Excellence.Below the video are Amazon links to helpful items described in this film clip.

Continued below video...

Make a Dementia-Friendly House

Living on a Dime and Left Behind

Living on a Dime and Left Behind
For more than 70 years, employers holding special certificates issued by the Department of Labor have been allowed to pay less than minimum wage to workers with disabilities - in some cases as little as a penny per hour. 

Also, most employers paying subminimum wage keep employees segregated from the community in sheltered workshops. 

In our newly released report, Living on a Dime and Left Behind: How a Depression-Era Labor Law Cheats Texas Workers with Disabilities, we highlight the details of these discriminatory practices in Texas and recommend solutions to end the injustice.

Living on a Dime and Left Behind