Saturday, June 17, 2017

New program launching to help victims of elderly abuse

In honor of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Harris County Protective Services is launching a new program that is the first of its kind.

As the senior population grows, the frequency of abuse to the elderly is expected to grow with it, according to Harris County Protective Services. In order to help senior victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation in Harris County, HCPS is introducing The Senior Justice Assessment Center.

The Assessment Center is home to experts in geriatric medicine, protective services, civil and criminal prosecution and law enforcement working together to protect vulnerable senior citizens and to increase prosecution of elder abuse.

“Ultimately, we want Harris County to be a community where it’s safe to grow old,” HCPS said. The goal is to ensure the dignity of seniors by increasing awareness, education and prosecution of elder abuse."

The center is modeled after multi-disciplinary centers for children. The new center was made possible through a grant awarded by the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division.

Full Article & Source:
New program launching to help victims of elderly abuse

Judge issues warrant for caregiver accused of stealing thousands from elderly couple

TACOMA, Wash. - A Tacoma family, hoping to face the caregiver accused of stealing from their dying father and grieving mother, got their day in court on Tuesday.

No sign of the defendant, but they got something else.

"I'm so glad they came to this," said Tacoma's Jean Armand, crying into the palms of her hands outside a Pierce County Superior Courtroom. "We got some justice today."

After waiting an hour and a half for defendant Katherine Jenkins to show, the judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

"It is just is like this huge weight is lifted, it’s out, there is no hiding, the world knows," said Joanne Tollefson, Jean Longchamps' daughter.

Her three children, Joanne, Joyce and Roy sat close to their mother waiting for Jenkins to arrive.

Longchamps wasn't sure she'd have the strength to face Jenkins, but said she knew she had to.

"I just need some closure, you know, I need it," she said.

Thursday will mark one year since Longchamps lost her husband Armand of 65 years.

Last July, while Armand was slipping away, police said caregiver Katherine Jenkins helped herself to the couple's banking information.

The family believes an unlocked desk drawer in the couple's dining room was easy prey.

"Why would you do that when you know he was dying," said Longchamps.

Last summer, we found the caregiver in her Tacoma home, she said she had worked for the Longchamps but had no idea Mr. Longchamps died or that money was missing.

We showed her nearly $5,000 in charges and the name 'Katherine Jenkins' and 'Kathy Jenkins' all over the couple's bank statement.

"It wasn't me. So, no I don't know who that person is and I wouldn't do something like that," said Jenkins last summer outside her Tacoma home.

After months of waiting on credit card company records, last week the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office charged Jenkins with identity theft and theft in the second degree.

She was summoned to appear in court this morning.

Longchamps and her family haven't seen Jenkins since the two days she worked in their home in May of 2016.

"I knew she was a coward because she preyed on the elderly and I think she just cemented it by not showing up," said Tollefson. "It just cements she is the coward that we know she is."

Edmonds Police Sergeant Shane Hawley said the no-shows in cases like these are not uncommon.

"If you're in to fraud and conning people that's just what you do," said Sgt. Hawley.

Edmonds Police are still looking for an accused caregiver from Mountlake Terrace.

She was charged in December, but was also a no-show in court.

"She was basically using his credit card as if it were her own," said Sergeant Hawley.

Prosecutors allege Naomi Kihato racked up $20,000 in unauthorized charges while caring for a 'vulnerable adult' over a four-month period.

Police have checked and rechecked all Kihato's last known addresses and nothing.

"It can kind of go into the wind pretty easy," said Hawley.

The sergeant said detectives usually find suspects when they trip up; they get a traffic ticket, their warrant pops up on their record and they get busted.

"A lot of times is as simple is someone runs a stop sign, ends up in another jurisdiction and we end up finding them," said Hawley.

Which is why police stress catching and reporting fraud early, always securing financial documents stored in your home and doing what the Longchamps did, reporting all suspected fraud.

"We did it for us, and hopefully, everybody else," said Tollefson.

The family's bank has reimbursed them for all the unauthorized charges.

Full Article & Source:
Judge issues warrant for caregiver accused of stealing thousands from elderly couple

Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor.

In recent years, the United Nations has increased the number of “international days” it observes. Many of these observances have gained global momentum and support, such International Women’s Day (March 8) and World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), which serve both educational and advocacy goals.

On June 15, the United Nations observes the less publicized World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, focusing attention on the hidden tragedy of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly people throughout the world. While this year’s theme focuses specifically on financial abuse, the sad reality is that the elderly face a broad array of exploitation that includes physical, medical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. The perpetrators include caregivers, strangers and, most tragically, family and friends.  A recent study has shown that perpetrators are more likely to be the spouses and adult children of victims rather than strangers. This means the specific abuse is compounded by the violation of profound trust.

According to the Justice Department, 10 percent of seniors are abused each year, with only 1 out of every 23 cases reported. The most likely victims are women, people with cognitive impairments, people without relatives, those with disabilities and those who are ill-housed, poor, physically weak or socially isolated.

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that the study of elder abuse “lags as much as two decades behind” parallel research about child abuse and domestic violence. Why? Elder abuse targets those who are vulnerable — and those who are most vulnerable are sometimes unwilling or often unable to seek help. Even those who are capable of seeking help have compelling reasons not to.

Love for a caregiver or embarrassment about the situation can make reporting difficult. Moreover, elders who do report abuse are more likely to be placed in nursing homes. While our society is getting more adept at identifying, preventing and addressing abuse for other demographic groups, the abused elderly remain at great risk because they are often voiceless.

Without further action, these problems may be exacerbated in the years to come. The Census Bureau reports that in 2012, the U.S. population age 65 or older was 40.3 million. With the aging baby boomers, this figure is expected to nearly double by 2050. The population age 85 and over is expected to grow from 5.0 million to 18 million in that same time.

This pattern is reflected worldwide. According to the United Nations, the growth of the elderly population will be most pronounced in economically developing nations, and elder abuse is described as “one of the least investigated types of violence.”  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Advocates: Guardianship law should focus on well-being

Missouri law concerning guardianship and conservatorship of incapacitated adults focuses too much on an individual’s finances and assets in comparison to their well-being, said two guardianship advocates who are part of a group trying to change the law.

After the death of Carl DeBrodie, a Fulton man with mental disabilities, his family and loved ones have said they want to see changes in state law and oversight procedures to ensure no one else endures a similar fate.

DeBrodie was reported missing from Second Chance group homes at 298 Claymine Drive in Fulton on April 17. Fulton police responded to a call of a walkaway at 7:31 a.m. that day.

Volunteers searched Fulton for DeBrodie in the days leading up to April 24, when police discovered DeBrodie’s body in a storage unit at Moore EZ Storage on South Westminster Avenue.

Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers said DeBrodie may have been dead for months.

During interviews at a vigil in remembrance of DeBrodie on Tuesday, family members and loved ones said they want to see law change to include more oversight of individuals like DeBrodie. Many are asking how DeBrodie could have been gone for possibly months without anyone calling attention to his disappearance.

As officers continue their investigation into DeBrodie’s death, the circumstances surrounding his care are unclear.

Callaway County Public Administrator Karen Digh Allen became DeBrodie’s guardian in 2008.

The law requires guardians of incapacitated adults, or people who are developmentally disabled or elderly and cannot care for themselves fully, to file an annual report with the court. The annual guardianship report is intended to show the court if the guardian is meeting the requirements listed in a section of state law.

The report includes:
  • The number of times the guardian has had contact with an incapacitated adult, or ward;
  • Whether the guardian received a copy of the ward’s treatment or habilitation plan if the ward was institutionalized and whether the guardian agrees with it;
  • The date a physician last saw the ward and why;
  • Major changes in the ward’s physical or mental condition.
Court records show Allen filed annual reports for DeBrodie every year. Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Carol England approved the most recent guardianship report from Allen on Jan. 18. Those reports are secured documents, meaning they are not available to the public.

Advocates push to update the law

David English, a University of Missouri law professor, is a member of Missouri’s Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders, or MO-WINGS, a group of attorneys, public administrators, service providers and more trying to update the state’s guardianship law.

The law was last overhauled in 1983 and doesn’t reflect modern-day standards, which place more emphasis on an individual’s care rather than their property, finances and assets, English said. The law heavily focuses on conservatorship, he said, going back to 1830 when more importance was placed on property than the person.

Despite any modernization of the law, English said a concern still would be how the courts enforce the requirement for an annual report. Some courts don’t ensure guardians file the report and even if they do, some courts don’t sufficiently monitor the information in them, he said.

If a court sees a guardian is making little to no visits, a judge can call the guardian into court to explain the lack of visitation. English said a guardian should meet with a client at least once quarterly, but state law does not specify how many times a guardian must visit a client.

Glenn Koenen, a retired St. Louis resident, is the guardian for a friend with Alzheimer’s Disease and said he visits his friend, who he did not want to identify, at least twice a week, which is not required by the court. Koenen said he also accompanies his friend to all doctors’ visits and running major errands, such as purchasing a new refrigerator about a month ago.

Koenen said guardians have to be able to put in the time needed to properly care for that person. As a retiree, he said, he can adjust his schedule to respond to his friend’s needs.

“If you don’t have someone to make that commitment, they can fall through the cracks,” he said.

The paperwork required by the probate court is 95 percent related to Koenen’s friend’s money and 5 percent related his quality of life, Koenen said.

“They worry about the money to a ridiculous degree and they don’t seem as concerned with life and quality of life,” he said.

Incapacitated adults come under guardianship of public administrators when relatives or friends are either unable or unwilling to care for them.

English said public administrators’ offices sometimes face funding challenges, which lead to smaller staffs and bigger caseloads. He said the ideal caseload is around 40 cases.

Allen would not comment when reached by phone on Friday. She has said she’s been instructed by police not to speak to press. Allen’s Facebook page for her 2016 campaign stated she had 154 people with court-appointed guardianships or conservatorships.

Rachael Rowden, who owned Second Chance while DeBrodie lived there, has also said she will not comment about DeBrodie’s care, citing the ongoing investigation into his death.

Cathy Richards, former Boone County public administrator, said many public administrators want to see their clients more often, but lack the funding to do so. Public administrators sometimes have wards who live in another part of the state, causing transportation challenges, she said.

“Eighty to 90 percent of public administrators I worked with wanted to see them more often but couldn’t because of budget constraints,” she said. “They didn’t have anybody to pay their mileage, they didn’t have anybody to help with anything.”

The public administrator is intended to be the “last resort” of guardianship for an individual, said Dolores Sparks, advocacy specialist with the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, but courts will appoint a public administrator even when a capable family member is willing to care for a ward.

A ward’s safety can be increased by getting the individual out in the community or visiting with family, she said.

DeBrodie’s family and loved ones have claimed Second Chance cut off visits with him. Mary Martin, DeBrodie’s guardian and caretaker for nearly a decade, said the group home stopped her visits with DeBrodie after she called a hotline when she suspected he had been abused.

“What the Developmental Disabilities Council believes is when people with disabilities are a part of the community and family, there’s a set of eyes in community that sees you and recognizes if you had bruises on you face or if they haven’t seen you for a number of days,” Sparks said.

State agency requires monthly visits

The Department of Mental Health, which contracted services with Second Chance, has launched its own investigation in coordination with police. Debra Walker, department spokeswoman, said she could not speak about the details of that investigation.

From fiscal years 2014 to 2016, the department paid Second Chance more than $2 million for its services, Walker said in an email.

The state agency also contracted with Callaway County Special Services for case management services, requiring monthly face-to-face visits with clients, family or guardians and direct care staff. Of the department’s oversight processes, case management review is the most frequent. Callaway County Special Services and agencies like it maintain their own documentation of reviews.

Callaway County Special Services released a statement to the Tribune when asked for comment.

“We are deeply saddened about the loss of Mr. DeBrodie,” the statement said. “Callaway County Special Services is, and has been, conducting its own review related to Second Chance homes, our staff and procedures. We are unable to comment further, at this time, due to privacy and confidentiality obligations.”

The Department of Mental Health started contracting with agencies such as Callaway County Special Services several years ago after budget constraints caused the department to downsize its case management services, Walker said. The department no longer performs targeted case management of all providers, she said.

Now, department staff known as technical assistance coordinators perform annual reviews of case management agencies. The agencies submit documentation at the mental health department’s request within 30 days.

Second Chance, like other individualized supported living facilities in the state, are also required to undergo Medicaid waiver certifications every two years through the mental health department to ensure providers are complying with clients’ legal rights, health, safety and requirements of these facilities. Clients, direct care staff and agency management are interviewed in this process.

Second Chance received certification first in 2006 and every two years after. Violations were noted in 2008 and 2016, but corrected by Second Chance in the appropriate time frame.

The Department of Mental Health also conducts a provider relations review with case management agencies every three years and a quality of service review that uses a random sample of 400 individuals that targets health, safety, inclusion and self-advocacy.

Individuals with more serious medical needs also can receive an optional review of their registered nurse.

The Department of Mental Health recently released two investigation reports conducted after receiving complaints about Second Chance employees who allegedly threatened clients.

Both investigations were substantiated, Janet Gordon, the department’s records custodian, previously said in an email.

Walker said in an email that investigations are triggered by the department’s regional office staff and/or contracted agency employee reports, complaints from the Department of Health and Senior Services and/or Department of Social Services hotlines that mention a Department of Mental Health consumer or reports of abuse or neglect submitted through the mental health department’s Constituent Services Office.

Misuse of consumer funds, physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse or verbal abuse that are substantiated lead to disqualification of an agency employee, Walker said. No disqualifications resulted from the Second Chance investigations, she said, because department regulations, as of August 2012, do not disqualify an agency employee unless he or she had two or more substantiated charges within a 12-month period, she said.

Full Article & Source:
Advocates: Guardianship law should focus on well-being

Commentary: New law protects victims of violence at every age

An older woman who is suffering from dementia and severe mobility impairments is referred to a specialized safe shelter for older adults. She just has been discharged from a hospital, where she was treated for severe injuries inflicted by her adult son —who also acts as her caretaker. The shelter helps her obtain a protective order so that her abusive adult child can no longer harm her.

Unbelievably, though, when this victim of abuse is admitted to the shelter, her son — the very person whose abuse led to her need for medical care and protection — is listed as having the power of attorney for her, allowing him to make medical and financial decisions on her behalf. In this horrific situation, under Maryland’s previous laws, even a protective order would not prevent an abuser from retaining the ability to make health care decisions for the parent he continuously and savagely abused.

Fortunately, Maryland’s state legislators recognized the peril of allowing abusers to make such decisions for their victims. Under legislation sponsored by Del. Shelly Hettleman and Sen. Delores Kelley and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 25, an individual in Maryland is now prohibited from serving as a health care agent for a patient if that individual is the subject of a protective order for that patient, or if that individual is the spouse of a patient who has a separation agreement or has filed for divorce.

The legislation is another step forward in protecting all victims of domestic and family violence at every age, especially those most vulnerable, from being continually controlled and potentially further harmed by their abusers.

Our organizations, the ElderSAFE™ Center at Charles E. Smith Life Communities in Rockville and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, both helped champion this bill under the leadership of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, the Women’s Law Center, with support from SARC (The Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center).  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Commentary: New law protects victims of violence at every age

Nursing Home Resident Says She’s Sad Because Her Hands Are Ugly, So Worker Takes Action

 For some reason in America, people think that getting older isn’t attractive. But the truth is that people age like fine wine. Although older people’s skin might not be as elastic as younger people’s, beauty is so much more than how we look on the outside. And it took one nursing home worker named Brandalyn Mae Porter to show us that. Because the features we dislike about ourselves truly do not determine our worth or beauty. And Brandalyn, who spends a lot of her time with elderly people in a Texas nursing home, is not afraid to remind her elders about this fact. Every time she does, they thank her for the reminder…

Because Brandalyn works with elderly people, she knows that a lot of them are not confident about how they look. Because society has taught us to turn to plastic surgery and other procedures as we age, many people do not feel as beautiful as they should.

Because Brandalyn is a creative young woman, she often looks for fun and engaging ways to interact with the nursing home residents. One day she was painting a new resident’s nails. And the elderly woman opened up to Brandalyn about her insecurities.

Brandalyn shared her uplifting experience on the Love What Matters Facebook page:

“Today I painted a new residents nails at work and as we were going over colors, she mentioned she wanted clear. The only thought that came to my mind was ‘CLEAR?! That’s no fun.’ I asked her why she wanted clear and she said, ‘My hands are ugly, I don’t want to draw attention to them.’

“I then carefully responded with, ‘Your hands tell the story of your life. They tell the story of love, of care and adventure. These hands have touched and held things that most people can only wish to one day.’ And with that, she went with the color pink for her nails. Sometimes what we are so insecure with, others find beauty in.”

Not only did Brandalyn help this resident see herself as beautiful again, she reminded her that her hands show a lifetime of experience. This is something young people often envy and desire for themselves. But unless they’ve gone through the life and have those hands, they’ve yet to earn that experience.

The young nursing home worker’s Facebook post got a lot of attention. Many people have come forward to share their love for what Brandalyn is doing for her residents.

Trish Kristan Ricker wrote, “I love this. Hands do tell the life story. One my most treasured pictures is my mom’s hands and my baby’s hands together. My baby was two months old and my mom was 71, dying from pancreatic cancer. This is one of the few pictures I have of that time.”

Kati Marie Phillips wrote the following about her family: “It was amazing to introduce my daughters to my great grandmother Midge and just sitting with her hearing all her life stories fills my heart I love older people they are so full of knowledge and wisdom.”

Full Article & Source:
Nursing Home Resident Says She’s Sad Because Her Hands Are Ugly, So Worker Takes Action

Thursday, June 15, 2017

An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America

 An Age for Justice; Elder Abuse in America, a video produced by the Elder Justice Now campaign, shows the families and individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by elder abuse.

The video provides stark proof of the financial, emotional, and phsycial and psychological impact of the violence and abuse that an estimated five million Americans face every day. We hear from Vicki Bastion, 92, who installed a security gate inside her home to protect herself and what valuables she had left from her grandson and his gang‐related friends; Betty Beckles talks about her daughter beating her; Bob Lee tells us about his father, who was victimized by a paid caregiver causes depression that contributed to his death; and Pat Smith tells us about her husband, who has Alzheimers disease and was victimized financially by a young woman in Las Vegas who walked with $750,000.

The video was produced by the National Council on Aging and WITNESS, to shine the light on what one interviewee called a dark mark on our humanity.

An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America

Who can you trust? Avoiding elder exploitation

According to the assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated four out of every ten elders are financially exploited. The National Center for Elder Abuse has provided 10 signs that may indicate financial exploitation as follows:

• Sudden change in bank account or bank practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;

• Names added to an elder’s bank signature card;

• Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;

• Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;

• Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions;

• Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;

• Discovery of an elder person’s signature forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;

• Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possession;

• Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family;

• Provision of services that are not necessary.*

(*As cited in Investment Advisor “10 Signs of Financial Exploitation.”)

What can you do to try to prevent financial exploitation? Having a good estate plan that includes a financial power of attorney can help. In the power of attorney, you choose the person you trust to act on your behalf. Notifying this person that he/she is your agent will put them on notice if someone is suddenly acting on your behalf financially.

The person who executes a financial power of attorney is the principal. The person you list to act on your behalf is your “agent.” If the agent acts only upon the principal’s incapacity, the document should state what “incapacity” means. For example, it may require two doctors stating you no longer have capacity to manage your affairs.

But, an individual cannot execute documents when he/she has lost capacity. Sometimes an individual trying to take advantage will fill out a financial power of attorney form and have the form executed by the principal who does not have capacity. What can be done when a person seems to have authority under a power of attorney but is taking advantage?

A medical agent, the principal’s spouse, parent, descendent, or person who demonstrates sufficient interest in the principal’s welfare, are some of the individuals who can petition a court to review the agent’s conduct and grant appropriate relief.

But what if the individual does not have any powers of attorney? If the person has lost capacity, a conservatorship and guardianship is necessary to give someone authority to act. If there are changes such as those listed in the 10 signs above, a conservatorship and guardianship may be necessary to protect the individual’s assets with court supervision.

Find out ways to protect yourself against exploitation and learn how you can intervene on an at-risk person’s behalf at “Who Can You Trust? Avoiding Elder Exploitation,” a free educational workshop that will be presented by The Law Office of Brown & Brown, P.C. in Montrose June 12 and in Delta on Monday, June 19, both from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Please see call 243-8250 to register.

Full Article & Source:
Who can you trust? Avoiding elder exploitation

June 21st is "The Longest Day"

The Longest Day is all about love. Love for all those affected by Alzheimer's disease. On the summer solstice, team up with the Alzheimer’s Association and select any activity you love — or an activity loved by those affected — to help end Alzheimer’s.

Together, we will raise funds and awareness for care and support while advancing research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Philly nursing home has abysmal rating and rodents, too

A troubled Philadelphia nursing home recently achieved a dubious distinction from a federal agency: lowest rated, based on inspections nationally of 139 homes insured by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On a scale of 100, Bala Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wynnefield Heights scored a 2. Federal inspectors found 58 “safety and health” violations, including 37 that put residents in the 180-bed facility in jeopardy. Among them: Missing or broken handrails. Blocked or locked fire exits. Exposed wiring and missing protective plates. Multiple broken “call-for-aid” devices. Rodent infestation.

“From the report,” said David B. Miller, whose family has owned the home since the 1990s, “you’d think this was a dump.” It’s not, he said.

Bala Nursing, at 4001 Ford Rd., is a two-story masonry building surrounded by manicured shrubs and flower beds. On approach, it appears attractive. Its lobby is spotless.

But on a recent tour, a reporter stepped into its kitchen only to be mistaken by an employee for the exterminator who’d been summoned.

“They want to shut down the kitchen,” the employee, a woman named Angela, explained. She pointed to a mouse hole at the base of a wall. “We can’t get rid of them.”

Told he was a reporter, she replied, “Oh, my!”

Bala’s abysmal HUD score was mostly based on the physical safety of the building and its residents.

An examination of the nursing home’s overall quality of care, using city, state, and federal health inspections, revealed 20 years of chronic violations and modest fines for failing to give residents sufficient food, allowing rodents to roam unabated, not having enough staff to prevent harm, and other failings.

 Medicare, which has a five-star rating system for the thousands of nursing homes across the country, gives Bala an overall two-star rating – well below average, but above the agency’s lowest-rated homes in Philadelphia. Medicare has rated six of Philadelphia’s 45 nursing homes with one star. Bala has a one-star rating for its staffing levels.

Bala’s troubled history also raises a larger question about Pennsylvania nursing homes: whether regulators have done enough to force facilities to follow the rules. In 2003, for example, the state Department of Health levied 89 fines on nursing homes. In 2012, the agency had none.

“There’s no incentive to provide adequate care when the enforcement agency is not going to penalize you,” said lawyer Samuel Brooks, a nursing-home specialist at Philadelphia’s Community Legal Services.

Fines did pick up again in 2015, and have soared in the last four months. Since 2015, 14 homes in Philadelphia have been fined a total of $109,000, but not Bala.

Miller disputed HUD’s findings, saying the agency improperly used higher safety standards to evaluate the nursing facility, ones typically applied to apartment buildings. The businessman did acknowledge he missed the 30-day deadline to appeal the findings but would not detail why he believed inspectors were mistaken.

“I can’t throw HUD under the bus because we haven’t cleared” the 58 violations, he said.

The Miller family at one time operated two nursing centers and 16 residential homes for the mentally ill in Washington.

In 2000, federal officials temporarily cut off Medicare and Medicaid funding for its Wynnefield Heights nursing center after inspectors found that 151 residents were in “immediate jeopardy” from safety problems. That year, Bala was fined $23,500 for 46 deficiencies that state inspectors found, Pennsylvania Health Department records show.

Among the problem: residents with bedsores, patients receiving insufficient food or water, some who were supposed to participate in therapy three times a week but had sessions only twice a month, and people who suffered from dementia being allow to smoke cigarettes without supervision.

In 2002 and 2008, regulators found more deficiencies and levied several fines.

When HUD inspected Bala Nursing in November 2011, it gave it a grade of 37. Inspectors cited six “life-threatening” problems, all of them electrical wiring issues, and 12 “non-life-threatening” deficiencies, including mold and broken circuit breakers.

HUD inspects only a sliver of the nation’s 15,662 nursing homes because the vast majority have private insurance. Of the 139 nursing homes HUD inspected in the last five years, the only one that had a score near Bala’s, a HUD spokesman said, was a facility in Maryland that last year was given a grade of 4.

Since 2011, state and city officials have cited Bala for an array of health violations. During the last year, for example, city public health workers have cited Bala for having rodents or insects in the kitchen on four consecutive inspections, records show.

One specific concern that Miller raised about the most recent HUD inspection involved citations for windows that could not be used as emergency escapes. HUD had labeled these as “life-threatening” defects, a finding that decimated the home’s ranking.

But Miller said the nursing home purposely installed stops on the windows to prevent them from being opened wider than six inches. He said staffers needed to prevent elderly residents from climbing outside. He said he never intended the windows to be used for emergency escape.

HUD spokesman Jereon Brown said Miller was correct that HUD uses many of the same standards in nursing homes and apartment buildings. But Brown said Miller had never sought a variance for his windows or any other rules, which had been in place for two decades.

A July 2016 Medicare inspection report also noted that Bala failed to follow a safety plan for a patient who ended up falling three times from her bed last year, once in January and twice in June.

The report said that the woman’s bed was unsafely elevated to its highest position, although aides were supposed to keep it close to the floor. The report said Bala workers blamed the woman, saying she would inadvertently elevate her bed by rolling in her sleep on top of an electronic remote control.

Although the Medicare report did not identify the patient, a lawsuit filed last month in Philadelphia, identified her as former postal worker Dorothy Gillard, 80, of West Philadelphia.

Darryl Gillard, son of Dorothy Gillard, meets with his attorney, Martin S. Kardon.
 CAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer
The complaint said she died of a brain injury caused by repeated falls from her bed at Bala Nursing. The suit also said Gillard endured other indignities while she lived there. In March 2016, Gillard was taken to a hospital because extensive bites from bedbugs or mites caused her to develop scabies, according to court records.

After she fell twice from her bed in June 2016 and was hospitalized for a brain injury, hospital staff determined that she also had a urinary-tract infection and a severe form of malnutrition caused by not eating enough protein, the lawsuit said.

She was discharged to a suburban nursing home, where she stayed until she died Feb. 2.

Miller did not respond to requests for comments about the lawsuit. Gillard’s son, Darryl, 53, of Collingdale, said in an interview that he put his mother in the Wynnefield Heights nursing center in August 2015 after she suffered a stroke and “I was desperate.”

Accompanied by lawyer Martin S. Kardon, Gillard said in an interview that his goal in suing Bala Nursing wasn’t to make money. “I want to prevent this from happening to others,” he said. “I want them to be held accountable.”

That may be happening already, Brooks, the legal services lawyer, said. (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Philly nursing home has abysmal rating and rodents, too

Court Authorized Exploitation under Guardianship-Senior Abuse

Court Authorized Exploitation under Guardianship-Senior Abuse

Elder abuse is a growing problem

 To the editor,

 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 turns public attention to elder abuse. Famous victims include multimillionaires “Top 40” DJ Casey Kasem, Peter Falk of “Columbo,” and New York socialite Brooke Astor, whose grandson, Philip Marshall, successfully stopped her financial exploitation and psychological abuse.

However, with 10,000 elders retiring daily and 50 million elders projected to be 65 and older by 2020, the number of vulnerable elders with lesser incomes and assets is soaring.

Too often, elders lose their civil rights, their homes, and lifelong savings through undue influence and coercion, intimidation, isolation and misrepresentation. There may be questionable dementia or incapacity diagnoses and misuse of health care proxies, powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships.

Elder abuse circumstances often are improperly dismissed as purely “family” matters. In reality, families may face systemic abuse in which elders, their families and their assets, properties and homes are targeted by multiple outside parties, sometimes for years, to benefit the abusers.

These abusers may include financial, legal or medical professionals and those in the courts, government agencies, law enforcement, protective services, the clergy, long-term care and real estate businesses. Fighting these networks of abusers through the legal system can be protracted and expensive. Once the elder’s assets are depleted, the elder’s “usefulness” has passed and the elder dies.

 Often isolated, the elder may have been needlessly medicated with antipsychotics, opioids or, sometimes, lethal doses of morphine. Abusers know the likelihood of being held accountable for their collective actions is slim.

Elder justice is slow. An October 2014 Massachusetts Legislative Special Commission report on elder protective services cites a severe lack of training in financial exploitation and the screening out of abuse complaints without investigation.

In March 2015, the Maine Attorney General’s “Task Force Report on Financial Exploitation of Elders” went further; besides adult protective services, the Maine report includes judges and their court system, law enforcement, and prosecutors among those who lack training. Little has changed in Maine, the state with the highest per capita elderly in the country, and in Massachusetts.

Financial exploitation of elders and their families and the premature turnover of elder assets has become a lucrative industry nationally with unscrupulous players cashing in on the lack of oversight, protections and consequences.

In 2015, Georgia passed RICO legislation making conspiracy and racketeering to exploit an elder a felony. I have been working on similar legislation with Massachusetts lawmakers. Please contact me at PO Box 2496, Woburn, MA 01888 with examples of elder financial exploitation and abuse. Thank you to those who already submitted their examples.

Kendra Cooper Esq.
Elder advocate

Full Article & Source:
Elder abuse is a growing problem

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump Administration Will Allow Nursing Homes To Strip Residents Of Legal Rights

The Trump administration has proposed revising a rule that hasn’t even gone into effect yet, with the goal of making sure that nursing home residents and their loved ones can not sue these long-term care facilities in the event that something horrible happens.

Amid concerns about the treatment of patients at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a growing number of the companies that operate these businesses have begun including forced arbitration clauses in their residents’ contracts.

These clauses take away the patient’s constitutional right to a day in court, and shunt all legal disputes into private (often confidential) arbitration. Additionally, most arbitration clauses also include a ban on class actions, so multiple residents of the same facility who were each wronged in the same way would nonetheless be barred from having their issue heard jointly. Rather, each resident would be required to go through the arbitration process on their own.

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) passed a new rule that would stop almost all long-term care (LTC) facilities from forcing new residents to sign binding arbitration agreements. Basically, if an LTC wanted to accept either Medicaid or Medicare it would need to abide by this rule.

However, the American Health Care Association — an LTC industry trade group — sued the government almost immediately to prevent this rule from taking effect, and in Nov. 2016, a federal judge in Mississippi granted an injunction temporarily barring CMS from moving forward with implementing the ban on arbitration agreements.

The Department of Health and Human Services had until last Friday, June 2, to file with the court to continue the government’s appeal, but instead allowed their appeal to lapse [PDF], indicating that HHS has no intention of defending this rule.

That intention was made clear this week, when CMS officially proposed a revision to the arbitration ban; rather, it’s less a revision than it is a deletion.

The new administration, which has openly derided the federal court system when judges have disagreed with the White House, is here embracing the opinion of the Mississippi judge, saying that “After [the Nov. 7, 2016] decision, CMS reviewed and reconsidered the arbitration requirements in the 2016 Final Rule.”

The CMS proposal — which comes only days after representatives for the industry actively lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill — claims to increase the transparency of arbitration clauses by making sure they are written in plain English, that they must be explained to the resident, and that the resident must specifically acknowledge this clause.

But what good does transparency do when the resident has no choice?

“Mr. Adams, signing this clause means you won’t be able to sue Sally’s Nursing Funhouse in court, even if we’ve been deliberately charging illegal fees to you and all the other residents for years.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound good. I don’t think I’ll sign that.”

“Okay then. You can’t live here.”

“Fine. I’ll just take my business to Jimmy’s Assisted Livatorium.”

“They’re actually owned by our parent company, and even if they weren’t, every other nursing home in the area has basically the same clause, so you’re likely out of luck.”

“Oh well, at least now I know I’m powerless to fight back. Thank you CMS for this new, glorious layer of transparency!”

The Fair Arbitration Now coalition, a group of consumer and legal advocacy groups (including our colleagues at Consumers Union), is calling shenanigans on CMS’s decision to let the LTC industry win this battle.

“Anyone who has ever had a family member move into a nursing home, or anyone with an ounce of sense and compassion, would recognize that seniors and their families undergoing an incredibly challenging transition are in no position to bargain over obscure contract terms – terms they probably do not even understand,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a member of the FAN coalition. “The Trump administration apparently thinks it is okay for nursing homes to force seniors into signing contract terms that give up their right to sue in court if they are subsequently victimized by neglect or abuse. It’s hard to imagine a more callous policy.”

Full Article & Source:
Trump Administration Will Allow Nursing Homes To Strip Residents Of Legal Rights

One Year of Legalized Assisted Suicide in California, Countless Unanswered Questions

Jacqueline Abernathy
June 9 will mark one year of legal assisted suicide in California, after euthanasia advocates managed to co-opt a special session of the state Assembly to resurrect a bill that had been profoundly defeated by lawmakers several months earlier.

Although premature and lacking in reliable data, Compassion & Choices (C & C, formerly the Hemlock Society) is already declaring the law is “working very well” in a recent press release - stating also: “Personal Stories, Statistics Show Law is Working as Lawmakers Intended.”

However this report is full of dubious statistics that begs more questions than it feigns to answer.

The report lists the number of facilities, doctors, insurance companies and hospice locations that support assisted suicide - yet supporting a dangerous law does not equate to proving it safe. If you recall, California legislators had soundly rejected assisted suicide in the previous session based upon a host of concerns about the safety of not just assisted suicide, but a bill that makes evaluation of the use of this form of euthanasia virtually impossible---since the law mandates that death certificates falsify the actual cause of death. The law states that death certificates from assisted suicide have their cause of death listed not as the lethal overdose that caused it- but their underlying prognosis.

In lieu of real data, C & C has offered this figure and rationale for how often the law has been employed by Californians: “At least 504 terminally ill adults in California have received prescriptions for medical aid in dying based on inquiries to Compassion & Choices” adding, “However, the total number of prescriptions written statewide will be significantly higher since not every terminally ill Californian who wanted an aid-in-dying prescription contacted Compassion & Choices.”

State statistics are not set to be released for another month (July 1) but this preliminary projection begs the question: no matter what this figure is, how many bottles of unused poison remain in medicine cabinets or otherwise accessible as a danger to those for whom it was not prescribed?

While it is important to know (rather than estimate) the number of people who obtained a prescription for the lethal drug, actual vital statistics provided by valid death certificates are critical to determining not just how many actually followed-through suicide rather than those who had a change of heart- how many died of their underlying natural illness or how many even may have been misdiagnosed and have gone on to live long and healthy lives - a circumstance that has been known to happen for people who have rejected euthanasia

These stories provide a sobering counter-argument to those in the C & C press release from the families of assisted suicide victims, since of course those who died of assisted suicide cannot speak for themselves like those who rejected it.

By championing the charge to hide real data on cause of death, C & C assured that this is something we can never know. It also assures that lethal drugs remain perilously accessible to those who did not consume them- a public health threat in California. 

Full Article & Source:
One Year of Legalized Assisted Suicide in California, Countless Unanswered Questions

After five years in a nursing home, a client wanted to move out. Her guardian was hesitant. We helped her find her place. #AdvocacyMatters

"Nancy" (not her real name) had lived in a nursing home for five years. She worked in the community and did not need the level of services that the nursing home provided. Like many who live in institutions, Nancy was isolated and segregated for no reason. She felt ready to live in the community, and the nursing home supported her in that decision. But her guardian did not support the goal and blocked her plans to move out. Nancy contacted DRO for help.

DRO told the guardian about HOME Choice and Recovery Requires a Community - two statewide programs that help nursing home residents return to life in the community with the services and supports they need to succeed. Because of DRO's intervention, the guardian agreed to support Nancy in applying for HOME Choice.

DRO worked closely with the HOME Choice team and staff at the nursing home. Our advocate monitored activity and negotiated with the guardian and others to ensure that the plan moved forward. After 11 months, Nancy moved into her own apartment. DRO helped her to get vocational services to help her find a new job close to her new home. Now, instead of being isolated at the institution, she enjoys spending time with her friends at a local day center.

Full Article & Source:
After five years in a nursing home, a client wanted to move out. Her guardian was hesitant. We helped her find her place. #AdvocacyMatters

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Professional Predatory Guardians: The perfect job for psychopaths?

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

Our guests this evening: Atty. Lisa Belanger & David Arnold (physicist, Ret.)

We will be discussing a really ugly case of guardianship and what might be the underlying cause that drives this system of human trafficking.

From Psychology Today:
According to the articles on the website of Psychology Today, titled, “Psychopathy” and “PlainSight” psychopaths appear perfectly normal. However, they lack conscience and empathy.

“The most dangerous predators often look harmless — until they strike.”

As explained by Dr. J. Reid Meloy, author of The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment, psychopathic serial killers are emotionally disconnected from their actions and, therefore, indifferent to the suffering of their victims. Their ability to dissociate themselves emotionally from their actions and their denial of responsibility effectively neutralizes any guilt or remorse that other people would feel in similar circumstances

Considering the number of victims of predatory guardians, could we really be dealing with the most dangerous individuals in society? Indifferent to their actions? Denying responsibility? No guilt or remorse?

~David Arnold:

“In my opinion the power, immunity, and lack of oversight of guardians may be attracting people with dangerous hidden personality traits. This is potentially very serious. However, it would need to be evaluated by someone with the proper expertise in psychology.”

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Loss of trust account devastates family

SANTA TERESA – Juanita Ramirez doesn’t speak English, but no matter. The despair shows in her eyes.

She sits close to her 35-year-old son, Omar, to whom she has devoted the last 16 years.

She watched him struggle after three brain surgeries. She was there during the long recovery from the horrific 2001 New Year’s Eve accident in which he hit a cow that wandered onto State Road 28 in southern New Mexico. The cow’s horn went through the windshield upon impact, leaving Omar with brain trauma that the family says requires 24/7 care.

Omar Ramirez is able to walk and talk but cannot take care of himself or his finances. 
His mother is his legal guardian. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

At 54, Ramirez figured her eldest son, who was 20 years old at the time, would be taken care of into his old age with a court settlement of about $1.2 million, after attorney fees, reached in 2005 with the rancher who owned the cow.

But the family’s bad luck has returned.

A woman from the state Adult Protective Services Division showed up at Juanita Ramirez’s door in April with unbelievable news: Omar’s settlement money is gone – even though the family provided his care and drew sparingly over the years from the trust account that should have grown with prudent investments.

Meanwhile, the court-appointed trust company managing his settlement, Desert State Life Management of Albuquerque, is under investigation by state and federal agencies. Up to $4 million appears to have been diverted from the nonprofit trust company’s client asset accounts and into business accounts controlled by CEO Paul Donisthorpe.

Criminal theft is alleged, but no one has been charged.

Meanwhile, Donisthorpe reportedly has suffered brain damage from either a stroke or a botched suicide attempt in February – although his signature appears on court divorce papers in March.

Ramirez and her family don’t know where to turn.

“I just felt so bad,” she said in Spanish, with her son Armando translating during a Journal interview last week in their home near the New Mexico-Texas border. “I had so much confidence in them (Desert State). We depended on that money for his future.”

The state Financial Institutions Division filed a petition May 31 seeking a court order to place Desert State in receivership. The state has set up a hot-line for clients and their families to call, and has asked for an expedited court hearing to try to help the estimated 70 or so vulnerable people, like Omar, who relied on Desert State to pay their living expenses and manage their assets.

The case is assigned to Chief District Judge Nan Nash in Albuquerque, but no hearing had been set as of Friday.

Mike Unthank, superintendent of the state Regulation and Licensing Department, told the Journal his agency will help as much as possible but chances of recovering all the missing money for clients are “slim.” Legal “clawback” efforts could end up in lengthy court battles, he added.

“I feel awful about it,” Unthank said. “It’s a terrible situation.”  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Loss of trust account devastates family

Nursing Home Evictions Have Doubled in Illinois

There are perfectly valid reasons to evict, discharge, or transfer someone from a nursing home: A resident has recovered and no longer needs specialized care, a resident has become a threat to staff or other residents, or if at a private facility, they are unable to pay for the services provided. But what about residents who are evicted without any reason? The practice, referred to as involuntary discharge, is on the rise and nursing homes in Illinois are guilty of it. In fact, the number of involuntary discharges from Illinois nursing homes has more than doubled in the past 5 years.

In a May 26th article on, Illinois and Maryland were both called out for their high eviction rates. Maryland’s attorney general, Brian Frosh, has filed a Medicaid fraud lawsuit on behalf of the state against one particular chain of nursing homes, Neiswanger Management Services, alleging that they are guilty of seeking reimbursement for discharge planning services that it never provided.
Discharge planning requires nursing homes to discuss plans of an eviction with a resident and their loved ones, as well as preparing detailed records for the resident to give to their next facility or care provider. According to the attorney general, the particular chain that has been named in the lawsuit has eviction rates that are 100x higher than any other nursing home in the state of Maryland. Why are the eviction rates so much higher at a Neiswanger-owned facility than at others in Maryland? The state believes it’s due to the reimbursement rules for Medicaid vs. Medicare. Medicare reimbursement is only good for the first 100 days of long term care treatment. Once residents transition to Medicaid, they’re less attractive to the facility because reimbursements under Medicaid are also lower. Frosh noticed that many of the evicted residents had been evicted right as their 100 day Medicare reimbursement period was ending, proving that Neiswanger wanted to empty beds to take in more Medicare residents.

Not only were residents wrongfully evicted, but many, including those suffering from dementia, were left on family members’ doorsteps, at homeless shelters, and in hospital waiting rooms.

Candidate for Governor Drafting Legislation Against Involuntary Discharge
In Illinois, gubernatorial-candidate and state senator Daniel Biss is pushing for legislation that will prevent nursing homes from involuntarily discharging residents and refusing to take them back. To Biss, it was evident that many nursing homes have a clear preference for the type of resident they wish to attract and retain. At these facilities, residents who pose little challenge to the staff are clearly preferred and if a resident becomes difficult in any way, they are able to easily evict the resident and wash their hands of the situation. In our state, even if a resident is wrongfully evicted, the nursing home can refuse their readmission.

The NPR article highlights the story of Vincent Galvan, an Illinois nursing home resident who was supposed to be receiving physical therapy after having his leg amputated and receiving a prosthesis. When he complained to staff that he needed physical therapy and more attention, he was ignored. So he called the company that owned the nursing home. Still no response. Ultimately he was driven to a hospital and accused of being schizophrenic and depressed. Despite the hospital’s assessment that he suffered from neither of those conditions, the nursing home refused to take Mr. Galvan back. He believes complaining made him too big of a burden for his nursing home.

Rules Exist but Many Don’t Follow

Late last year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated their nursing home regulations for discharging a resident. Although the rules exist, many residents and their loved ones are unaware of their rights and despite knowing that the practice feels unfair, aren’t sure where to turn. As a reminder, here are the new guidelines on valid conditions for involuntary resident discharge:

1. The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
2.The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
3. The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
4. The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
5.The resident has failed to pay
6. The facility is closing

If you or a loved one suffered serious injury or death as a result of an improperly handled involuntary discharge, please let the Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin and Perconti review the facts of your situation and advise you of any legal remedies you may have. As we now know from the rising number of involuntary discharges, Illinois nursing homes are getting away with evicting innocent and vulnerable residents and facing little, if any, consequences. Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys. Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.

Full Article & Source:
Nursing Home Evictions Have Doubled in Illinois

Bill would let banks freeze accounts to stymie elder scams

Marie Barbuto
ALBANY, N.Y. - By the time Roseann Keiles realized a scam artist had his hooks in her mother, the damage was done. The 82-year-old Long Island woman, who had Alzheimer's disease, had mailed away thousands of dollars in little envelopes to a man calling himself "Mr. Cashman" who phoned every day asking for money.

"My mother and I were banking at same branch of Chase. I went in one day and the bank manager pulled me aside and said, 'I just want you to be aware your mother has been coming in every three days taking out $300 in cash,'" Keiles said.

A bill now under consideration in the New York Legislature would give banks the ability to temporarily freeze the accounts of older adults when they notice activity uncharacteristic of spending habits.

Many New York banks already have standards and training for employees to spot financial exploitation, but in the past, reporting of suspicious activity was "chilled by the absence of guidelines and sufficiently unambiguous protections for banks and their employees who might have suspected abuse but were deterred by the lack of unambiguous appropriate protection from liability," said Roberta Kotkin, New York Bankers Association general counsel and chief operating officer.

The measure was unanimously approved by the Senate in March but has faced resistance in the Democratic-led Assembly and hasn't been scheduled for a vote.

Some Assembly members worry it plays into stereotypes that all seniors have diminished brain function. Other opponents, including a committee of the New York State Bar Association, have said it could encourage banks to put needless transaction holds on the accounts of seniors, with no consequences for mistakenly delayed transactions.

Few, though, disagree financial exploitation of elders is a problem.

Every year, financial fraud costs New York seniors an estimated $1.5 billion, according to the state's Office of Children and Family Services. As many as 5 million older Americans are victims of financial abuse each year, and in New York the number of financial exploitation allegations increased more than 35 percent between 2010 and 2014, the agency said.

Caregivers can easily swipe credit cards and cash Social Security checks for years before some seniors notice.

The New York attorney general's office said scammers often try to play on a victim's fears and emotions, with urgent phone calls falsely claiming a grandchild has been arrested abroad and needs money for bail, or allegations the victim owes money to the IRS.

Prosecuting offenses can be tough, too. Embarrassment keeps many victims from coming forward, said New York AARP director Beth Finkel.

"There's a stigma," Finkel said. "Who wants to raise their hand and say, 'I've been a victim?'"

She called on the governor and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly to come together and find a solution to pass the law.

"This is not solving for nuclear war," she said. "This is someone who walks into their local bank and is protected."

Mike Adamski, of Webster, said he would have welcomed alerts from banks that someone was emptying out the accounts of his 78-year-old grandfather while he was in a nursing home.

The culprit, he said, was a relative who siphoned off as much as $250,000 by cleaning out his savings and selling his possessions, including the three-piece suit the man was supposed to be buried in.

"By the time I really got involved, it was too late," Adamski said.

Full Article & Source:
Bill would let banks freeze accounts to stymie elder scams

Sunday, June 11, 2017

South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital allegedly recruited felons as patients

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. -- South Pasadena's police chief says he'll ask for criminal charges to be filed against a nursing home where a patient walked away last year, doused herself with gasoline and set herself on fire.

Chief Arthur Miller said Wednesday that among other things, the former South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital recruited younger patients that included rapists, robbers and drug addicts.

He says police received 1,100 calls over a decade from the facility, which Miller says wasn't equipped or licensed to handle those types of patients.

It was decertified by regulators this year and has a new name and ownership.

Former owner Shlomo Rechnitz is being sued over November's death of the suicidal woman.

Full Article & Source:
South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital allegedly recruited felons as patients

Keeping Low Income Seniors and Pets Together

Numerous food pantries across the United States generously offer groceries to humans in need, and now there are pantries focused on the other members of the family – pets!

The Pet Food Pantry of Orlando, Florida, focuses on serving the pets of low-income seniors. Without this service, many of these seniors would be unable to keep their pets, as the cost to feed them is often beyond what their fixed budgets allow. Volunteers deliver monthly boxes of pet food and treats to the seniors, allowing them the ability to stay home if there are any mobility issues. The service is truly a life saver for all, allowing families to stay together.


In addition to the Pet Food Pantry in Orlando, many animal shelters across the country have pet food banks for those in need. Call your local Humane Society, animal shelter, or veterinarian if you or someone you know needs assistance.

Keeping Low Income Seniors and Pets Together

Pa. woman charged with leaving disabled grandmother covered in feces

Jennifer M. Dorsey
WEST YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – A southeastern Pennsylvania woman is accused of leaving an elderly, disabled woman and a blind dog in a filthy home with no food or water.

Jennifer M. Dorsey, 40, is charged with neglect of care for a dependent person, reckless endangerment, and cruelty to animals.

Police said they were called to Dorsey’s West York home on Monday after a neighbor reported the dog was constantly barking and that she hadn’t seen anyone entering or leaving the home for three days.

An officer who entered the home said trash was scattered throughout the house and that an odor from dog feces in the living room, dining room, and kitchen was almost unbearable.

The elderly woman — the grandmother of Dorsey’s husband — was lying on her back in a bed covered with her own feces and she appeared to have been lying in the same position for more than a day.

The woman was malnourished and frail, no food or water was accessible from the bedroom, and no food was found in the refrigerators, the officer wrote in a criminal complaint.

Dorsey admitted to police that she lived with the woman but had been staying with a family member in Shrewsbury. She said the last time she saw the woman was on Friday.

She said her son had been checking on the woman and that he last visited the house at 8 p.m. that day. Police told her they were at the house and trying to find the homeowner at that time.

The elderly woman was taken to York Hospital where she was in stable condition but confused, police said.

Dorsey’s dog was placed in the custody of the SPCA. A codes enforcement officer condemned the home because of its condition.

Dorsey was sent to York County Prison on $15,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 13.

Full Article & Source:
Pa. woman charged with leaving disabled grandmother covered in feces