Saturday, June 1, 2024

Stealing My Mother From Me: The Horrors of Conservatorship

Theft, lies, deception, and the wrongful death of our loved ones by deceitful predators, all for the almighty dollar 

By Duane Farrant

Some states call it conservatorship. Others call it guardianship. But whatever you call it, it can be deadly. It can lead to theft, lies, deception, and the wrongful death of our loved ones by deceitful predators, all in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Consider my mother’s story. Guardianship and the legal system stole her from me. It stole her money, my money, the money designated for my disabled brother, and the house where I took care of her for years. Because of the conservator in charge, the lawyers and judges involved, and others embedded in this toxic system, she lost any say in anything. So did I. 

She was put on at least one antipsychotic drug that, according to black-box warnings, shouldn’t have been prescribed for someone with dementia. She died. And for three days afterward, no one bothered to tell me. By then those in charge had demonized me. Shoved me aside and left me in the dark. She had been pulled away from me, the one who had looked after her best interests and held her power of attorney. 

How this all happened is a long, difficult, complicated story, and I won’t be able to tell it in complete detail. But I want to start with who she was, what she meant to all who loved her, and why she deserved decent treatment by all. 

Norma Claire Duffy Farrant was born in Kansas City, MO, on October 29, 1929. She was the youngest of six children, growing up in the Great Depression in a family of eight that struggled to survive. She and her siblings all served their country, with her mom and her three sisters all working in the munitions plants and her brothers fighting in our country’s World War II. Luck was with them, as they came out alive and uninjured—but for the terrors they envisioned. At one point my Uncle Bill was in a tank with four others, and one of them put his head out. It was shot off, ending up in his lap. Horrific. My uncle was awarded the Bronze Star. And my mother, like all of her siblings, wanted a better life for herself after the war. 

She learned accounting and then, changing course, attended a teaching college in Warrensburg, MO. Shortly thereafter, she and her sister Virginia decided to move to Hollywood, CA, where she landed a teaching job in an elementary school and at night taught English to immigrants. Mother married in 1958, giving birth to three children: me; my disabled brother, whom I’ve assisted for years; and our sister, now estranged. Ten years later, my parents were divorced, and in 1969 my mother moved us from Hollywood to Newbury Park, CA, where she purchased her first home with a Veterans Administration loan and taught in high schools. 

For roughly 45 years, until an injury forced her to retire, she gave her life to her family and teaching others. She worked hard to give us better lives while sacrificing her own happiness. Mother never remarried. She did everything for us. She cared about her family and others, putting her children first and herself last. 

That’s the kind of person my mother was.

But somehow—and this is where her story turns complicated and hard—she stopped being seen as a human being by those with power. Once she got roped into the system and bounced from one elder care facility to another, she became nothing to them. Not a veteran. Not a teacher who had spent her lunch hour with kids and then tutored them after school. Not a loving mother who had sacrificed everything for her kids. 

She became, instead, someone to exploit.

A long saga begins 

It all started the first week in April of 2015, the day after my mother and I took a trip to Salinas, KS, to pick up a grandfather clock. 

My truck broke down, and we were stuck overnight. By the time we got home she hadn’t slept well for the past few days, keeping me up, too. Back home the next day, she sliced her finger in the kitchen—all kinds of food out, an electric mixer in the sink. Just chaos. When I asked her what happened, she said she was trying to kill herself. 

Trying to kill herself? Clearly, she wasn’t. But I was doing my best to love and assist my aging mother with whatever aid I could find, and I had to take this seriously. 

So I band-aided her finger and put her to bed, figuring her past few sleepless nights hadn’t helped. 

A little while later, I checked in on her and asked again what had happened. Her reply was the same. Was my mother truly suicidal? I didn’t know. But this seemed like a cry for help. I felt I should do something about it, and so I tried to find the nearest place that might assist in a crisis. We were living in rural Missouri, and I could only find one location close enough to help. They indicated they would admit her. After we arrived we were assigned a counselor, but after about 15 minutes, the counselor said my mother could not be admitted and suggested I take her to an emergency room some 40 miles away. 

So began a nearly unending story of back-and-forth phone calls, car drives, interviews, questionnaires, assessments, and directives to this facility, then that facility. One place was maybe going to admit her, then another—all while I was removing sharp items from the home so Mother would be safe. And she was still keeping me awake. 

At one point, the counselor called back and indicated a hospital would take her. I was not ready for this, as I was so exhausted, and I asked her to call back after I had a few hours of sleep. She called again. Please, I told her, I need a bit of sleep before I drive her there, as the hospital was some 110 miles away. Okay, the woman said. But Mother was keeping me awake, so I called again and asked if she could be picked up. I was told she would be taken directly to the hospital.

Norma and Duane Farrant about eight years ago.
Instead, a case worker arrived and about 10 additional people, most of them just gabbing away on my porch. While my mother was trying to take a shower, several barged in. The lack of thoughtfulness in their behavior alarmed me. And why send all these people? I felt lied to, as my mother and I were both disrespected by their presence. She had been through hell, and these unwanted people were making the situation much worse. 

Two days later, after yet more complications, mother was settled into the hospital. But before long, her insurance announced they wouldn’t cover it (my mother “didn’t meet the criteria”), and so I went home and—following the hospital’s guidelines—secured the windows, the doors, the fridge. I also informed Senior Services of my actions. I told Mother if she wanted to go outside, we would have to go together. 

A friend helped me out, but there were problems. Mother kept spitting her pills out, over flowing the toilet, tossing her camera and glasses into the trash and she told me she was blind, then later apologized and said she wasn’t.  “I knew that,” I said. 

Clearly, my mother needed help. I needed help, too. I couldn’t do this alone. But where could we find that help? What were we to do? 

Becoming the bad guy

Less than two weeks after picking up Mother from the hospital, I had made multiple calls in search of someplace, somewhere, that could provide some kind of aid. No return calls. Spent and tired beyond description, I did what so many people caring for loved ones in distress do with no other recourse, not anticipating the harm it can cause: I dialed 911 and requested an ambulance and specifically told them to keep it to a minimum of people. 

It was my last option. Initially, it seemed like a good move. A sheriff showed up—a decent man—along with the paramedics. Two hours later she was settled in at a hospital, a different one from the previous place. They said she would be there for two days before being moved to a residential center I’d suggested. I told them I had a POA health directive for her, and I’d be there in the morning. Great! She was getting some help, or so I thought. 

When I showed up the next morning, she wasn’t there. Without my permission or even knowledge—without even calling me, though they later lied about that—they’d shipped her off to an entirely different hospital some 90 miles away. Off I went to this other hospital, where I was allowed just half an hour with my mother. 

From there, things only got worse. And worse. And worse. 

In the subsequent days I made so many phone calls, and got so frustrated, that finally a caseworker took my frustration the wrong way… and called someone to report that I was suicidal. 


Angry, yes. Fed up with this system that was built to (supposedly) help people in distress but only makes things worse for their families and themselves, absolutely. But, no, I wasn’t suicidal. 

When a cop showed up with a caseworker, he said they wanted to talk to me about suicide. I told them to leave, as I’d had enough of their kind. When I tried to shut my door, the cop wrestled with me, trying to keep me from going inside. Over the next 10-plus hours they terrorized me, shutting off my power and—according to reports I later dug up—surrounding my 19-acre property with six police cars that flashed their lights and blasted their PA system into the early hours of morning. 

According to these same reports, guns were drawn and pointed in my direction. 

Throughout the night, the 911 operator called repeatedly, maybe 100 times. I told them to stop. I told the cops to leave me alone. They were trespassing and terrifying me, as I had no intentions of harming myself. I even called a news station, as I was in fear. 

Finally, around 4:30 a.m. I agreed to see a psychologist; a nice woman who agreed there was nothing wrong with me and sent me home. But that wasn’t the end of it—not the demonization and even criminalization of me as I tried to help my mother, and not the end of her ordeal, either. It was only the beginning. 

With no sleep and a sick chihuahua to boot, I called the hospital to check in and see when I could pick up my mother. They told me I couldn’t, not after what happened the night before. When I demanded to know why and requested a meeting to discuss Mother’s condition, they refused. The next day, speaking with a lawyer in legal aid offices, I learned of a court hearing. This was news to me. Why wasn’t I told? According to the lawyer, they had me down as the “bad guy.”

That was me: the bad guy. The guy trying to get answers. The guy trying to get some help for his mother. 

No one would give me any information. Not the hospital, family services, or the courthouse where I’d filed a petition for a hearing. What the hell was going on here? I wasn’t allowed to bring my mother home and had no clue what was going on, which was destroying whatever sanity I had left. And my mother, too, had no idea what was going on, as I hadn’t picked her up. She was there alone. 

Again, things got worse. And worse. And worse. 

The rules didn’t matter

For 11 months, my mother was held in a toilet of an institution. For 11 months, I could not see her or hear her voice. For 11 months, she was on a “no call” list, and she wasn’t allowed to speak with any family or friends, the cruelest punishment for a woman who did not deserve it. Who does this to people? And why? 

Eventually, my mother was ordered to California to live with my estranged sister. Five months later, she came back to Missouri. Soon after that, my sister filed for conservatorship. Instead, professional conservator Angelique Friend was appointed, and thereafter the California probate courts stepped in—despite the fact that we were in Missouri, and despite my power of attorney—and took my home, which mother had signed over to me in a quitclaim years before, though her name was erroneously never removed from the deed. They took my mother’s interest in another home and, over time, depleted her estate down to zero. (Poppy Helgren, who wrote about her late father’s own nightmare experience, endured under the same conservator.)

Around that time she was placed in an elder-care residential facility that I could tell, right from the start, was a house of horrors. On my first visit there, I found her with her hair completely shaved off, with scabs and bruises on her face. Mother was wearing hand-me-down clothing. She had no cane, no walker, no hearing aids, no glasses. People aren’t supposed to be placed in facilities without such things. But the rules didn’t matter, or so it seemed. 

All of this was done against my objections and against the wishes and instructions of my mother. She never asked or wanted to be under the control of a conservator and expressed her desires in a video, in the paperwork, and on the phone with me, pleading with me to pick her up time and time again. But she wasn’t heard by anyone in charge. She wasn’t even allowed to appear in court. Also disregarded: the Farrant family living trust with a “special needs” clause, intended to help my disabled brother in his time of need. Unknown to me, a judge allowed her trust to be modified, by proxy—drastically changed it—and the estate was completely depleted. I ask: How do you find a person incompetent, mentally ill, but then change her living trust, indicating she agreed to said changes? What a joke the legal system is. 

Aside from a couple of emails in late 2015 or so, Angelique Friend never communicated with me. I had virtually no knowledge and no say, any longer, about anything involving my mother’s care. 

This felt so strange to me. I’d taken care of my mother’s bills for about 13 years, and looked out for her person for more than 11. From that day forward, she never had a late payment or did without food, housing, or anything else. I helped take care of her bills as well as my brother’s, and I kept close tabs on her health. 

After she was removed from me, I couldn’t. Again, I had no say. When she was placed on the antipsychotic Risperdal, she became a zombie, of sorts; she would not talk much at all. According to the drug’s black-box warning: “Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death.” But they put her on the antipsychotic anyway—possibly others, too—and no one was telling me anything. No one informed me of the risks. 

And in the 88-plus years of Mother’s life until then, she was never diagnosed with schizophrenia, traumatic seizures or heart troubles, all three of which were mentioned on her death certificate alongside breast cancer. She did have a history of that. The rest of it was not the truth. No hallucinations or cardiac problems, at least, not until she was prescribed antipsychotics. And seizures? She never had those. Not that I knew of, so I assumed this was a lie, too. But then again, did they ever tell me what was going on? NO!

She left the world, and I was left in the dark

This is what I knew: My mother wasn’t broken until she was kidnapped and trafficked by the court system and fed black-box drugs. Before that she was a present, caring person. Before that she was loved. She wasn’t neglected. She didn’t have bruises and cuts and scabs on her face. She didn’t have an infection in both eyes. She wore clothes that were clean, that fit her, that weren’t worn thin. She had a home. She wasn’t moved from facility to facility, state-to-state, becoming yet more controlled and neglected and ill treated along the way. At one point she was housed in a center that was later revealed to employ a rapist. 

An anonymous staff member at one of the facilities did inform me, near the end of her life, that she had suffered several falls and had only seen a dentist a couple of times. No work was done on her teeth except to remove them all. And at no point did the conservator inform me of anything—not the falls and E.R. visits, not the doctor or dental visits. Not her life-threatening bout of COVID. Nothing. 

And then she left this world. Did someone tell me? The facility? The conservator? Anyone? Of course not. After three days of phone calls, checking how she was doing, I was informed that she’d died three days before. It took me years to obtain any of her medical records; I’m convinced this was a stalling tactic to prevent any lawsuit before the statute of limitations ran out. 

Over the years, my brother and I filed complaints against the conservator and others, and we petitioned for a criminal investigation into her death. I directly contacted a homicide detective in Ventura County, CA, describing my concerns and what I regard as a cover-up in her egregious abuse and lack of care. I noted that I had previously filed a complaint of elder abuse

Nothing has come of anything, even after some 40 plus letters and phone calls. Not one person helped, and many just didn’t bother to respond. 

Our beloved mother was mistreated, cheated, abused mentally, and alienated from her family by her conservator and the courts that pulled her away and vilified me—making me the enemy, making her more isolated, exposing her to so much harm—until she passed away on November 7, 2021. 

She is in Heaven with her family and friends. But she shouldn’t have arrived there so soon. For that I blame the black-box drugs. For that I blame the conservator, the courts, the system that made me the enemy and did enormous damage to the woman who brought me into this world—the woman I loved and looked out for, seeing to her needs. 

Instead, people in this system of “care” lied, cheated, and stole, ignoring my mother’s health, desires, and well being until it killed her. This is what happens—not just to her, but to many. Documents get ignored. Cronies get appointed, all of them enmeshed within a corrupt network that leads toward the destruction of families.

The system stole my home, too. And now, on Medicaid, I’ve got little to live on. I don’t even have the money to get my Mother a nice headstone. I pray someday I can afford one. 

God bless her. May she finally rest in peace.

Full Article & Source:
Stealing My Mother From Me: The Horrors of Conservatorship

Friday, May 31, 2024

Task force joins fight against elder abuse

A task force that includes a local county district attorney, police officer, and daughter of an elderly crime victim continues to review proposed state laws designed to strengthen protections for senior citizens and others living in care facilities.

State Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-27, whose district includes Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and a portion of Luzerne counties, is among those working to review and revive two bills that were introduced last year and received no further action or advancement in the legislative process.

The work of these lawmakers and task force members demonstrates an important commitment to the protection of those who often don’t have the ability to protect themselves. We hope other state lawmakers take notice and help transform these proposals into new laws.

Senate Bill 261, introduced on Jan, 31, 2023, and sponsored by Sen. Culver, and Sens. Doug Mastriano, R-33, of Adams and Franklin counties, and Patrick J. Stefano, R-32, of Bedford, Somerset, Fayette and part of Westmoreland counties, would add crimes committed against non-verbal, care-dependent victims to the list of offenses that could be prosecuted at any time — not subject to statute of limitations constraints. Other crimes not subject to time limits include murder, voluntary manslaughter, violations relating to fatal accidents and crimes against law enforcement personnel or those caught in involuntary servitude, such as sexual trafficking, among others.

“Care-dependent individuals do not always have the cognitive or verbal ability to communicate crimes committed against them, such as rape, sexual assault, simple assault, aggravated assault and abuse or neglect,” Sen. Mastriano wrote in a memo. “In many cases, these crimes are discovered by family members after the statute of limitations has already run out.”

Senate Bill 885 would create a statewide registry of those found to have abused people living in care facilities.

The registry information, which would include the perpetrator’s name, Social Security number, age, sex and address, would not be made public, but would be available for reference by care facility administrators.

Those placed on the list could immediately appeal the decision and could ask to be removed from the list after five years, and annually after that, the bill states.

Sen. Culver said the task force is reviewing the provisions with the goal of making them better, if possible.

“We wanted to discuss the impacts and the consequences that we may not have intended, and then get it back to the task force for review. We will recirculate it (in the Senate) for co-sponsorship and then reintroduce it,” she said. “We really want this to be a comprehensive bill that cleans the language up so that law enforcement has the tools necessary to make arrests and the district attorney offices have the tools necessary to prosecute. Once we get this through, our plan is to look at other ways to strengthen the laws that protect our senior citizens.

“We’re not going to stop until we feel our seniors are adequately protected.”

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board.

Full Article & Source:
Task force joins fight against elder abuse

Jefferson County Commissioners proclaim June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

BROOKVILLE — In recognition of the need to protect the county’s older residents from abuse, the Jefferson County Commissioners have proclaimed Saturday, June 15 as “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” in Jefferson County.

Present at Tuesday’s meeting of the commissioners were Molly McNutt, executive director of the Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging, and members of the county’s Elder Abuse Task Force.

“Elder abuse can happen to anyone,” McNutt said. “In fiscal year 2022-2023 Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging (JCAAA) took 266 reports of need. This is how suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation is recorded. A person can call us 24 hours a day and make a report.”

Full Article & Source:
Jefferson County Commissioners proclaim June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Montgomery woman sentenced for senior abuse

A former employee of a Union County memory care center who with a juvenile took inappropriate pictures of elderly residents will be under court supervision for 16 years, Judge Michael Piecuch ruled Monday after rejecting a more lenient plea deal last month, reported.

Madison Elaine Cox, 19, of Montgomery, was ordered to spend the first three months in jail, followed by 18 months of house arrest under electronic monitoring.

The original plea agreement rejected by Piecuch recommended a prison sentence of three years to two years minus a day, followed by three years’ probation.

You failed the test of human decency – I’ll never know why,” Piecuch told Cox, questioning whether she understood the depth of her actions, warning that she may someday be in the hands of strangers, said.

Her actions and inactions caused lasting psychological damage, the judge said.

Cox pledged it would never happen again and told the court that she’s trying to do better every day, reported.

Cox and a boy also from Montgomery each worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift at Heritage Springs Memory Care Center near Lewisburg as resident assistants.

In February, Cox admitted to taking disturbing pictures and videos of at least 12 patients between the ages of 69 and 100, while she worked at Heritage Springs Memory Care Near Lewisburg, a senior living facility for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Some of the photos showed patients partially clothed or nude, authorities said, according to

He has been adjudicated but because he is a juvenile his record is not public.

“You stole my mother’s dignity. You stole our family’s peace. I hope today’s sentence will make it clear to you that this is not acceptable to this community or to any other decent human being…,” Lynn Fiedler, whose 94-year-old mother was one of the victims, said to Cox during the hearing, per

Fiedler has taken the lead in forming a task force whose goal is to strengthen state laws so that elder abuse crimes are felonies, with their sights set on revising two Senate bills, one of which would require a registry for elder abusers like the requirement for sex offenders. They hope that the bill will be named for Fiedler’s mother Alice, said.

A state Department of Human Services investigation resulted in the revocation of the certificate of compliance for Heritage Springs and the issuance of a provisional one, with the department finding violations including insufficient and inadequate staffing at times and staff members making sexually inappropriate comments to and harassing residents, reported.

Later inspections found the secure dementia care facility again was in compliance and its regular license was restored on April 15, per the news organization.

The facility has since revised its hiring policy, requiring all, except dietary employees, to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. A revised cell phone policy now requires staff to keep their devices in their vehicles or in a locked storage bin with access permitted only on break or lunch, according to

In addition to her prison and home detention sentences, Cox was ordered to pay a fine of $200 and undergo 39 months of intensive probation. She is also prohibited from being unsupervised or employed in anything that involves seniors or minors.

Full Article & Source:
Montgomery woman sentenced for senior abuse

Thursday, May 30, 2024

From autonomy to guardianship: Policy reviews medical decision-making options

by Dennis Z. Kuo, M.D., M.H.S., FAAP, and Renee M. Turchi, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP 

When youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) reach the age of majority (typically age 18), they may need support in making medical decisions.

The process of pursuing alternative decision-making supports, including guardianship, is stressful for youth and caregivers.

The new AAP policy statement Considerations for Alternative Decision Making When Transitioning to Adulthood for Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities provides guidance for pediatricians to support conversations with youth and their caregivers.

Pediatricians are encouraged to uphold human rights and human dignity for youth with IDD. These youth have the right to be recognized as persons before the law and to enjoy legal capacity in all aspects of life on an equal basis with individuals without disabilities, according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The policy, from the Council on Children with Disabilities and the Committee on Medical Liability and Practice Management, is available at and will be published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Continuum of support

Approximately one in six children (17%) between the ages of 3 and 17 years has a developmental disability (Zablotsky B, et al. Pediatrics. 2019;144:e2019081).

When these youth reach the age of majority, their ability to make health care decisions falls on a continuum from being fully autonomous to needing guardianship (legally recognized, fully substituted decision-making). In addition, states may recognize levels of supported decision-making in between these two extremes for individuals who are not fully incompetent but need assistance to make some decisions.

Youth are presumed to have the capacity to make decisions until proven otherwise, and balancing autonomy with appropriate supports is paramount. Pediatricians are encouraged to be familiar with local resources supporting youth with IDD and their autonomy, which may vary substantially by state (

Individuals with IDD who use supported decision-making report increased confidence in themselves and their decision-making, improved decision-making skills, increased engagement with their community and more control of their lives.

Support teams (including the youth, caregivers, teachers and pediatricians) should engage in transition planning, ideally starting between 12 and 14 years of age, to identify and develop resources to support the maturing youth’s capacity for independent decision-making.

If fully autonomous decision-making is not considered appropriate at the age of majority, the pediatrician is encouraged to raise consideration of alternative decision-making supports early enough to allow the youth and caregiver to consider different levels of supports available to them. The goal should be the least restrictive alternative, while preserving the youth’s human rights and human dignity and promoting autonomy.

The policy statement describes terms, concepts and legal requirements to help families navigate health care transition for youth with IDD. Such concepts include:

  • supported decision-making, e.g., choosing a trusted person to attend medical appointments and talk through treatment options;
  • other less restrictive alternatives, e.g., allowing a caregiver to access the youth’s medical record;
  • health care power of attorney, a legal document that gives someone the right to make health care decisions for someone else in specified circumstances; and
  • guardianship, a legal process that is the most-restrictive option when the youth is deemed unable to make decisions.

Key recommendations

  • Preservation of human rights and human dignity for all youth is essential while promoting patients’ autonomy.
  • Pediatricians should advocate for the least restrictive decision-making environment for their patients.
  • Pediatricians can promote and support the developing autonomy of all patients by engaging them in conversations about care decisions while accounting for the youth’s intellectual or developmental ability to express preferences and understand decisions about different aspects of their care.
  • Pediatricians can be aware of different levels of decision-making support for youth and partner with care teams, legal advocates, families and youth in determining the right types of support needed. They also can be familiar with local and state resources supporting disability and autonomy for youth with IDD, including medical-legal partnerships, and refer when appropriate.

Dr. Kuo and Dr. Turchi are lead authors of the policy statement and members of the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities.

Full Article & Source:
From autonomy to guardianship: Policy reviews medical decision-making options

Apology by convicted elder abuser not accepted by victim's daughter

By Justin Strawser

LEWISBURG — An apology offered in Union County Court by the 19-year-old former resident aide who pleaded guilty to extensive elder abuse was not accepted by family of a victim.

On Tuesday, Madison Laine Cox, of Pinchtown Road, Montgomery, was sentenced to three months in jail, followed by 18 months of house arrest with electronic monitoring and 171 months of probation. Cox pleaded guilty in February to 12 misdemeanors: one count of criminal conspiracy to commit abuse of a care-dependent person and 11 counts of abuse of a care-dependent person at Heritage Springs Memory Care in Lewisburg.

Cox apologized and stated she did not have any reasons for her behavior.

“I intend to do better with my future and not make the same mistakes ever again,” Cox said to Union County Judge Michael Piecuch. “I want you to know I will work hard every day to become a better person.”

Lynn Fiedler, the daughter of elder abuse victim Alice Longenberger, did not believe her mother’s abuser.

“I feel that it was very empty,” Fiedler said. “A very empty apology.”

Fiedler and her son, Brandon Fiedler, read victim impact statements before the sentencing. Alice Longenberger is 94 and has dementia.

“It is very hard for me to be up here and not say anything unprofessional to you all on the other side, especially you, Madison Cox, in light of the last time we were all here,” Brandon Fiedler said. “Excuses and zero remorse were shown. It’s truly sickening. But you don’t care. The last time we were here, I watched as you were laughing, smiling with your friends while waiting for the judge to come out of the courtroom. The only true remorse is that you got caught.”

They said Alice Longenberger has suffered both physically and mentally due to the abuse.

“You may not care when the lights are not on you, but you will care now because the public will judge you very harshly from this day forward,” Brandon Fiedler said. “Everywhere you go it will follow you and people will know. My family can finally go back to their lives after this is over, however, we will always have a heavy wound that time will never heal.”

The victims, Lynn Fiedler said, are not only the Heritage Springs patients but their families, their friends and the community itself.

“People are horrified by what you did and are deeply hurt and emotionally distraught by the suffering you have caused,” she said. “You have hurt people, Madison. I don’t think you have any idea or understanding of how far reaching your abuse goes and how much pain you have caused for so many people. Or maybe you simply don’t care.”

Fiedler criticized defense attorney Graham C. Showalter, of Lewisburg, for saying Cox did not take nearly as many photographs as her juvenile codefendant.

“I’m wondering how many pictures of naked elders being demeaned and victimized is OK?” she said. “One? Two? Three? Because to me, and I can safely say to everyone in this courtroom with the exception of you, your family and your attorney, the answer is zero as it is to any decent human being.”

Alice Longenberger’s dignity her family’s peace were stolen, Lynn Fiedler said.

“I hope that today’s sentence will make it clear to you that this is not acceptable to this community or to any decent human being and that you are punished to the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “You deserve no leniency.”

Fiedler had mixed feelings about the sentencing.

“I’m pleased and I’m disappointed at the same time,” she said. “I’m pleased in the sentencing in that it is the most we can do under the current laws in Pennsylvania. I’m disappointed in that the laws are not stricter and there wasn’t more of a punishment.”

Fiedler thanked Piecuch, District Attorney Brian Kerstetter and friends, families and supporters. Fiedler has been working with State Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-27, as part of an elder abuse task force to change the laws, including one that would place elder abusers on lists like sexual offenders are placed on lists.

Full Article & Source:
Apology by convicted elder abuser not accepted by victim's daughter

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Elder abuse task force reviewing proposed bills

By Justin Strawser

Members of an elder abuse task force are reviewing the language and changes of a proposed bill that would place elder abusers on lists like sexual offenders are placed on lists.

State Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-27, has been working with the task force to review Senate Bill 885, which will provide a statewide registry of perpetrators of abuse in facilities, and Senate Bill 261, which would remove the statute of limitations for crimes committed against a nonverbal care-dependent person.

“We wanted an opportunity to tweak the bill and make it better,” Culver said. “We wanted to discuss the impacts and the consequences that we may not have intended, and then get it back to the task force for review. We will recirculate it for co-sponsorship and then reintroduce it.”

The task consists of Culver, Union County District Attorney Brian Kerstetter; Buffalo Valley Regional Police Patrolman Gary V. Heckman; attorney Erica C. Wilson, of Murray, Stone & Wilson PLLC, in West Conshohocken; advocate Kim Rigel and Lynn Fiedler, the daughter of elder abuse victim Alice Longenberger.

Culver said there may not be a need for committee hearings or testimony.

“We’re in that conversation now,” she said. “We may not need it. We’re working with some other members (of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) now until we get to where we need to be. We really want this to be a comprehensive bill that cleans the language up so that law enforcement has the tools necessary to make arrests and the district attorney offices have the tools necessary to prosecute.”

The intention is to call it Alice’s Law in honor of Fiedler’s mother. Longenberger was one of 17 older individuals at Heritage Springs Memory Care in Lewisburg allegedly targeted by two young employees. The employees are accused of taking numerous nude and demeaning photographs and videos of residents between December 2022 and April 2023 at Heritage Springs Memory Care, 327 Farley Circle, Lewisburg.

“Families take this kind of care seriously, but they can still be taken advantage of and face exploitation and abuse,” Culver said. “We need to make sure the changes are the same across the board. I look at this as the first bill of many. Once we get this through, our plan is to look at other ways to strengthen the laws that protect our senior citizens. We’re not going to stop until we feel our seniors are adequately protected.”

Senate bills

Senate Bill 885 and Senate Bill 261 were originally introduced in 2023 by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-33. SB 885 proposed an amendment to the act of Nov. 6, 1987, known as the Older Adults Protective Services Act, that would provide for a statewide registry of perpetrators of abuse in facilities. SB 261 would amend Title 42 to add serious crimes committed against a nonverbal care-dependent person to the other existing seven offenses in which a prosecution can be commenced at any time.

“We’re moving at really good pace,” Fiedler said. “We have such a dedicated task force. They show up for meetings and they come highly prepared. Everyone is invested because they realize the importance of this. There’s a lack of protection for this population.”

Fiedler said she is confident that these first two bills will be passed. It’s also the first of more to come, she said.

“We are part of a very big percentage of an aging society,” she said. “We need to make changes, we need revisions to current bills and we need new bills to better protect our older population.”

Employees charged

Madison Laine Cox, 19, of Pinchtown Road, Montgomery, and an unidentified then-17-year-old male resident who turned 18 in August, allegedly posed with patients in the shower or on the toilet, took pictures of patients who had defecated themselves or had fallen to the ground and took videos of themselves demeaning or harassing individuals, according to court documents filed by Buffalo Valley Regional Police.

They allegedly sent those records to each other, shared them on the phone app Snapchat, and showed them to classmates at a school, police said.

The victims range in age from 69 to 100 years old. The majority of people residing at Heritage Springs Memory Care in Lewisburg are in various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, which limits or severely impedes their cognitive abilities, police said.

In November, the unidentified male was adjudicated in Union County Court on 17 of the 34 counts and his disposition was transferred to his home county in Lycoming County. Adjudication for a juvenile is the functional equivalent of being found guilty in an adult criminal procedure. A disposition hearing in juvenile court is akin to a sentencing hearing in adult court.

The juvenile was sentenced on April 11 in front of Lycoming County Judge Ryan M. Tira, but the judge would not release the sentencing results for the defendant. Due to being charged as a minor, the court proceedings are not open to the public and The Daily Item does not print the names of juvenile defendants unless charged as an adult.

Cox in February pleaded guilty to 12 misdemeanors: one count of criminal conspiracy to commit abuse of a care-dependent person and 11 counts of abuse of a care-dependent person. Union County Judge Michael Piecuch last week rejected the plea deal, which places Cox’s case back on the pre-trial list where the commonwealth can either take the matter to trial or negotiate another plea deal with the defense.

Cox is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. today in front of Union County Judge Michael Piecuch. Cox pleaded guilty in February to 12 misdemeanors: one count of criminal conspiracy to commit abuse of a care-dependent person and 11 counts of abuse of a care-dependent person.

Full Article & Source:
Elder abuse task force reviewing proposed bills

American Legion fights back against veteran-targeted scams

By Eric Mock

Elderly veterans being targeted by scammers
Those fighting elder abuse warn about scams that target elderly veterans. They say most cases go unreported.

According to the FBI, each year elderly Georgians lose tens of millions of dollars to fraudsters. 

Leaders of the North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force say elderly veterans can be particularly vulnerable to these scams. 

"We have a lot of targeting of everyone over the age of 65 and veterans' groups are one of those groups that frequently get targeted," said Dan Flynn, former Chief of Marietta Police and current Deputy Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Task Force.  

Flynn says these scammers have no qualms about going after America’s finest.  

"These people are trained professionals who are trained in the psychology of victimization, they know how to establish a rapport with you, and they are absolutely heartless," Flynn said.  

Last year, Georgia ranked in the top ten states in the U.S. for the most money lost by those over 60 to scammers. 

He says there are so many cases we don’t even know about. 

"Only on in roughly 40 scam cases is ever reported to the police at all," Flynn said.  

Flynn says right now, Vietnam veterans are some of the most vulnerable because of their age. 

"The most common type of scam we see among veterans are romance scams," Flynn said.  

That’s why he and the Task Force try to educate veterans. 

At the American Legion Post 29 in Marietta, Commander Jeff Garland says they’re very aware of how often their members are targeted by scammers.  

"It’s our responsibility to help them out and be in a position to at least advise them on some of the ways they can and may be getting scammed," Garland said.  

That’s why he says once a month they invite the North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force to come speak to the veterans there.  

Flynn shared some of the tips he usually shares with the veterans.  

"Make sure you never send money to someone you haven’t met. You can’t win the lottery if you didn't play. The police will never call you to tell you they’re coming to arrest you," he said.  

He and the task force routinely travel the northern part of the state talking to different American Legion posts. 

Full Article & Source:
American Legion fights back against veteran-targeted scams

Brandon woman ordered to pay over $100k for exploiting elderly adult

Full Article & Source:
Brandon woman ordered to pay over $100k for exploiting elderly adult

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Elderly fraud increasing in Oregon

by Jeremy C. Ruark

This infographic shows how many complaints the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received about different types of elder fraud in 2023. (Image courtesy of the FBI)

Internet scams targeting elderly Oregonians are increasing. The latest Federal Bureau of investigation report shows that segment of the population lost $44 million to the scammers in 2023.

FBI Report

Elder fraud complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (or IC3) increased by 14 percent in 2023, and associated losses increased by about 11 percent, according to IC3’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report, released April 30.  

The annual publication provides statistics about incidents of elder fraud — or fraud that explicitly targets older Americans’ money or cryptocurrency — that are reported to IC3. The report aims to raise the public’s awareness of this issue and to prevent future and repeat incidents.

“Combatting the financial exploitation of those over 60 years of age continues to be a priority of the FBI,” FBI Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall wrote in the report. “Along with our partners, we continually work to aid victims and to identify and investigate the individuals and criminal organizations that perpetrate these schemes and target the elderly.” 

And elder fraud is probably a more insidious threat than the report shows. Many of these crimes likely go unreported, and, as the report states, only about half of the fraud scam complaints submitted to IC3 in 2023 included victims’ ages.

Here are five key takeaways from the 2023 report:

1) Elder fraud is an expensive crime. Scams targeting individuals aged 60 and older caused over $3.4 billion in losses in 2023 — an increase of approximately 11 percent from the year prior. The average victim of elder fraud lost $33,915 due to these crimes in 2023. 

2) Older Americans seem to be disproportionately impacted by scams and fraud. More than 101,000 victims aged 60 and over reported this kind of crime to IC3 in 2023. On the flip side, victims under the age of 20 years old seemed to be the least-impacted demographic, with about 18,000 victims in this demographic reporting suspected scams or frauds to IC3 last year. 

3) Tech support scams were the most widely reported kind of elder fraud in 2023. Nearly 18,000 victims aged 60 and over reported such scams to IC3. Personal data breaches, confidence and romance scams, non-payment or non-delivery scams, and investment scams rounded out the top five most common types of elder fraud reported to IC3 last year.  

4) Investment scams were the costliest kind of elder fraud in 2023. These schemes cost victims more than $1.2 billion in losses last year. And tech support scams, business email compromise scams, confidence and romance scams, government impersonation scams, and personal data breaches all respectively cost victims hundreds of millions of dollars in 2023. 

5) Scammers are coming for people’s cryptocurrency. More than 12,000 victims aged 60 and over indicated that cryptocurrency was a medium or tool used to facilitate the scam or fraud that targeted them when reporting it to IC3. 

Local impact

The Lincoln County Leader reached out to Lincoln City Police Sgt. Erik Anderson to find out the local impact of elderly fraud.

The Leader: What have been the most significant elderly fraud cases seen by your agency over the past few years?

Erik Anderson: So we have seen quite a few over the last couple years unfortunately. Many of these come to our attention through our strong partnership with Adult Protective Services, and many others are brought to us by the victims themselves. One of the more heinous cases we have seen with elder fraud locally includes a case in which a couple defrauded a senior citizen out of their entire home. That case is still being adjudicated. Many of our other cases involve the thefts of large sums of retirement savings through online scams and identity theft.

The Leader: Why are the elderly targeted?

Anderson: The elderly are often targeted for several reasons. Out of all of us, elderly folks tend to have more savings, although in our area we have plenty of seniors living on very fixed incomes. Unfortunately, professional scammers around the world don’t really care about the livelihood of their victims. 

Senior citizens are also more likely to have had personal identity information leaked online through decades of breaches in government organizations, health care agencies, financial records holders and so on. Senior citizens tend to have lower levels of digital literacy than younger generations and in many cases don’t realize they have been victimized until long after the fact.

Romance scams, in which people pretend to fall for an unsuspecting victim met online and request money be sent for prolonged periods, are very common. Elders are often targeted by these scams as many live alone, and the chance at a strong emotional connection is enticing.

Elderly folks are also significantly more likely than others to suffer from conditions affecting their memory, and in some of the most heartbreaking cases, don’t even recognize that they have been victimized. In Oregon, crimes against seniors carry additional penalties under ORS 164.061, which mandates 16 to 45 months of incarceration if certain conditions are met.   

The Leader: Is it difficult to find and arrest the suspects involved, and if so, why?

Anderson: Bringing suspects to justice is often difficult in many of these cases. Memory issues hinder the ability to recall key details of crimes. In some of our fraud cases, suspects have had victims sign over power of attorney in less than scrupulous methods. In these cases, Oregon laws related to criminal mistreatment come into play but are often hard to prove. As far as online fraud goes, these criminals are often never brought to justice as most reside in other countries, which turn a blind eye or even promote the nefarious activity.

The Leader: What recommendations can the LCDP provide to help keep local senior citizens aware of the fraud dangers?

Anderson: I think all people are well served by the early life lesson of stranger danger. Be cautious when contacted by unsolicited marketers or friendly text messages from strangers bearing the gift of wonderful investment opportunities.

I recently looked through a great resource from AARP. They have a whole portal outlining different kinds of scams: This is a great read for seniors and their families who worry about them. Another resource for elderly citizens who have been victimized is to contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( This is the FBI’s portal for taking complaints about cyber crime and scams. They aggregate complaints to target the worst actors. If they recover or seize funds that they can attribute to specific individuals, they work with local law enforcement to return the funds.

Lastly, the protection of our most vulnerable populations, like senior citizens and children, are an important part of our mission at the Lincoln City Police Department. We strive to achieve justice when possible on these cases. We aim to do our best and hope when we are in their position, future Oregonians will look out for us.

If you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online at If the suspected fraud was internet-facilitated, you can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Full Article & Source:
Elderly fraud increasing in Oregon

5 people tasked with helping Alabama woman — as live-in caretakers, cleaners and hairdressers — instead allegedly stole more than $200K from her in elder fraud scheme

by Serah Louis

An elderly woman who received full-time care in her Birmingham, Alabama home due to medical issues was allegedly defrauded of more than $200,000 by the people supposed to care for her.

Fed officials recently announced five individuals, including the woman’s caretakers, house cleaner and hairdresser, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The perpetrators are accused of scheming to swindle the woman using her credit card information, with the crimes taking place between December 2020 and February 2022.

The conspirators ran up the victim’s credit cards

The Birmingham woman’s caretakers, Mykia Henderson and her mother, Cynthia Mixon — along with Henderson’s husband, Corey Webb — are accused of stealing and using her credit card information.

Based on financial records, the family appears to have helped themselves to over $40,000, reports the Miami Herald. They used business banking services like Square and Stripe to charge the woman’s credit cards, as well as issue checks to themselves using her bank accounts and transferring those funds to their personal bank accounts.

Two other women in the victim’s orbit are implicated in the fraud. Whitney Wallace, a house cleaner, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in March, after she stole the victim’s credit card information and continued using the card to make purchases even after she stopped working for the woman.

Wallace spent about $43,227 on purchases from Amazon, Target and DoorDash — which included a commercial-grade bounce house, a 75-inch TV and pricey shoes, the Miami Herald discovered.

And the woman’s hairdresser, Shakira English, used her Square account to charge her client’s credit cards over $130,000, moving the funds to her personal bank account. English has been charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of identity theft.

Elder fraud is becoming a major problem in the US

Financial elder abuse is harming older adults across America and their perpetrators can be friends, family, neighbors, or even caregivers and other professionals.

A 2022 AARP report says the rate of elder financial exploitation has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

And an April analysis from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) says filings show roughly $27 billion in suspicious activity related to elder financial exploitation in just one year between June 2022 and June 2023.

In some cases, the scammers may bleed funds from credit cards and bank accounts, fail to repay money they owe, make exorbitant charges for their services or not do what they were already paid to do. They might make calls pretending to be from the IRS, Social Security  Administration or Medicare, or send phishing emails and texts.

If you suspect you or someone you know has been scammed, contact your bank or financial services provider right away. In certain cases, your bank can cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions or monitor your accounts. You can also report a scam to the Federal Trade Commission and call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-372-8311.

There are Adult Protective Services agencies across the country that you can reach out to as well if you suspect someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse.

Full Article & Source:
5 people tasked with helping Alabama woman — as live-in caretakers, cleaners and hairdressers — instead allegedly stole more than $200K from her in elder fraud scheme

Former Ross County nurse caught again stealing fentanyl from patients

by The Guardian

ROSS COUNTY, Ohio — A former nurse from Ross County, who previously evaded charges for stealing medication from patients, has been sentenced for committing the same crime at another hospital.

Kimberly Clark, 48, was sentenced last week to two years of probation for stealing fentanyl from patients’ IV bags at Mercy Health Anderson Hospital. This sentencing follows allegations of a similar theft at Adena Regional Medical Center in 2023. Despite alleged supporting evidence, Ross County Prosecutor Jeffrey Marks chose not to pursue criminal charges against her.

As a result of her recent conviction in Hamilton County, Clark’s nursing license has been suspended.

Clark left Adena Health System in Chillicothe in March 2023 following allegations of patient medication theft. She was then hired at Mercy Health in May 2023 and arrested for stealing fentanyl in June 2023.

As part of her probation, Clark is required to undergo addiction counseling and treatment.

This case is one of many local cases that appear to have been overlooked by the Ross County Prosecutor’s Office. A sexual abuse case involving a Chillicothe medical provider has reportedly been under investigation since 2015. Despite an alleged audio confession of the abuse, no criminal charges have been filed. In another case, an outstanding homicide investigation has been stalled because no one will pay the cost of DNA testing. The DNA testing could potentially solve a 20-year-old cold case homicide of an elderly WWII veteran in Chillicothe.

Full Article & Source:
Former Ross County nurse caught again stealing fentanyl from patients

Monday, May 27, 2024

National Memorial Day Concert 2024 | PBS

Watch the National Memorial Day Concert, an American tradition honoring the military service of our troops, veterans, wounded warriors, all those who have given their lives for our nation, and their families. Join co-hosts Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise for the 35th Anniversary of the National Memorial Day Concert, at 8 p.m. ET Sunday, May 26, 2024. Watch on your PBS station, the PBS app,, and here on YouTube.

National Memorial Day Concert 2024 | PBS

Dog Saves Owner's Life with the Heimlich Maneuver

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell |

A Springer Spaniel named Mollypops is enjoying a new squeaky chicken and some treats of her own for saving her dog mom's life in a most unusual way.

Rachel Hayes just ate a piece of hard candy, which lodged in her throat. Choking, coughing and not able to talk, Mollypops came up from behind the woman and hit her in the back so hard that it dislodged the treat, in effect performing the Heimlich maneuver.

According to the U.K's the Mirror, Hayes sat down at her kitchen table and popped a strawberry candy into her mouth. When she knew she was in trouble, she said her dog kept coming up to her, but she kept pushing Mollypops away.

"I was having difficulty breathing but Mollypops' sixth sense kicked in and she knew I was in trouble," Hayes said.

After the rescue, Hayes said she was crying and shaking because she thought she was going to die.

"I just burst out crying and said, 'I love you.' She came over for a cuddle and I cuddled her. I told her she was a hero," Hayes said. "I think she's glad to have me alive, otherwise she would have been left all on her own. But I don't think she knows quite what she has done."

It's very possible Mollypops knew what was happening. There have been studies conducted in which dogs sense a human is in distress and rush up to put paws on the person's shoulder.

In a study conducted at the University of London, 18 dogs were filmed with their owners. In 15 instances, the dogs reacted to their human's crying.

One of the dogs, an 8-month-old Labrador retriever, went up to his human when he heard her pretend to cry and put his paw on her shoulder.

The dogs approached in a submissive way suggesting they were offering comfort and empathy, researchers said.

Editor's Note: Photo above is not of Mollypops.

Full Article & Source:
Dog Saves Owner's Life with the Heimlich Maneuver

How 5 types of elder abuse often hide in plain sight

Each year in the U.S., at least 10% of people age 65 and older experience some form of elder abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. (iStockphoto via Getty Images)

By Teri Parker

Each year in the U.S., at least 10% of people age 65 and older experience some form of elder abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm, or a serious risk of harm, to an older adult. This type of abuse may not be outwardly obvious because the senior may not be sharing their situation with others. You may actually know someone who needs your help.

Recently, I spoke to a client who is concerned about the living conditions of her lifelong friends, who are in their late 80s. They’re living in a home they bought more than 60 years ago, which has not been maintained. The original roof leaks, and the home has dry rot and termites. Living with the seniors are two large dogs and a cat, all of which relieve themselves indoors.

Their house is full of items gathered over a lifetime. Objects are stacked throughout the home, limiting the senior’s mobility and accessibility to household items. It is impossible for them to cook, wash or bathe. They can hardly care for themselves, receive minimum help from family members, and do not know where to turn.

Their adult family members include one child and three grandchildren. Three of the family members live 20 minutes away.

Additionally, one of the seniors is hooked on buying items on home shopping networks and has accumulated a significant amount of debt.

Despite this, for the past several years they have been giving their only child a couple of thousand dollars a month to help with expenses. As parents of an only child, they placed their child’s interests first. The monthly checks were accepted and cashed.

Because they’re embarrassed by their living conditions, they rarely invite people inside and have slowly withdrawn from society.

These seniors are not unique. Elder abuse can happen to anyone, including family members, friends or neighbors.

The types of elder abuse have five subtypes: physical, psychological, sexual, financial exploitation and neglect and abandonment.

You may notice that your elderly neighbor has oddly placed bruises, broken bones, black eyes and wounds at various stages of healing. The senior may have a sudden change of behavior, and their caregiver may always be present with visitors. This could be a sign that the senior is being physically abused.

Psychological abuse may be more difficult to observe. Someone in the victim’s household may verbally attack, scold or intimidate the senior. They may talk to them as if they are a child or tell them that their opinion is worthless. The abuser may also keep the senior away from their friends, favorite activities or family members. The senior may become withdrawn, agitated or depressed.

Sexual abuse may not be obvious because the predator preys on the senior when they’re alone. Signs of abuse could include bruises around the breasts or genital area, and blood found on clothing or bedding. Unexplained venereal diseases or genital infections may be diagnosed. And changes in the senior’s demeanor, especially when near the offender, may be apparent.

Neglect and abandonment may be a bit more obvious. Have you observed that the senior has stopped being cared for? Do they have food in their home? Do they regularly visit the doctor? Do they bathe or shower? Signs of poor personal hygiene, malnutrition, and untreated health problems are red flags that the senior may be neglected or abandoned.

Financial abuse can be creative, as the criminal’s mind is imaginative. The range of financial abuse is very wide. It can be as simple as someone taking or keeping money without the senior’s permission, to much more elaborate schemes involving bank accounts, credit cards or the deed to their home. Red flags would be bank balances changing quickly, additional names added to the bank account, unpaid bills, and abrupt changes to a will or other financial documents.

If you believe that a senior you know may be abused or neglected, contact the Adult Protective Services hotline. APS is a resource to report suspected elder abuse or neglect. California residents who call 833-401-0832 and enter the 5-digit ZIP code when prompted, will be connected to the APS in their county, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

When a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation is received, APS’s goal is to create a stable environment where the individual can safely function without requiring ongoing intervention from the APS program. Services provided by APS include responding to reports of known or suspected abuse or neglect, investigating, and arranging for the delivery of services from available community agencies.

APS is not intended to interfere with the lifestyle choices of older adults, nor to protect those individuals from the consequences of their choices.

In the case of my client, during our last conversation, she mentioned her plan to reach out to APS for help with resources for her life-long friends. APS will investigate the home to determine what assistance can be provided to help this family.

It takes a village to raise a child, and a community to care for their elders.

Full Article & Source:
How 5 types of elder abuse often hide in plain sight

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Robbie Robertson’s Children Say Widow Committed ‘Elder Abuse’

by Nick DeRiso

Children of the Band's late Robbie Robertson, a long-time collaborator with Martin Scorcese and Bob Dylan, are claiming elder abuse in a new legal action against his widow. 

Robertson died last year, just months after a private marriage to Janet Zuccarini. His three adult children — Alexandra, Delphine and Sebastian Robertson — filed suit against the Toronto restaurateur in Los Angeles Superior Court.

 "This lawsuit is a meritless fiction and the truth will prevail," said Zuccarini attorney Gabrielle Vidal, told the Los Angeles Times. "This is a gross and exploitative attempt by Robbie Robertson's children to eviscerate their father's expressed wishes for his beloved wife Janet.

The younger Robertsons say his intent upon death was for his children to become 50 percent owners of a Beverly Hills home that Zuccarini and Robertson jointly purchased from David Geffen for $6 million in 2021. (The suit alleges that Robertson put down the entire $1.8-million down payment.) His heirs would then be free to sell the property to Zuccarini, buy out her share or jointly sell. 

Instead, Zuccarini has informed the family that "she was entitled to reside in the property until her death — and that [Robertson's heirs] were required to pay, from what would have been their modest inheritance, the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and half of the daily property maintenance expenses for the duration of her life," according to the lawsuit.

His heirs say the elder abuse stems from Zuccarini's insistence that Robertson sign documents when he was not capable of understanding them. The lawsuit argues that he never fully recovered after a 2022 cancer-related surgery, and was using powerful opioids, THC and antipsychotics to manage the pain.

Robbie Robertson's Children Say He Was 'Severely Impaired'

"Robertson's mental state was severely impaired," the Robertson children's attorney says. "These drugs he was taking, in the period of time when Zuccarini was arranging the secret wedding and having him sign oppressive documents, are known to have significant effects on cognition – including confusion, hallucinations, torpor, depression, memory loss, and dissociation."

Property ownership was changed when the couple amended a Tenant in Common agreement just months before Robertson died in August 2023. A copy of the new agreement was included in the legal action and now states that if one of them were to die, the estate would assume responsibility for paying off the deceased's half of the mortgage.

Robertson's heirs are asking the court to cancel the agreement. They did not immediately offer comments to the Times through their attorney.

Full Article & Source:
Robbie Robertson’s Children Say Widow Committed ‘Elder Abuse’