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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

July 28, 2015

How to Report and Protect in Situations of Elder Abuse

By Victoria Dalton 

July 26, 2015

When fighting the war on elder abuse, no one will consider you a hero. Instead, you will be met with doubt, disbelief and greed. Let the elder live his or her life as they choose to do so. The line I hear frequently is "even elders have the right to make bad decisions."
The most difficult situations are where the elder has limited capacity as opposed to no capacity.  Capacity is the ability to comprehend both the nature and consequences of one's acts.
When an elder lacks capacity, an application for Guardianship may be made to the Probate Courts. Details on how to do this can be found on njcourts.com under forms and of course through an elder law attorney.
So what tools do we have in our arsenal to protect and defend an elder victim with limited capacity? As mentioned, this is not an easy battle and no one will thank you, including the victim. They fail to believe or are too embarrassed to disclose they are being duped.
However, even during the bleakest times, we cannot give up. Consider the following in your quest for justice and try to include as many organizations, family members and witnesses on your side as possible. Remember it is not an easy fight. Here is the RAP Sheet (Report and Protect).
Journal
Keep a log as to each encounter you may have with either the victim or the abuser. Include date, time, location and a short summary of interaction. If you have documentation that supports the meeting include that as well.  For example, include a picture of you with the victim and their abusers.  
Communication
An elderly person who is isolated is especially vulnerable to abuse. In these situations, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.  If you do not communicate on a regular basis, you will miss important clues and changes in behavior.  Further, your failure to communicate and provide them with attention will risk alienating them permanently.
EverSafe
Each year YLC offers the opportunity to receive a complimentary inventory of assets packet by email to help elders know specifically what they own and where important paper work/documents are located.
Going a step further in the fight against elder financial exploitation is a company called EverSafe.  They provide protection from fraud, identity theft, unscrupulous telemarketers and possibly anyone who would want to steal by monitoring an elder's financial accounts and credit reports, alerting you to suspicious activity.
Elizabeth Loewy, General Counsel for EverSafe, spoke recently at the White House Conference on Aging, and has stated "these crimes wreck the best-laid financial plans and put tremendous strains on families, from the seniors dealing with the burdens of victimization to the relatives wracked with guilt for not having acted more sooner."
Aging and disability resource center
To examine your options and receive information and assistance call toll free 1-877-222-3737.  If you are not a Gloucester County resident, the correct number will be provided to you.
Attorney
Consult with an elder law attorney to discuss your case. Attorneys may be able to freeze assets, provide guardianship representation, or take other legal action that may be appropriate to your situation.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Each state has rules for investigating and providing protective services. Reporting may be done anonymously.  Most states, including New Jersey, have mandatory reporting of elder abuse if your job requires you to have regular contact with an elderly person such as a social worker or nurse.  Importantly, the reporter is granted civil and criminal immunity as long as he or she has not reported in bad faith.
Citizens can report elder abuse through their county Adult Protective Services office located within their Board of Social Services.  In Gloucester County, call (856) 582-9200 or after hours (800) 648-0132 to report elder abuse.
Remember, should a victim be deemed to have capacity, they can refuse services offered.
Admittedly, there are no easy answers in combatting elder exploitation. Still, we can earnestly Report And Protect to help our elderly.  Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner, will consider: " Exploitation Protections in your Legal documents." Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.


SOURCE:   NJ.com

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It's No Country for Old People When Society Makes Them Feel Like a Burden (IRELAND)

How would we have responded last week had a report revealed that a group of vulnerable children were still not being cared for as ordered, months after the problem was first identified and those responsible directed to put the matter right?

Probably with much more shock and urgency than we did to the results of an unannounced inspection by HIQA of New Ross Community Hospital in Wexford, which found that recommendations made in February to improve the quality of life of elderly patients had still not been acted upon. That report was preceded by another describing how elderly patients at a care facility in Leitrim had been forced to go unwashed for weeks at a time. People were appalled by what they heard, certainly, but there was almost a sense of weary acceptance in the headlines: "Another state-funded home fails to protect elderly residents."
Such horror stories have become a regular feature of national media, ever since RTE ran an expose at the end of last year, using hidden cameras to show residents at the Aras Attracta home in Swinford, Co Mayo being force fed, pinched, hit with keys, kicked, dragged along the floor. Some residents were left in the same chair unattended for up to 11 hours at a time. Staff ignored them when they cried or pleaded for attention.
Figures released last month showed that there was a record 2,592 referrals received by the HSE's elder abuse service in 2014. Eight new cases are being reported every day, mostly involving neglect, financial abuse (where the elderly are inveigled into handing over money or possessions), and psychological abuse, but also 300 cases of physical abuse as well. The number of unreported cases is believed to be substantially higher.
Nor are nursing homes solely to blame. Children of the victim were implicated in nearly half of all cases (49pc); husbands and wives in one-in-five cases; and a majority of victims were living in their own homes at the time, with only 11pc in nursing homes.
The situation in Ireland is not as bad as in other parts of Europe, but this is still no country for old men - and it's even worse for old women, who make up two-thirds of victims. It's one of the downsides of greater female longevity that it exposes them to a higher chance at some point of elder abuse.
There's a sense that all this is not seen as such a pressing problem because the victims are coming to the end of their lives anyway; which is monstrous in a way, because that ought to make us more sensitive to their needs, not less.
There's also that underlying question: what if it was children who were being subjected to this litany of emotional bullying, harassment, and intimidation? Who were left without food or water, or drugged to keep them docile?
There are many parallels between the way children were systematically mistreated in the past, and how old people are mistreated now. One woman at Aras Attracta was warned that she'd be put out in the cold and dark if she didn't stop crying. There's the same pattern of using the withdrawal of food or attention as a punishment.
Then there's the fact that old people, like children, often don't tell anyone what's happening because they're afraid of the consequences if they do, or don't think they'll be believed, or because they rely on the person who is mistreating them to provide them with care in the first place. Children and the elderly are at opposite ends of their lives, but equally vulnerable and powerless in the face of an overwhelming authority.
The same excuses are also made for those who do the mistreating as we once used to make about those who hurt children. They were stressed. They couldn't cope. They get low wages, and work long hours with little training. We don't make those excuses any more for those who place children in harm's way, so why tolerate them when it's the elderly on the receiving end?
It's not that governments don't care about the issue. It's simply that old people are always pushed to the back of the queue.

.....  Making the end of elder abuse the commanding theme of the coming decades could wind up making an equally huge contribution to working out what sort of society we really want to live in.

SOURCE:     The Sunday Independent
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Who is committing those crimes? The Japanese elderly (JAPAN)

BY TIM SANDLE 
Digital Journal

JUL 25, 2015

Older people are more settled with a lower predilection to committing crimes, whereas young tearaways will seize the opportunity to rob. Detonate that stereotype. In Japan, older people are now committing more crimes

Figures released from Japanese authorities suggest more elderly-person-related crime has been handled by the police than juvenile crime. This is an unusual trend and has been happening for the past six months. By elderly this is not the "middle-aged," but those aged over 65.
Japan's National Police Agency has been publishing age-related crime datasince 1989. Each six-month period has shown a pattern that matches most developed nations: crime is a young person's game. Until now.
For the first six months of 2015, action was taken against 23,000 elderly people (aged 65 years plus) compared with action taken against those aged 14 to 19 years old (20,000 incidences.) These figures, BBC World summarizes, are in the context of a general decline in the crime rate throughout Japan over the past 10 years and the figures, per head of population, are relatively low compared with U.S., Canada, and most of Europe. The only slide in this general decline is a rise in "elderly crime" which is 10 percent up on the trend.
The reason seems to be a demographic consequence rather than a network of older-person led gangs. The Japanese population has been becoming progressively older. As it stands, near 25 percent of the 127 million peoplewho live in Japan are above retirement age. With such a disproportionately high number of people aged over 65, the biggest potential group for engaging in nefarious activities are those within this demographic category. There may also be social and economic factors at play: low incomes and living in isolation can also lead to desperate behaviors.


SOURCE:   Digital Journal
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Elder abuse? Seek proper help, avoid 'public trial' (SINGAPORE)

The Lower Delta Road incident of a woman caught on video slapping her mother is unfortunate, and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has highlighted the equally unfortunate "public trial" of the individuals concerned ("Public trial of family harsh: Tan Chuan-Jin"; last Saturday). 

In January, several concerned residents in my neighbourhood informed me that an elderly woman had been sleeping in the void deck of a block for several nights. As a member of the residents' committee (RC), I went to investigate. Older members of the RC and neighbours knew about her, and the police had been involved, more than seven years ago, to get her back home to sleep.
There were many theories about what caused her not to want to sleep at home, including abuse by her daughter and boyfriend.
Like what Mr Tan said regarding the Lower Delta Road case: "Sometimes, details may be half-accurate or inaccurate."
In the case of the elderly woman in my neighbourhood, the appropriate thing to do was to seek professional help, and we did. With the help of the RC adviser, a social worker was assigned to her case.
The social worker met the woman's daughter and her boyfriend. She also spoke to the concerned neighbours who have been feeding the elderly woman.
The social worker was able to ascertain the facts of the case and, based on the information, she was able to get the appropriate social service agencies to help a Singaporean in troubled circumstances. The social worker was also able to give professional advice to the neighbours on how best to help the elderly woman to eventually return home to sleep.
We are still working on this case but we managed to avoid a "public trial" of the individuals concerned as that would have put further stress on the already-fractured family relationships.
Liu Fook Thim
SOURCE:    AsiaOne News


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July 25, 2015

Fighting Elder Abuse: More eyes and ears needed to report cases to centres (SINGAPORE)

By

Radha Basu

Senior Correspondent
Straits Times

For months, neighbours heard screams from a thin, frail woman who looks much older than her 58 years. Some said they saw her beaten by her daughter or husband.
But until Mohamed Juani - a neighbour - secretly filmed and uploaded a video of one such abuse incident on Facebook on Monday evening, no one really spoke up. And, crucially, no one reported the matter to the authorities.
Once the video went viral, some neighbours told reporters they saw her being slapped and kicked. Others saw her hair being pulled. Yet others saw her being berated and beaten with brooms.
The shroud of silence that surrounds abuse cases may shock some, but comes as no surprise to those at the front lines of the battle against elder abuse.
Trans Safe Centre, Pave and Care Corner Project Start provide specialised community-based support and services for people affected by family violence. This includes older folk who are scolded, beaten, defrauded or denied access to others by people they love, most frequently their own flesh and blood. 
While there are some family, friends and neighbours who do speak out, social workers in all three agencies have seen cases where others knew of the abuse but did nothing to help.
Pave, for instance, helped a 74-year-old woman who was often kicked, slapped and hit on the head by her son-in-law. She would shout for help. Once, when he was hitting her and she screamed for help through the kitchen window, a small crowd had gathered downstairs to gape. But no one offered to help or report the matter. Eventually, a visiting grandson was shocked by her condition and reported the matter to the authorities. 
Similarly, in other cases reported to the Trans Safe Centre and Project Start by family members or police, neighbours acknowledged seeing the violence, but did nothing about it. Some do not intervene for fear of being hurt or harassed by the perpetrator who, after all, lives just a door or two away. They may fear making the violence worse for the victim. Others feel being a "kaypoh" - or nosy - neighbour is too "paiseh" (embarrassing). 
Most of all, social workers say, many bystanders feel outsiders should not interfere in domestic disputes - even when violence is invoved. 
It is unclear exactly how many people harbour such views today, but a 2007 study of more than 1,000 people by what was then the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports showed that half believed family violence was a private matter, down from nearly six in 10 in 2003.
But this is a totally wrong view.
The law does not stop at the threshold to private homes. If it did, killings at home won’t be murder, and criminals can flee the law simply by returning home to shut the door. 
Neighbours and bystanders need to know that domestic violence is a crime, the same way violence to a co-worker in the office, or a stranger on the street, is a crime.
Abridged
SOURCE:    Straits Times

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More Seniors Reporting Cases of Abuse: Welfare Centres (SINGAPORE)

More seniors are reporting cases of abuse, according to welfare centres who deal specifically with family violence. They said physical violence remains the most common form of abuse, but more elderly people are also falling prey to financial abuse, with their family trying to get them to surrender their savings.
On Monday (Jul 20), a Facebook user "ApohTecky Numero" had posted a video online that showed an elderly woman being hit by a younger lady at Block 48 Lower Delta Road. Police later confirmed that a report had been lodged. "Preliminary investigations revealed that a 25-year-old female Singaporean had allegedly assaulted her 58-year-old mother on Jul 20," they stated. The 25-year-old is helping police with their investigations.
Ms Tan Ching Yee, 45, oversees TRANS SAFE Centre, a voluntary welfare organisation in Bedok and one of three family violence specialist centres in Singapore. She has seen many cases of elderly abuse in her 20-year career, but one which took place three to four years ago stood out.
"When we went to the home, we found that he was actually found lying on the trash bag, very thin, wearing diapers and totally grossly neglected. We had to send him to the hospital,” said Ms Tan.
Most cases of elderly abuse by family members are referred to the centres by healthcare institutions such as hospitals and polyclinics, and the courts.
TRANS SAFE Centre sees around 80 such cases annually, and around 40 cases have been reported this year. The most common form of abuse involves physical violence, followed by psychological abuse, neglect and financial abuse, such as getting the seniors to hand over their savings. Their impact over the long term can be devastating, leading to a sense of helplessness, isolation and depression.
With growing awareness of what constitutes abuse and of avenues to seek help, more seniors are reporting such incidents. TRANS SAFE Centre said that between 2010 and 2014, the figure rose from 7 to 17 per cent, among those aged 60 to 64.
ELDERLY VULNERABLE TO FINANCIAL ABUSE
Care Corner Project StART - another centre that deals with family violence - has also noticed this trend, and it said that this group is also vulnerable to financial abuse as they tend to be better-off.
The centre sees 80 cases of elderly abuse each year and half involve financial abuse. 
Said Ms Agnes Chia, group director for family and community services at Care Corner Project StART: “We do see their adult children coming in to coerce them to pass on even the deed of the HDB flat to them and coerce them to pass their savings to them. And tactics of abusing them physically would be employed at times to coerce them to surrender their lifelong savings.”
Social workers dealing with cases of elderly abuse said the introduction of the Vulnerable Adults Act by the end of the year would be timely. It would give them the powers to enter the homes of elderly people suspected of being abused.
Currently, family members may prevent them from getting access to these seniors.
"But we need to recognise that a law is only a law. It is after that, what happens? So, we can't assume that the Vulnerable Adults Act can resolve the problem overnight. Looking at the whole process of working towards getting family members to acknowledge that things can be better and things do not have to be resolved using violence. Ultimately, that is still the aim,” said Ms Tan.
Social workers said there is one key challenge that the public faces when it comes to reporting incidents of family violence - distinguishing between whether it is a family dispute or a case of abuse.
Still, they said that more are stepping up to alert them of such cases.

SOURCE:    ChannelNewsAsia

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July 24, 2015

Elder Abuse May Be More Common Than People Think

BY LISA RAPAPORT


(reuters health)

Elder abuse may be more common than is recognized, particularly among adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments, a research review suggests.
In North and South America, elder abuse prevalence ranges from 10 percent of lucid older adults to almost half of those with dementia, the review of previous studies found. In Europe, prevalence ranges from about 2 percent in Ireland to about 61 percent in Croatia and in Asia, exposure to elder abuse ranges from 14 percent in India to 36 percent inChina.
“Elder abuse is a common, identifiable, fatal and costly condition that occurs across sociodemographic and socioeconomic strata around the world,” lead study author Dr. Xin Qi Dong, a researcher in aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said by email.
It can include psychological, physical or sexual mistreatment; neglect and financial exploitation, Dong and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
While cognitive impairment appears to be most strongly linked to a risk of being abused, the problem is also seen among elderly people with impaired physical function and those suffering psychological distress or social isolation.
Abuse significantly harms health and has been linked to psychological disorders as well as physical illnesses, the review found. Two studies in the analysis found an association between elder abuse and premature mortality, especially among blacks.
In addition, elder abuse is associated with increased use of health services, especially emergency department visits and hospitalizations as well as readmissions, the authors note.
Clinicians are well positioned to spot elder abuse and start a conversation with patients that can help them receive assistance they need to get out of an abusive situation, said Dr. Michael Bond, an emergency medicine researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“Doctors or social workers need to ask the patient when they are alone, and if there is any suspicion at all a home visit should be arranged,” Bond, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
While patients can’t always prevent themselves from becoming victims of abuse, there are some steps they may be able to take to make it less likely, said Dr. Janice Du Mont, a psychologist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
As they age, adults should plan ahead while they are still lucid and independent, Du Mont, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. People should have a living will and power of attorney designating what type of care they want and who can make medical or financial decisions for them if they later become unable to do so, she said.
In addition, people shouldn’t lend bank cards or PIN numbers to anyone, and should weigh any decisions to change living situations very carefully, particularly moving in with a friend or relative or having a caregiver move into the home. Maintaining contact with a support network of as many friends and family members as possible is also helpful.
“As the world faces an increasingly aging population, elder abuse is predicted to increase,” she said. “The prevention of elder abuse should be an important area of concern for policy makers, program developers and practitioners.”

(Source: bit.ly/1BEoOnc Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, online June 11, 2015.)
SOURCE:   REUTERS

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How to Stop Elder Abuse: Report Red Flags (Minnesota, USA)

Echo Press Editorial: How to stop elder abuse: Report red flags

July 22, 2015

It happens too often: An elderly person is financially preyed upon by a con artist, a relative or close friend.

But all the headlines that tell about such crimes should not make people numb to it. Instead, it should spark outrage and spur action and awareness. It starts with reporting any suspected financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly.

Rothman said that seniors have become a prime target for crooks because they control an estimated 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. Age-related factors such as illnesses and cognitive impairment can make many older adults especially vulnerable to financial crimes and scams.

The commerce department has stepped up its efforts to protect Minnesota seniors from financial fraud and abuse. But it can’t address this pressing problem on its own. It needs the public’s help in bringing cases of suspected elder abuse to light.

“While one of the best lines of defense is prevention through education, a continuing challenge is that elder financial abuse is a crime that often goes unreported,” said Rothman. “Greater public awareness is needed to identify these crimes early on and help victims before they lose their hard-earned life savings.”

Rothman highlighted some possible warning signs of financial abuse of older adults:

• Unusual financial transactions that are inconsistent with past behavior.

• Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.

• Unusual inability to pay for routine services like utilities or insurance.

• Closing of CDs or financial accounts without regard to penalties or fees.

• Large or frequent financial withdrawals, including maximum cash withdrawals from ATMs.

• A sudden change in the management of the older adult’s finances.

Rothman said that when these red flags show up, it may be a sign that someone is being victimized and it should be reported.

Douglas County area residents can report suspected elder financial fraud to the Commerce Department at 1-800-657-3602.


Minnesotans can also report suspected elder abuse, such as physical maltreatment or neglect, to their county’s designated Common Entry Point. To find a county’s Common Entry Point, people can call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433.


SOURCE:     The Echo Press
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MIDDLETOWN, DEL. SIBLINGS CHARGED WITH ELDER ABUSE

July 22, 2015

New Castle County police have charged siblings from Middletown, Delaware with elder abuse.

47-year-old Kelly Chytrenko and 44-year-old Davis Deibert were taken into custody on Wednesday morning.

Police were called to investigate an allegation of elder abuse at their home on Horseshoe Court in Middletown on Monday.

Police learned a 73-year-old victim was taken to Union Hospital in Elkton, Maryland late Sunday night.

Investigators say the victim had not seen a doctor in four years while under the care of Chytrenko and Deibert.

The say the man suffered bed sores, malnutrition and dehydration.

Chytrenko and Deibert were both charged with abuse of an infirmed adult.


They were arraigned and released on $1,000 unsecured bail and issued a no contact order.

SOURCE:     6ABC.COM
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July 23, 2015

Some Nursing Home Residents 'Left Without Shower for Month' (IRELAND)

21/07/2015

Some elderly people in a nursing home have been left for a month or more without a shower, inspectors have revealed.
The Hiqa inspection also found fire evacuation and personal evacuation plans were not in place and f ire safety equipment had not been installed.
It also highlighted a significant number of falls in the home, including that some residents had fallen repeatedly and were not adequately protected from further injury.
Records showed there were 110 falls in the home last year and 63 in the last six months, with one person falling seven times in four months and another falling six times in six months.
One of them fractured a hip and the other suffered a fractured vertebrae after falling out of bed.
A lack of suitable chairs had resulted in some men and women being bed-bound, Hiqa said.
Dormitory-style rooms were also being used for four to six people to sleep in at a time which inspectors said was affecting the privacy and dignity of residents.
Inadequate staff numbers were also raised with the operators while relatives of some of the people living in the home said they were generally happy with the care but concerned about the lack of nurses and carers.
"The inspectors found there was insufficient staffing to meet the needs of the residents and current staff were not deployed in a manner that met the needs of residents," the report said.
SOURCE:     The Belfast Telegraph

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DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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