When a son/daughter wants your home they will go to any length to get it. Even putting a lien on it.

Don't Give Power of Attorney to the Wrong Person

At 83, Betty Halligan had lived a long and happy life, but after her husband died she needed extra care.
Betty Halligan was suffering from dementia and diabetes, so her grandson Michael Halligan and his girlfriend Daphne Wood moved into her Spokane, Wash., home to help her out. Or so she thought.
Betty Halligan's son, Dick Halligan, and his wife, Gail Halligan, lived in another state. At first they were happy that their mom had help, but later they became concerned when they learned she had signed over her power of attorney to their nephew. Dick Halligan was convinced his nephew was stealing from his mother.
"We knew it was happening. We just couldn't convince the right people to let us step in and try to help," Dick Halligan said.
His mother was in denial, Dick and Gail Halligan said. She simply wouldn't believe that her grandson would steal from her.
"They had convinced her to sign the deed to the house over to them, with the thought that they would stay and take care of her for the rest of life," Dick Halligan said. "As soon as the deed came in the mail, they started the paperwork to get an eviction notice to get her out of the house."
With her life savings depleted and about to be evicted from her own home, Betty Halligan finally reached out to her daughter-in-law for help.
"Betty called me and she was whispering and she said, 'I need help.' She said, 'They are hurting me and they have taken all my money.' My heart just sank. She was so defenseless," Gail Halligan said.
The police got involved and discovered Betty Halligan was terrified.
"When I talked to Betty she was afraid they were going to kill her. She was really afraid," said Detective Kirk Kimberly of the Spokane Police Department.
Police raided the home and uncovered evidence that ultimately sent Michael Halligan and Wood to prison for more than two years. They were convicted of second-degree theft and forgery.
Betty Halligan witnessed her grandson's trial and later moved to an assisted living center, where she lived until she passed away in June.
"She was never the same after this," Gail Halligan said. "She died of disappointment and a broken heart."

●The guardian/conservator treats you as an outsider instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.

●Your loved one doesn't get his/her mail.

●The guardian/conservator sees to it that your loved one doesn't have a phone.

●When you visit, the guardian "hovers" or even employs someone to hover so you're not alone with your loved one.

●If your loved one is in a nursing home, you're only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room.

●Your loved one appears to be more sluggish, perhaps even dazed.

●You start seeing questionable documents and realize financial accounts are closed or changed and the statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.

●The nursing facility tells you when you visit, you "upset" your family member or upset the staff.

●You are denied input about your loved one's care - the doctor won't talk to you - you are shut out.

●Items are missing items from your loved one's home.

●The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.
For more information: http://stopguardianabuse.org/
Loss of Visuo-spatial Skills * Use landmarks for way-finding (for example, a picture on the wall by the bathroom.) * Be aware of the person’s fears and discomfort. * Pay attention to the safety of the environment–remove clutter, add lighting, try to avoid redecoration and remodeling while caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Remember that familiarity and routines are very important as one’s cognitive abilities decrease.

Exploitation of the Elderly: Undue Influence as a Form of Elder Abuse
Ryan C. W. Hall, MD, Richard C. W. Hall, MD, and Marcia J. Chapman

Signs and Symptoms Suggesting Undue Influence

Elderly person’s actions inconsistent with past longstanding values/beliefs
Older person making sudden changes in financial management that enrich one individual
Elderly persons changing their will or disposition of assets, belongings, property, and direct assets toward one who is not natural “object of their bounty”
Caretaker dismisses previous professionals and directs older person to new ones (eg, bankers, stockbrokers, attorneys, physicians, realtors)
Elderly person isolated from family, friends, community, and other stable relationships
Nonfamily caretaker has moved into the home or taken control of daily schedule
Older person directs income flow to caretaker (eg, Social Security, pensions, trust distributions)
Wills, living wills, trusts altered with new caretaker or friend as beneficiary/executor
Elderly person develops mistrust of family members, particularly about financial affairs, with this view supported by new friend, acquaintance, caretaker
Older person finds new caretaker guaranteeing lifelong care if he or she gives the caretaker his or her assets
Elderly person in relationship characterized by power imbalance between parties, with caretaker assuming
restrictive control and dominance
Caretaker or friend accompanies elder to most important transactions, not leaving him or her alone to speak for himself or herself
Elderly person writes checks for cash, in round numbers or large amounts, or gives cash gifts to caretaker or caretaker’s family
Older person increasingly helpless, frightened, despondent, feeling that only the caretaker can prevent his or her further decline
Elderly person sees acquaintance or caretaker as exalted, with unusual powers or influence


Characteristics of Female Perpetrators Who Exploit Elderly

  • Has some caregiving relationship to elderly person
    Instills sense of helplessness and dependency
    Isolates the elderly person from family members and other social contacts
    Presents herself as protector of the elderly victim while isolating them from others
    Enhances inadequacy and diminished self-worth in victim, making him or her more
    Often has history of multiple unstable relationships
    Often falsifies credentials or embellishes personal power, role, or position
    Psychologically dysfunctional
    Antisocial with little regard for rights of others
    Methodically identifies victims and establishes power and total control over them
    Gains control of assets through deceit, intimidation, and psychological abuse

Structured activities important to living with Alzheimer's disease

HOUSTON -- (April 8, 2008) -- A structured environment is key to easing some of the sleep-related problems facing people with Alzheimer's disease, said experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
The most common problem for those with Alzheimer's disease is a fragmented or erratic sleep pattern that usually occurs in the later stages of the illness.
"It is normal to have sleep changes as we age, such as waking up earlier in the morning, going to bed earlier, frequent awakening in the night and a decrease in deep sleep time," said Dr. Susan Rountree, assistant professor of neurology at BCM. "Patients with dementia can have other problems like obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome that disrupt sleep."
Restless nights
Waking up during the night or not being able to sleep at an appropriate bedtime becomes a problem when the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease is roaming the house, unfamiliar with his or her surroundings.
"A primary contributor to the sleep problem is lack of day time stimulation and opportunities for socialization," said Dr. Mary Kenan, assistant professor of neurology. "If you sleep all day because there is nothing else to do, you'll be up all night."
Many people with Alzheimer's disease struggle to maintain a daily schedule on their own. They may lose the ability to pursue favorite hobbies, and may avoid social settings that can confuse or agitate them. All this can contribute to day time napping which can then lead to wakeful nights.
"Structure and routine needs to be set up through family and friends or a paid caregiver if possible," Kenan said.
Replace naps with activities
Caregivers can help people with Alzheimer's disease avoid erratic sleep habits or night time wakening by establishing a strict bedtime and a definite waking time. They can also help them increase activity during the day.
They might consider supervised walks in the park or enrollment in a wellness program specifically for those suffering from dementia.
Rountree says using over-the-counter sleep aids can cause problems. In some cases, she said, they might make the dementia symptoms worse. Certain prescription medications can also worsen problems with memory or confusion and increase the risk of falls in elderly individuals. Giving special attention to sleep hygiene is very important before using medications. Finding a way to keep people with the disorder active during the day and stop napping is the first option families should try.
"Seek a doctor's advice when theses approaches fail," Rountree said.

“Orders of Protection are basically a strategy of war. They are not a strategy of peace." Gavin de Becker

Confucius says... If you take people to court, don't go around complaining that you have to go to court and for Pete's sake, don't delete the fact that it was you who initiated the process.

Congress and Albany must protect elders

March 6, 2008
With more than 8,600 reported cases of elder abuse in upstate New York, including 686 in Monroe County, it's reassuring that federal and state lawmakers are showing signs of concern.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week unveiled a comprehensive package of legislation to protect New York seniors.In Washington, Sen. Chuck Schumer has been sounding the alarm with his push for the Elder Justice Act.
Under the bill, federal agencies would be set up to oversee elder abuse issues, which can include neglect by a caregiver, financial exploitation, emotional stress and verbal attacks.
Because the federal proposal has been introduced repeatedly over the past six years without success, it's good to see that the New York Assembly is moving forward.
With an estimated 30,000 elder abuse victims in the state annually, the Assembly is acting on what it learned earlier this year at public hearings around the state, including in Rochester. Its remedies range from enhanced penalties for assaulting elderly victims to overhauling power of attorney laws.
The penalty for assaulting a person 65 years or older would increase from a class A misdemeanor to second-degree assault, which is a class D violent felony.
When it comes to the most common form of abuse, which involves caregivers using or stealing seniors' money or property, existing laws would be tightened. Unlawful acts committed under cover of power of attorney, for example, would more easily be prosecuted.
With baby boomers — the largest segment of the population—moving into their senior years, lawmakers no longer can afford to sidestep these concerns.
Congress and the state Legislature must move to help elders, who are among society's most vulnerable. They've earned our protection.
(February 28, 2008)
Nearly 1,300 cases of elder abuse were reported last year in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area, and experts believe thousands more incidents went unreported.
Among the reported cases, 686 were in Monroe County, according to a report released Wednesday by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., with data from the New York state Office of Children and Family Services. Across upstate New York, 8,693 cases were reported in 2007.
In January, a state Assembly committee held a hearing on the issue in Rochester, and a public notice estimated that 30,000 senior citizens statewide had been victims of abuse or exploitation.
"We really don't know how much elder abuse there is out there in New York state," said Paul Caccamise, vice president of program at the nonprofit organization Lifespan, which received a state grant this year to run the nation's first statewide study on the prevalence of elder abuse. "It's not the kind of condition that people step forward to report. There's a lot of fear and shame involved in the issue."
Often, abusers are family members or loved ones, and seniors are reluctant to report them, said Caccamise. Elder abuse can include neglect by a caregiver, financial exploitation, emotional stress or verbal attacks.
The most common form of elder abuse involves caregivers using or stealing seniors' money or property. Financial exploitation was present in 43 percent of the cases reported to Lifespan last year.
In response to the numbers, Schumer pushed Wednesday for passage of the Elder Justice Act, a bill that has been introduced repeatedly over the past six years but never passed.
The legislation, last introduced in March 2007, would set up federal agencies to oversee elder abuse issues, help develop forensic centers to document cases, provide grants for adult protective services and other organizations providing care to seniors, and encourage training to help ombudsman programs deal with complaints of abuse and neglect.
The bill is before the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. Schumer, a member of the committee, is also a co-sponsor of the bill."If that's passed, it will go a long way to improving elder abuse services around the country," Caccamise said.

Preventing Violence Against Our Seniors
It is painful to imagine, but violence affects the lives of many seniors.

Bill*, a 79-year-old from Rochester, was being terrorized by his younger live-in girlfriend. He says she often beat him with his own cane, stole his identification, and took his food stamps.
When Robert and Annette Arnold - two people close to Bill - found out about his abuse, they called the police and took Bill into their home. And they didn't stop there. The Arnold's sought help from Lifespan’s Elder Abuse Prevention program, which is funded by United Way's Community Fund. Lifespan’s program works to combat all kinds of abuse, from the physical to the emotional to the financial.
“The Elder Abuse Prevention program has been very helpful,” Robert Arnold said. “Without the advice of Lifespan's staff, we wouldn’t have known where to turn.”
Mistreatment of seniors is more common than it first may seem. Nationally, a U.S. Senate committee has estimated the number of victims at about five million a year.
Art Mason, director of Lifespan’s program, says seniors who don’t have regular contact with neighbors, friends or relatives can be easily isolated by perpetrators, which plays into their nefarious plans.
“It’s very easy to abuse people when they are isolated,” Mason says.
Mason shares the most common perpetrator he sees is a son or daughter of the victim, accounting for half of their cases last year. Often, perpetrators have a problem with addiction or mental illness.
“These situations can erupt into violence or become threatening,” Mason said. “Many of our elder physical abuse victims don’t fight back.”
In Bill’s case, his abuser is out of the picture, and he is in the process of rebuilding his life, as are the 280 other seniors who received help from this initiative last year.
“She hasn’t messed with him,” Annette Arnold said. “But, he’s not out of the woods yet.”


New Yorks's elderly population is growing and so are the reports of elder abuse - physical, emotional, mental and financial.

We don't hear about the stories very often in the press, because many families of victims are afraid they'll be sued for slander. Today, the brother-in-law of a 81-year-old victim spoke up - but without naming any names.
Three years ago, a man came into the life of Gerald Harvey's sister-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer's. He offered to do things for her. Months went by, and so did thousands of dollars. Harvey explained that the "gentleman” said he needed money to fix up the house.
The family complained to the Department of Human Services, but the problems persisted when, Harvey says, a life-long acquaintance of his sister-in-law manipulated his way into complete control of her finances and property. "The now-trustee didn't have to report to anyone. He was empowered and she had signed the paper. Her signature is on it. She said, ‘I didn't want it,' but her name is still there,” Harvey explained.
And that's not the worst of it. "
They called our daughter three months ago and asked her not to stop and visit at all. And tell your parents not to take her out of the house for any reason. And when they do visit, someone must be there to monitor what you say,” Harvey added.
This man is still in the picture, and Harvey says, despite all their efforts, there's no way to get rid of him.
"Anyone who can gain the trust of an elderly person, who might share control of their life savings, is in a position to victimize."

A Hidden Crime

(Source: Washington Post) - Living longer, but not better is a recent phenomenon called "the longevity paradox."
Often the cause is not the medical system, but rather elderly abuse. Philanthropist Brooke Astor lived to the age of 105, but her friends and family painted a dismal picture of her life with Alzheimer's, subsisting on pureed peas and oatmeal, due to a son who didn't pay for adequate care. He has since been indicted on charges of grand larceny for pilfering her assets.
Estimates place the annual number of elder abuse cases at as many as 5 million, with 84 percent going unreported
Though we typically conjure "abuse" images involving poorly managed nursing homes, the problem is far more encompassing, including physical and psychological abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
In fact, most elder abuse occurs at home at the hands of family, with the most frequent perpetrators being adult relatives with mental health problems.
Despite the seriousness of the problem, the government appears to care only a little. Not a single federal employee works on elder abuse issues full-time. And though comprehensive legislation to combat child abuse and violence against women was enacted in 1974 and 1994, the Elder Justice Act, modeled on those laws, has languished since 2002.

Experts, advocates testify on elder abuse issues
Justina Wang Staff writer

(January 19, 2008) — Local social workers, lawyers, county employees and a concerned daughter pushed state Assembly members Friday for tougher laws and better resources to protect seniors from abuse.
During hours of testimony at City Hall, the advocates and experts told stories of sons and church members stealing thousands of dollars from elderly men, women arriving in hospital emergency rooms afraid of their family members and caretakers blatantly neglecting those under their watch. The state defines "elderly" in such cases as older than 65.
"I feel that New York state should set up a mandatory safeguard for the elderly population," said Rochester resident Stella Rainge, who said her mother was mistreated by a caregiver.
Only about a quarter of all instances of elder abuse are reported, and only 5 percent of victims report the wrongdoings themselves, said Art Mason, director of Lifespan's elder abuse prevention program. Lifespan received a $194,000 state grant to run the nation's first statewide study of elder abuse.
Sharon Cerasoli, a critical care social worker at Rochester General Hospital, said she reported four cases of suspected elder abuse over the past week.
"This is certainly a topic we all need to be further enlightened on," said Assemblyman Bill Reilich, R-Greece.


Grant to help Lifespan study elder abuse
(January 14, 2008) — Advocates for the elderly are hoping that a study of the prevalence of elder abuse in New York state will provide reliable information to support their call for more attention to the issue.
Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc., which provides services to the elderly, has been awarded a $194,000 state grant to pay for the study. The work is expected to take about two years to complete.
The project, a partnership of Lifespan, the New York City Department of Aging and Cornell University, will be the first statewide study of elder abuse in the nation, Lifespan officials said.
"It has not been an issue that, federally or much on the state level, has really caught the legislators' attention and had them devote resources and lots of attention to," said Art Mason, director of Lifespan's Elder Abuse Prevention Program.

No federal agency focuses solely on elder abuse, and very few private organizations are involved with intervention efforts. As a result, very limited information is available about the extent of the problem. Although 45 states have laws that mandate the reporting of suspected elder abuse, New York does not.
"Since we have no mandatory reporting in New York state, we do not have a clue in this state how little or how great the problem is," Mason said. Some experts estimate that only one in 14 cases is reported. In the public notice for a state Assembly committee hearing on the issue scheduled for Jan. 18 in Rochester, about 30,000 senior citizens are said to be victims of some sort of abuse or exploitation. But the notice also acknowledges that the number is likely underestimated. From 2002 to 2006, the number of cases handled by the Adult Protective Services office in New York City almost doubled to about 10,000 while no new staff members were added.
Monroe County's Adult Protective Services unit has 13 workers who investigate allegations of elder abuse. In 2006 they handled 500 cases, said Tom Corbitt, manager of the office. But the county agency handles only cases in which the alleged victim has a serious mental or physical impairment.
Mason has a staff of four workers who investigate cases that don't meet the county's criteria. In 2006, his workers identified 348 elder abuse incidents. About 40 percent of those cases involved financial abuse; 33 percent involved psychological abuse. In 49 percent, the perpetrator was a son or daughter.
Although Mason and other senior citizen advocates would prefer a mandatory reporting system, they recognize that it's not likely. Still, they hope the study results will support a request for funding to provide educational and intervention programs. They also will advocate for funds to support assistant district attorneys who will focus on elder abuse cases.
The study will include a telephone survey of about 4,000 elderly people, said Paul Caccamise, Lifespan's vice president for program."We're hoping that this prevalence study will lay the groundwork for statutory changes," Caccamise said. "We're also hoping this will be a model for other states to look at."
Elder Fraud: It’s a Family Affair

Case of Prominent New York Philanthropist Proves Even Wealthy Are Subjected to Abuse:
Does New York lag behind regarding laws that protect its elderly citizens? “Yes,” says a prominent attorney and elder activist, Mitchell Karasov, a member of the Elder Justice Coalition.
“A lot of it is family members, a parent names a child to be in charge of their power of attorney or as their trustee, a lot of financial abuse takes place there.”
One prominent example involves the son and legal guardian of New York philanthropist Brooke Astor. In 2006 Astor’s grandson accused his father, Anthony Marshall, of neglecting his grandmother’s needs, allowing her to live in squalor, while allegedly enriching himself at the expense of Astor’s estate. Marshal eventually stepped down as Astor’s guardian and last month (November, 2007) he was indicted in on charges connected to his handling of the $200 million estate.
On the Federal level, the Elder Justice Act is among new legislation proposed to address the growing problem but has yet to be adopted, says Karasov.
California and New Jersey are among the few states to have actually implemented reforms.
A scandal in New Jersey drew attention to the issue there, and a four-part series published by the Los Angeles Times in November 2005 highlighted neglect and abuse by professional conservators and lax oversight by the courts in California, leading to new laws that partly went into effect this year (2007).
AB 1363 states: “The fastest growing segment of California’s population … is people who are 85 years of age or older. As many as 10 percent of the population over 65 years of age and almost 50 percent of the population over 85 years of age will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.”
“I went up to Sacramento five years ago to say we’ve got problems,” says Karasov. “The courts and the legislators were saying ‘there’s no problem’; the LA Times said yes, there is a problem.”
“Public outrage,” he adds, forced the legislature to act.
“As the population of California continues to grow and age, an increasing number of persons in the state are unable to provide properly for their personal needs, to manage their financial resources, or to resist fraud or undue influence,” the Assembly Bill states. “…it is estimated that about 500 professional conservators oversee $1.5 billion in assets…”
Due in part to a lack of resources and conflicting priorities, the bill states, “courts often do not provide sufficient oversight in conservatorship cases to ensure that the best interests of conservatees are protected.”
In New York there are no laws to ensure that adult children even have the right to see their ailing parents, let alone stop someone from gaining legal control over them and everything they own.
“According to a recent analysis,” says Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, a prominent U.S. physician, “one in seven Americans age 71 or older has some type of dementia, and in 70 percent of them, it’s due to Alzheimer’s. That’s about 5 million men and women. As our lifespan increases, the incidence will certainly rise.”
This means that more elderly Americans are at risk of being defrauded out of their estates.