Articles Tagged with Houston Elder Abuse

Self-management_senior_swimmingThere is an expression among elder law attorneys called being "elderproofed," according to the Huffington Post in "Writing an Eldercare Plan." This takes planning to the next level, and includes things like how the person wises to be cared for, medical treatment preferences, whether they want to be cared for at home or in a facility, and more. These cover the day-to-day decisions to ensure that desires are followed once a person is unable to make those decisions known.

It's very important for seniors and their loved ones to discuss a care plan for the future before disease or dementia come into play, or a crisis causes eldercare services to become urgently needed. Get the plan drafted while the senior is still fully cognizant and rational. They can be signed when other end-of-life documents are put in place.

In truth, everyone wins with early discussions. When the patient is involved in the decisions for his or her potential care, the family has a better understanding of their preferences and are prepared for tough questions.

Decision definitionThe New York State Senate has passed a bill that will make it possible for testimony given by elderly witness to be preserved and used in criminal cases against their abusers, even if the elderly person has passed away or become incapacitated.

WHEC reported in its news article, "Senate passes bill to better protect senior citizens from abuse," that the legislation would allow elderly witnesses who are age 75 or older to be examined conditionally to preserve their testimony for future use.

"We have a responsibility to protect our senior citizens," Gallivan said. "Elder abuse, whether physical, psychological or financial, is on the rise as our senior population continues to grow. This legislation helps ensure those who abuse and exploit the elderly are held accountable and do not go unpunished."

MP900407501One of the biggest reasons not to act when you suspect elder abuse is taking place is simply not knowing what to do. We know who to call for domestic violence or when a child is being abused. But for an elderly neighbor? The same kind of help and the same anonymity is in place – something most of us just don't know.

The Avery (NC) Journal-Times' recent article, "Safe steps when suspecting elder abuse," discusses suggestions from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services to put your mind at ease. In that state, people are encouraged to contact the local Adult Protective Services (APS), where a trained social worker will visit the neighbor and assess the situation.
Last year the state saw more than 24,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation, which indicates that many individuals did do something to help their neighbors. But the national statistics say that only 1-in-5 incidents of elder abuse get reported. As a result, many incidents may have gone without any help.

North Carolina's laws require that anyone having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services must make a report to the local Department of Social Services (DSS) APS unit. DSSs are statutorily mandated to receive information reported and determine if the report satisfies the criteria for evaluation. North Carolina law protects adults with disabilities age 18 and older, but the majority of reports involve those who are 60 years of age and older.

Concerned elderThis is a story that any professional working with seniors finds particularly abhorrent. An investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice uncovered a scheme by a New Jersey woman, her sister and several others—including an attorney—to steal millions from elderly clients they were supposed to be helping.

The story was reported by New Jersey 101.5 in "NJ woman pleads guilty to scamming millions of dollars from the elderly."
A New Jersey State Police investigation led to the indictment of Sondra Steen along with her sister Jan Van Holt. The latter was the owner of a company that offered elderly clients in-home care and legal financial planning. Two other employees pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme and stealing $125,000 from an elderly couple. Van Holt and Steen were charged with conspiring with a lawyer to steal over $2.7 million from 12 elderly clients.

Van Holt would target potential elderly clients who were known to have substantial assets with no immediate family. They would be offered help through the company with non-medical services such as running errands, managing finances, getting to appointments, and housework. Steen would then serve as the client's primary caregiver.

HouseWritten by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), a new law, AB 139, is unlike most of the over-reaching and bombastic legislation that originates in the State Capital. As reported in The San Diego Times-Union, "State ushers in refreshingly modest law," this new law makes one aspect of estate planning easier for California homeowners.

The measure, which passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, creates "a new, non-probate method for conveying real property upon death through a revocable transfer upon death deed." It's a simple way for people to transfer their home (or one-to-four-unit investment properties) upon their death – without having to pay for a living trust or having it all sorted out in probate court.

California had provided simple "payable upon death" forms for many valuable items, such as automobiles and stock accounts, but not for real property. Creating a trust has many advantages, but legislators realized that without a trust, the estate would be handled in a potentially lengthy probate process.

Hands on jail cellEight specific recommendations are now being reviewed by Tennessee state legislators who are responding to the results of a task force that placed a spotlight on a disgraceful problem. A problem that is not limited to any one state.

The Elder Abuse Task Force submitted a final report on its findings to the General Assembly, according to the WJHL News article "Elder Abuse Task Force submits final report, recommendations to Tennessee General Assembly."

This task force was created as part of legislation from Senator Rusty Crowe and Representative Courtney Rogers after a 2013 Community Watchdog investigation into the state's abuse problem.

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