Combating Phone Scam Fraud Against Older Americans: The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to investigate a Jamaican Lottery scam that targeted older adults over the phone nationwide. Aging Committee Chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL) said, “We’ve got to find a way to stop these swindlers from robbing and threatening our most valuable seniors.” The hearing’s panel included the daughters of two victims, the President of AARP, and officials from the Maine Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, The Department of Homeland Security, and The Western Union Company.
- The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging has since called for the Department of Justice to do more to extradite and charge these scam-artists.
Elder Abuse Highlighted in National Consumer Protection Week: Under the leadership of Skip Humphrey, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put elder financial abuse in the spotlight during the CFPB’s National Consumer Week, promoting their digital resources for older Americans. Humphrey’s CFPB blog on elder financial abuse included an overview of his testimony from the inaugural meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council and the Government Accountability Office Report on Combating Elder Abuse.
- The CFPB is asking citizens to share their experience with elder financial abuse and confusing information as well as elder abuse prevention tips here.
Lessons from the Aging in America Conference: The American Society on Aging held their annual conference this month in Chicago, IL, which featured nearly 20 sessions on elder abuse and elder justice. Speakers included Under Secretary for Aging, Kathy Greenlee, the AARP Policy Institute’s Debra Whitman, Bob Blancato, Director of the Elder Justice Coalition, Skip Humphrey of the CFPB, and others. Mayor Rahm Emanuel received the Leadership and Public Policy Award for his service in Congress, where he sponsored the Elder Justice Act.
- You may read a complete list of elder justice sessions here.
Elder Justice Victory in California: After being found guilty of malice, oppression and fraud in the death of Joan Boice, Emeritus Corp. was hit with $23 million in punitive charges. Boice, an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease, developed bedsores while staying in a California Emeritus assisted living home and passed away three months after her departure from the facility. The bed sores were listed as a leading cause of death. Late last year, Emeritus offered the Boice family a $3.5 million settlement, which was turned down by Eric Boice and his siblings, because “then nobody would have ever known.”
- Late last year, Bloomberg News reported that for-profit nursing homes were more prone to overbilling and profit driven cost-cutting measures, leaving many older adults vulnerable to neglect and abuse.
LOCAL NEWS (NEW YORK CITY & NEW YORK STATE)
Ruling in Woodstock Financial Exploitation Case: Timothy and Rosemary Zink pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offences after being accused of exploiting Timothy’s father, Walter Zink. The couple was initially been charged of Class 1 felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in jail, but will only serve six months and pay $70,000 in restitution to the Zink estate as part of a deal.
Elder Abuse Reported in Bronx Nursing Home: A nurse, doctor, and ambulance driver from the Goldcrest Care Center in Pelham Gardens in association with the death of Theresa Massagli, who was 87 at the time. The Massagli family is suing the Goldcrest Center after Mrs. Massagli died from complications due to blunt force trauma and a broken hip. Theresa Massagli was not buckled into her wheelchair while in a moving vehicle and sustained serious injuries after falling out and landing on her hip.
ELDER JUSTICE REPORTS FROM THE MEDIA
Financial Advisor Input Sought On Fraud Against Elderly from Financial Advisor Magazine: This piece looks at the need for consistent national standards for financial advisors taking action in cases where elder abuse is suspected.
Violence Against Older Women and the Elder Justice Act from The Huffington Post: In this striking column segment, Robert Blancato, the National Coordinator for the Elder Justice Coalition, explains why Congress needs to increase funding for the Elder Justice Act to assist the needs of victims that are not covered by the VAWA.
Something Beyond Survival: Part One from the Huffington Post: In this blog post, Pamela Glasner describes what it feels like to be victimized and how the “vicious pool of victimness” can leave you vulnerable to further abuse.
NYCEAC & PARTNERS IN THE NEWS
Cornell Researchers Sound Alarm Over Alzheimer’s Funding Cuts from Palm Beach Daily News: Speaking before the Palm Beach Symposium on Healthy Living: Brain, Aging, and Ophthalmology, NYCEAC Medical Director, Dr Mark Lachs described the recent devastating cuts to Alzheimer’s research funding, and the need to increase funding for further research to keep up with the growing population of Older Americans.
Nursing Homes Begin to Offer Shelter to Elder Abuse Victims from Us News and World Report: This Health Section feature details how long-term care facilities are beginning to respond to and report elder abuse. Using the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, an NYCEAC partner, as model for elder abuse, six nursing homes so far have adopted the Hebrew Home’s approach and are in talks to establish more facilities in the future.
- Dan Reingold, president and CEO of the Hebrew Home, said: “People think: ‘Who would ever hit their elderly mother? Who would ever push their grandmother down the stairs? Who would ever steal their grandparents’ social security checks week after week?’ The answer is: about 2 million people.”
A Close-Up View of Elder Abuse: A New Way to Deal with Elder Abuse from Third Age: Elder abuse experts Joy Solomon and Malya Levin describe the innovative, comprehensive elder abuse program at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, mapping out the challenges of responding to elder abuse and how their center’s model meets victims needs.
More Efforts Needed to Protect Elderly From Financial Abuse from The Buffalo News: This Op-ed describes the partnership between Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc. and the Weill Cornell Medical School to improve elder abuse prevention, as well as the excellent work of the New York State Coalition on Elder Abuse.
By Alexandra Pearson,