Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

The Telegraph, a British newspaper, recently ran an article by author, Max Pemberton, in which Pemberton stated that cameras (also known as “Granny cams”) are needed in nursing homes and care facilities to end elder abuse. We wrote in 2008 that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo increased the number of hidden cameras in nursing homes after cases of abuse came to light.

We have seen time and time again that some people who care for some of the most vulnerable among us are guilty of elder abuse in the form of physical abuse, neglect and mental torture. Often the abuse of the elderly and vulnerable goes undetected because the victims often cannot advocate for themselves.

One infamous case of elder abuse in this country was when six nursing home assistants at an Albert Lea nursing home were criminally charged with poking, groping and taunting the elderly patients they were supposed to care for. Two young women, 18 and 19 years of age, as well as four juveniles were charged in the case.

In 2012, Pennsylvania woman suspected that her mother was being abused in a nursing home and, after installing a hidden camera, found that her mother was in fact being abused.

In the U.K., just few days ago, two women were secretly filmed in Greater Manchester with “slapping, jabbing and taunting” a man with brain-damage whom they were supposed to be caring for. The pair were also seen hurling verbal abuse and demeaning the man.

The man in this case was not elderly. His parents were concerned about his welfare so they secretly installed a camera and caught the abuse on video tape which brought the abuse to light.

The Telegraph article states that often inspections of care facilities are only a snapshot of what is truly happening at a nursing home. Often, family members are fooled that their loved ones are being well cared for but only with video cameras do they find out the truth. Says Pemberton:

It’s a sorry state of affairs when we have to put CCTV cameras in the rooms of all vulnerable people being cared for, but I can’t think of another way of clamping down on abuse and neglect once and for all.

One of the biggest deterrents to nursing home abuse is regular visits since abusers often do not abuse a resident who is visited regularly.

If you notice that your loved one has signs of physical abuse or neglect or emotional abuse, you can report your fears to the nursing home administrator or adult protective services.

If your loved one has been seriously injured, you may seek the counsel of Bellevue nursing home attorney, Herbert G. Farber. Mr. Faber has been representing nursing home abuse victims and their families for more than 40 years. Contact him for a free and confidential case consultation.
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We don’t know the circumstances yet, but KOMO news reports that an 88-year-old woman has died of exposure/hypothermia outside of a Longview retirement home.

Norma Jeannette Sheldon’s body was discovered at 1:18am outside the facility where she lived. The temperature was 28 degrees at the time.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95.0 degrees. The elderly are more vulnerable to hypothermia because their bodies are not able to regulate the temperature well enough. The elderly with dementia are at risk for wandering outside, getting confused or list lost resulting in being stranded outside.

The Washington Deport of Health will investigate the circumstances of the woman’s death. An investigation may determine that the nursing home was not doing its job in caring for its patients. How tragic for this woman and her family to have her freeze to death.

Elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease have a tendency to wander. Nursing homes have an obligation to protect their residents from injuries. A story like this one in Longview is not unheard of. Many times, in cases such as this one, they are a result of nursing home neglect.

An investigation should determine whether there were cameras to monitor patients and if there was adequate supervision. Another fact that must be determined is whether a door was left unlocked. In some cases an employee taking a smoke break may result in an unlocked door.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and their families.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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John “Herb” Friedlund, 79, who served as a caregiver for a 105-year-old Frances Swan of Kettle Falls, faces up to 10 year prison sentence for stealing almost $1 million from the woman’s retirement fund.

Friedlund was found guilty of first-degree theft with aggravating circumstances according to the Spokesman Review.

Friedlund’s theft was discovered after police, who were investigating animal neglect on the property where Swan lived, found her in bed in a squalid room begging for food.

Apparently Friedlund went on a spending spree with Swan’s money buying more than 300 guns, tractors and snowmobiles and giving money to young men he met on gay websites.

Friedlund’s defense was that Swan herself used the internet and sent money to young men that she had met in chat rooms. Friedlund also sold a 134-acre ranch owned by Swan for about 25% of it’s market value.

Financial Elder Abuse

Financial abuse is a form of elder abuse that happens far too frequently. Financial abuse includes theft, embezzlement or taking any property from an elderly person. The theft can be simple such as stealing money from an elderly person’s wallet or removing property from the home but it can also be complex involving real estate transactions, selling of stocking and manipulating an elderly person’s finances for personal gain.

Financial elder abuse often devastates the elderly who worked a lifetime to save for their retirement. This kind of abuse can leave a senior without funds for self-care.

Warning Signs

Often, the elderly are isolated and a manipulative individual can increase the isolation to gain more control over the victim. Some signs of financial abuse can include:

  • Unusual bank withdrawals such as cash from ATMs when the elderly person can not get to the bank.
  • Forged signatures
  • Signatures on documents when the elderly person does not have the cognitive capacity to understand what they are signing
  • Lack of grooming items and clean clothing
  • Unpaid bills
  • Malnutrition
  • Changes in spending patterns including buying high price and luxury items
  • A stranger that forges a close relationship with the elderly.

The vulnerable elderly are also susceptible to home improvement, sweepstakes and telemarketing scams.
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A caregiver at the Cascades of Bremerton Retire Community is being investigated for elder abuse after a fellow employee reported her to police after allegedly witnessing the employee abusing elderly dementia patients and treating them “roughly.”

The Central Kitsap Reporter reports that the Bremerton City Police started the investigation after a female worker reported witnessing her co-worker covering the mouths and noses of some elderly patients to prevent them from speaking. She also said she witnessed the worker stepping on patients’ feet and poking them in the forehead or neck.

The worker is accused of abusing dementia patients between 91 and 94. She is now on paid leave while the allegations are investigated.

The executive director of the Willows Retirement Living Community said that so far the investigations are inconclusive.

Mandatory Reporter Law

The abuse claims have been referred to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office as required by Washington State’s Mandatory Reporter Law for the Elderly and Disabled. The law requires law enforcement officers; social workers; employees of social service, welfare, mental health, adult day care, home health, home care or hospice agency; county coroner or medical examiner; people working in the healthcare field including physicians, psychologists, nurses, etc. to act as Mandatory Reporters make a report to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) if they believe that abuse, abandonment, financial exploitation or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred. In addition, they are required to also report to local law enforcement agencies if they suspect a sexual or violent assault.

One is not required to have absolute proof to report suspected abuse and reports can be made anonymously.
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A convicted sex offender who was released from a state penitentiary and moved to a nursing home has been returned to an Iowa Correctional Facility and stands trial for allegedly for sexually assaulting an elderly woman in the nursing home.

William Cubbage, a repeat sex offender with charges spanning nearly 60 years, was allowed to enter the Pomeroy Care Center, an elderly care facility, when he was released from the penitentiary after serving nine years there. A state psychologist had said that the state believed that Cubbage had molested a “large number of female children” that he had never been charged with victimizing and recommended against him being released. However, state officials deemed Cubbage as unlikely to sexually re-offend due to his age, which is 83.

Cubbage was re-arrested after an 8-year-old girl visiting someone at the nursing home reported that she had seem him molesting an elderly woman who was reportedly telling him, “no, no no!” The woman had physical injuries to substantiate the abuse charge.

This apparently was not the only incident in which he accosted other residents in the nursing home. He also reportedly chased children in the facility when they were there with a school group visiting residents.

It is very troubling that a convicted sex offender be allowed to enter a nursing home to prey on vulnerable residents and have access to children who might be visiting, especially against the advice of two state psychological examiners. It seems like many systems here have failed to both protect nursing home residents but to protect children as well.

A report in The Register says that there were 27 sex offenders living in care facilities in Iowa alone. one wonders if the State is dumping sex offenders on nursing homes who ill-equipped to monitor them.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent residents of nursing homes who have been subjected to abuse or neglect.

Source: DeMoines Register “Register exclusive: Sex offender back in locked unit” , 11/19/11
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Marie-Therese Connolly, the director of Life Long Justice,a non-profit which works to protect the elderly, describes the sometimes hidden signs of elder abuse. She says bruises in unlikely places such as the bottom of the feet, genitalia, head, neck and inner thigh can often be a sign of elder abuse.

Other signs of elder abuse can include unexplained urinary tract infections, falls and bed sores.

Life long Justice provides some chilling numbers about elder abuse. According to their web-site:

  • up to 11% of people ages 60 and over are victims or elder abuse, neglect or exploitation
  • Nearly 50% of dementia patients that live at home are abused or neglected
  • Elder abuse is grossly under-reported, LLJ say that for every reported case, 23.5 cases are not reported.
  • 50-90% of nursing homes do not have adequate staffing which can lead to neglect.

Connolly, who recently was named a MacArthur fellow, is working to educate the medical professionals and the public the signs of elder abuse. She advances the use of forensics and research so that abuse can be detected and responded to. She says:

 “Advancing forensic knowledge is important so social and protective services workers, physicians, emergency room personnel and prosecutors know what to look for and what kinds of questions to ask about injuries.”

For more information, see the Life Long Justice web-site.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent the victims of elder abuse and their families.

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1,800 senior citizens living in nursing homes die from fall-related injures every year
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Voters in every county in Washington state voted for Initiative 1163 which would more than double the training requirement for long-term healthcare workers from 34 to 75 hours.

The Initiative also requires criminal background checks of workers and also require that they be certified.

The Farber Law Group was in support of this initiative. It is important that people working with some of our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled, have a high degree of professionalism and training. A Department of Health and Human Services study recently sampled 260 nursing homes and found that, of the 260 nursing homes sampled, that almost all had one more criminal convictions.

Criminal background check of prospective employee will help prevent nursing homes from hiring those that have been previously found guilty of abusing, neglecting or mistreating the residents under their care.

Nursing home patients often are victims of both abuse and exploitation. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem and it can include sexual abuse, bedsores, and neglect.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been victims of nursing home abuse and their families.

Related Posts:

Report: 92% of nursing homes hire employees with criminal convictions

Former nursing home employee convicted of elder abuse never had background check

Resident wins $750,000 damages after sexual assault by assisted living home staffer
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The Issaquah Reporter says that an Issaquah insurance agent is accused of first-degree theft in bilking elderly victims between the ages of 74 to 90 of money from their Bankers Life annuities. The insurance agent, who will not be named until she is charged, is accused of stealing more than $1 million to fund a lavish life style including clothes, jewelry, a trip and payments to online psychics.

The alleged thefts include:

  • $130K taken from a Bellevue man, 80
  • $25K from a Renton woman, 90
  • $60K from a Seattle man
  • $484,500K form a Renton woman, 74.

The agent’s scheme included having the victims write checks that they thought were investing in Bankers Life but instead she had the victims write the initial and surnames of her two daughters, deposited the checks and then transferred the money into her own account.

The Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said:

“Vulnerable people trusted this agent with much of their life’s saving. And she just pocked the money.”

The Insurance Commissioner says that one tipoff that a broker or agent has deceived a consumer for personal gain is if the client does not receive an insurance ID card or a copy of the policy.

Financial abuse is one form of elder abuse. At The Farber Law Group, we represent victims of elder abuse including nursing home neglect.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent nursing home abuse victims and their families.

Police allege insurance agent stole $1 million from elderly By CELESTE GRACEY Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer

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