. PLEASE SHARE a message from

Boomers Against Elder Abuse

I’m lucky. I have a tight-knit family. I realize for many it’s not like that. Kids move far away and trust that their parents will always be the same. But as people hit their 80’s or sometimes earlier, changes happen fast. Adult kids haven’t thought about it. It’s easy to see how that could happen because most people don’t understand much about the aging process. I mean, as a society we don’t want to face it, and everything in advertising and media is about staying young. It’s truly important to bring reality to the forefront without shaming or demeaning our children’s failings unless real abuse has occurred. Sometimes negligence can be stopped by education.

If your kid’s don’t pay attention, what’s to prevent Adult Protective Services and others from removing an elder from their home by court order? Let’s say an elder has fallen and lands in the emergency room. Everybody knows that elders become less able to care for themselves very well at some point. Officials can see this as the equivalent of leaving a child alone at home if they want to. (The court can and does set aside a power of attorney you have in place.) Where’s the line? Think of it this way: What would happen if somebody found a kid at home alone and they had an accident? That kid would be taken away and put into a foster home. We need to understand that elders over 65 need more and more attention as they age, and anyone not living with an elder needs to know the risks. 65 is basically the age you become an elder who is looked at differently–as more vulnerable.

Tell your kids about this. Chances are, an outcome like this wouldn’t happen, but it could. Adult Protective Services, a doctor, nurse, social worker –or a professional who trolls emergency rooms (believe it or not there are social workers or others who do this with connections on the “inside”, much like ambulance chasers) can legally initiate a petition to have you put under the control of a professional court-appointed guardian. If the court agrees that this is an emergency, that person then controls all decisions and your assets. This emergency petition basically bypasses due process.

READ MORE>>>>>>>>

This outcome is within the realm of possibility if, say, you fall in a parking lot, or become confused while shopping or start weaving on the road–any sign that you are having trouble caring for yourself (Scammers can use private investigative computer resources to find out exactly how much money you’ve got). So trolls sometime seek out victims with assets to exploit if they happen to be scumbags. ( Think about it. Some lawyers, bankers, brokers and doctors are shysters. So why wouldn’t there be shyster professional guardian scams too? Trust me, they exist. ) They, or people who work with them, hang out where elders are found–ER’s, nursing homes, rehab facilities, senior centers or wealthy country clubs where elders go. etc.– or even senior health care seminars. (I went to one of these once, where they asked the wealthy elders in attendance at a country club “how many of you don’t have a will? How many of you don’t have your directives in place? How many of you have kids living far away? How many of you don’t have anyone caring for you? We can help” ) These can be for-profit guardianship company representatives trolling for “clients”. You’d never know that these are people who can petition courts to have your rights removed in order to take over your life and everything you own.

Not all people in this profession are evil! But the simple truth is this: the professionals who own these privately run businesses are neither monitored nor held accountable by the court for how they treat an elder and their money. As a result, criminal behavior has entered the mix. Lack of oversight has evolved for many reasons. Most states lack or don’t want to use funds to put in place auditing and monitoring systems. The other problem is that court-appointees are buffered by the fact that they’ve been appointed by a court of law (law enforcement often defers to the court if anyone complains) and judges are too overloaded to do a proper job of accounting for each case. Mind you–these aren’t jury or criminal courts. No real proof is needed to put someone into to this painful situation. If an attorney convinces a judge that you are in danger, that’s enough. The judge will err on the side of protection. Your kids won’t believe that this outcome is possible,so it will take some time for them to understand it.

You, as an elder, need to know that usually an appointed professional is a total stranger who can conveniently see your kids as the bad guys, and pretty soon your kids can’t see you if you’re an elder in that situation. Your kids will likely lose free access and visits will be monitored by a third party the guardian hires using your assets. Then you are stuck in a facility, your home is sold to pay the professional, facility, and attorneys. By then, your kids can do nothing to stop this complete control over your life–unless they can afford up to 250,000 to wage a legal war to free you.

The guardian who legally controls decisions (the court has removed your decision-making rights and freedom )legally can hire an attorney to fight back against your family, claiming that you should remain “protected”. After all, they were appointed in charge of you due to the kids’ “negligence”.) The money the guardian (or “conservator” in some states) uses to hire an attorney to fight off your kids comes out of the estate the guardian controls–YOURS! In other words you and your family are truly living a nightmare.

Make sure your kids know about this. It can and does happen in all 50 states. Temper it by saying that advocates in general don’t hear about the good courts behaving as they should. They are no doubt out there. We don’t hear about the guardians who do the right thing because we’re elder abuse advocates. However, on the other side of the coin, we sure do hear thousands of stories and see tons of cases in which things end badly and very much like what I’ve just described! Scams against elders are growing, and when strangers have access to a court system that has the power to exert leverage over you, it’s devastating.

People operating this kind of business can cause harm to many elders and families at once. In some instances, they control hundreds of lives. One guardian, for example, Judith Widner of Nebraska, recently was caught exploiting estates of the elderly and disabled in Nebraska. Over a 10 year period, she was given control of 400 wards across the state and she had 40 bank accounts through which to exploit their assets for her own personal gain. She got away with it because no one was in place to supervise or oversee what she was doing. Meanwhile her victims had lost the right to hire an attorney, leave a facility, or complain. Guess who will be called to address any complaints? The guardian in charge of your life.

Another problem is that it doesn’t take much training or credential to become a professional in this field–maybe 40 hours of training and an exam. A guardian doesn’t necessarily need to have a college degree. To learn more about prevention, go to www.stopguardianabuse.org. “Like” and stay updated on this page, Boomers Against Elder Abuse. I’m a director of The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. You’ll be glad to know that an investigative reporter, Gretchen Rachel Hammond, has broken through the secrecy in two Michigan county courts by documenting over 2000 victims identified through those court records. It’s far worse than you would think possible because these courts are shrouded in secrecy to protect those who deemed incompetent. Consequently all records can be sealed. Advocates are prying this opaque process open, but we need your help. Please share and like this page. For more on Michigan, click here: https://www.facebook.com/gretchen.rachel.hammond/posts/10219904504989100