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Protecting Vulnerable Elders

On a residential street not far from my home there is a traffic sign: "Deaf Child." On a nearby corner where a retirement community is located, there is another traffic warning, "Elderly Crossing." (I would prefer it said "Elder Crossing," but that is a different issue from today.)

Society routinely makes allowances to protect children. We place guards at school crossings so that kids, apt to distraction, get to class in one piece. Megan's Law and other legislation help keep predators at bay. And based on the fact that they as yet lack experience and judgment, minors are not allowed to enter into contracts.

But aside from arrangements elders make for themselves such as living wills and durable powers of attorney, there isn't much concern for protecting people at the other end of life. Old people are, after all, adults.

A recent story in The New York Times attempts to think out loud about what protections might be needed or should be allowed. Building on the (lengthy and unnecessary) details of how a man came to give away all his substantial nest egg to a grifter, the writer quotes Sharon Merriman-Nai of the National Center on Elder Abuse:

"Figuring out how to protect senior citizens from victimization, even when it's caused by their own mistakes, is one of the most important issues facing us right now. If we don't solve this, millions of older people will suddenly be reliant on their families and the government.

"But we also have to figure out how to balance our desire to protect vulnerable seniors with their rights to autonomy."

Elders are more frequently targeted in fraud attempts than young people because the con men aren't stupid - old people tend to be more trusting than younger people, they have a lifetime of savings and may be too embarrassed to report being duped. In addition, declining cognitive ability can impair decision-making. As much as we each like to think our mental faculties will remain intact, there is no guarantee we won't become dotty enough to cave into swindles or other forms of fraud.

But most of us will not need protection and therein lies the difficulty. There are bad people in the world and I believe we, as a society, have an obligation to protect those who are vulnerable. But as long as I've still got all my buttons, I'll be damned if I'll allow anyone to tell me how to spend my money or require a test or whatever else a bureaucracy might think up to judge my capabilities. As 78-year-old George Tomer, quoted in the Times piece, says,

"If you look at how seniors are portrayed, it's demeaning. We travel all over the world. We're as active now as we were in our 40s. But the only old people you see on television are buying adult diapers or scooters. It's frustrating when some salesman treats me as a child."

"Frustrating?" I'm not as kind as George. I want to whack the kid - it's always a kid - who treats me like I'm an idiot because I'm old.

Nevertheless, as the number of old people as a proportion of the population increases in coming years, there will be more who, due to declining mental ability or just stupidity (you don't get smarter just because you get older) will need help. We must develop means to do that without infantiziling elders and that won't be easy.

"We know that, statistically, seniors are at enormous risk for fraud," said A. Kimberly Dayton of the Center for Elder Justice at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. "It's foolish to ignore that. But there's also a huge dilemma in determining when someone is just being eccentric, versus someone who is a victim of undue influence."

[Hat tip to the dozen or so who emailed me this Times story.]

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lia recalls the joys of women-only day at the community swimming pool in Subculture I.]


Comments

If our friend Duck had not thought he was in a docked cruise ship, taken a walk, and been brought back by the police, he would have been sent home. He wasn't safe at home at all. But there he would have gone.

Yes, we have to have have help for elders......but there needs to be some compromises to the existing laws.

Other cultures are so different from ours. The other spectrum is the asian cultures where elders are so respected that the youth are inhibited and restricted. I think our youth would be glad to have a shift but the independence we have created via social security and other safety nets means more isolation and more isolation means more misunderstandings.

Elders and youth should be more entwined. Then cross-conversations could happen to strengthen both spectrums in the age-arc.

I realize that some elders are naive. I think this seems to apply more to women who are widowed and who had let their husbands handle the finances. They are more trusting and are more prone to becoming victims. There should be some method of educating the widows and widowers who are not wise to the ways of the world. Their families need to keep in close contact with them also.

There is no perfect solution. I am not sure there is a legal way to protect the innocent or those who are suffering from dementia aside from cracking down on the perpetrators. The criminals should have to pay restitution to those they victimized.

'Elderly Crossing'? I am still laughing because the ghost of a long-past English teacher yelled in my ear - NO! That's WRONG!

She was most emphatic that food cannot be healthy - but - it can be healthful. This woman was one person that I oh-so-wanted to forget but alas. Every commercial seems to bring that dear soul to mind, much to my amusement and dismay. The passage of nearly a half century has not silenced her. She, despite my failings, did her job well.

I have no doubt she would be very quick to point out that a crossing is an inanimate object therefore it could not be considered elderly....

Despite her best efforts, I sometimes try to cut my wood with a speckled ax...(another of her well-honed sayings...)but - there is NO WAY I call any food HEALTHY. One F from that woman was enough for me.

For all of you former teachers that read Ronni, Kudos! You have made your mark and will live on!

A neighbour of my mother's is the cause of some concern. He's a nice man, a bit eccentric as he goes on about the desert and the things he's seen. He's fascinating if you are interested in old New Mexico but it's a bit hit and miss. Lovely gentleman but a bit weird.

I found him charming and interesting but even when I first met him I noticed that he went on a bit. Was maybe not all there. Many people might not be interested.

A young woman lives with him, half his age. She's less friendly than he is but pleasant enough. He's left her everything he owns. This is not trivial: a house in what is now a high value area is included.

Now at a glance, there's something "wrong" here. Various neighbours make snide comments: she's taking him for a ride. She's getting everything and why?

The fact is, he's sorted himself out. He doesn't want to pay for homecare and he's organised himself in such a way that he's being looked after (and, it turns out, he has Alzheimers and is slowly losing his mind) without paying a penny at the moment. She's happy to chase after him now, in return for a future.

The deal he's made works. But there's plenty of people ready to knock it down (especially now that he's becoming more and more "dotty") and claim that he's being taken advantage of.

It's made me think.

Great post. These are things we need to consider. But we can't look to government for help. I find I am victimized by every government form or application I have to fill out. They play with my mind and always bring me to the brink of hopeless confusion. Nothing is ever written in plain straight-forward language. I more readily and clearly understand the language and intent of solicitors (scam or otherwise) than Government Document Diction.

Would you expect anything less from the government, who has been less then truthful for as long as I can remember? Aren't we on a need to know basis? Oh, and I forgot what we do know, is what they want us to know... (pardon the English, however, I think you know what I mean}.. I can't get started on our government it makes me sad.

Although, I'm laughing out loud, regarding the sign. I love it. I needed humor tonight and I found it here..thanks.

Still mulling over this one. Not the fact of being targeted, nor the reality or declining cognitive abilities for some elders, but whether or not we really are more trusting or vulnerable than other age groups as a group. I know so many people who are younger than my 71 years who buy into the scams of spending their money on the lastest household or electroic gadgets, hot stocks, cheap roofs, etc. that I suspect there are the vulverable, unknowing, and foolish in every group. There may be a special concern for elders because we are seen as less...or more childlike?

I was brought up by a widowed mother who had Maine ancestors. I knew that she cared about me but there was no cuddling or kissing done in our household. We were taught to be independent and careful of strangers and look after ourselves or we might be taken advantage of.

Today I hold true to form when I get marketing calls. I simply say, "I never deal with anyone over the phone" and then hang up. I don't even take advantage of the free vacations in Las Vegas that are offered on the phone periodically.

It took me a while to be able to realize that I was in the city and that it was not like the small town where we said hello to everyone passing by. That is a sad situation. However, I have alligned myself with many social and other groups where I do have close interaction. It is imperative for anyone, especially when one gets older.

This elderblog is another way to network. We elders appreciate this opportunity to share ideas.

I gain sustenance from my church people and all the people I mingle with in my YMCA Arthritis Class and other groups that I attend. We network and look after each other.

My mother was victimized by a couple con artists who approached her in a store parking lot. She said these people were so smooth and slick and persistent that she felt compelled to do as they asked. She withdrew an IRA to help them out, with the bank people not bothering to ask questions about this strange transaction.

I think all bank reps ought to be trained on how to politely ask (snoop) into unusual or large transactions done by elders and that scammers who take from retired people ought to be severely penalized and pay restitution somehow to their victims who have no chance to save or earn back their losses.

A week or so ago, here in Vancouver, two 60-somethings were struck dead by buses. I think both accidents were in an hour and a few blocks away from each other.

There's been a call for the police to do *something* about this, but the thing is, in both cases the victims were jaywalking or walking against the light. This was at night, but in quiet urban areas, and at intersections where buses went by frequently.

The media called it an elder issue, but the victims weren't *that* old, and I figure it's more of a person-jaywalks-for-years-and-eventually-gets-unlucky as opposed to something having to do with age. I saw a younger adult fall under a bus and die while trying to chase it, and others nearly struck when not looking where they were going when crossing streets. In none of these times were the bus drivers driving incorrectly or not being attentive. I think in general a lot of people don't look out for their own safety.

I guess my point is, when is it an elder issue and when is it a people issue and coincidentally involving elders? Isn't it being ageist to make the former assumption?

I'm with you on this Gillian, and I am an elder with a keen sense of ageism. But the "vulnerable" label of elders as opposed to the vulnerability of all people at particular moments feels like labeling elders as weak and to be protected. There has been a lot of attention to elder women as vulnerable to sexual assault lately, yet the group most often sexually violated are young women.

"We make evil look good." And then use it as a corruptor.
Look how these wicked, immoral Manifest Destiny gangsters, the kind of individuals who planned WorldWarII, come across merely as businessmen. As they're doing with the strategically preditory personality baseball player, as they've done with Preditory Italian Company, who merely exists as a Manifest Destiny scapegoat for the blue chippers in the "eye of The Beast".
And they dirty up good, as we see with me, as we saw with Bonds.

And courtesy of M&A you do business with this evil every time you patronize corporate.
The Amish in Pennsylvania is the clue:::Set a goal of simplicity, strive for purity.

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Their "cheap tricks" are preditory:::poker, cars, boss, movies. Every item of the $50 billion is all evil, designed to prey on the disfavored, a clue regarding modern popular culture and society. Perhaps not so "cheap" after all.
"You're going to throw this away. We're not going to be blamed for this." Yea, right. Like their assumption of culpability has got value. Fuck you god.
The Final Prophet is merely a formality, like they gods are required. It's kind of like "Black off the books.wav":::An event designed to merely meet some policy requirement while ensuring the disfavored have no real hope:::Life in the ghettos of California.
The god's efforts to minimize my impact is consistant with their methodology, ascention becoming increasingly harder as time progresses, suggesting we really are approaching The End.


"We're going to enforce positioning." You better make them get their hands dirty AND BRING BACK THE 20TH CENTURY FOR THIS. Killing fucking niggers in celebrity clone hosts AIN'T no fucking fun.
I want guinea meat.
I merely want the same preditors who willingly hurt the people I try to help. I realize there was lots of magic employed, enabling things like monster arena tours, other all-consuming offerings to happen. But too many in these clone hosts were active preditors.
The Situation is VERY 20th century. Maintain consistancy, please.
But I won't hold my breath.

Brokeback Mountain says you understand:::Fuck off god.
Things I've ruined::::Midnight Madness. Note that to the gods both are merely cheap tricks.
Denying money is one of the goals of positioning in the Italians::::The gods used this evil to ensure the Final Prophet was not financed.
The gods took special but played for commoner. Now this Situation passes without affect because special is a one-way street. The gods instructed AI to deny my ability to be articulate. As a result people weren't receptive::::The "back-hand" was very real. The "help" was not.
I won't invest when absolute power must CHEAT to win. This IS the event. Learn.
I am disgusted the gods position absolution for themselves because it is their technology conducting this evil upon the disfavored. When the disfavored understand this tactic hatred will eliminate a large percentage of them.
Sinisterly, wickedly brilliant.
What I woudln't do for a fair fight:::The emperor has no clothes.
I can't express my disgust enough. 2007 was MY YEAR, yet you ruined it whimsically because you refused to pay consideration on this obligation you assumed, claiming since I didn't pray I wasn't allowed my ability. Of course my abilities would have countered your interests. How convienient. AND another tactic.
I think we needed ground rules in this thing. Again, convienient AND a tactic.
Fuck you god. You are a sick joke.
I'm not investing. I wouldn't knowingly help the elite who you used to prey on those I try to help. I want this preditory evil dead.
Guess I can't count on HTH. I was hoping it meant I was being assigned to this task. I want to be an enforcer of decency.
Lake Michigan is defnintely not a self-reference.
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Said Italy has heavy volcanic activity for kinda the same reason they put the Mormons in hell.
Motherfuckers. Serves them right.
Of the male Italians in the United States 1906 worked on at least half of them.
I say the number is closer to 80%.
Of those AT LEAST HALF were corrupted voluntarily, meaning the gods did not push them into being evil. This half should already be dead. This is an immoral people, quick to prey on others, as their history suggests.


Understand the god's methodology, for it will help you decipher future events. KKK killings are a good example::::
The gods either told or pushed the black males into acting up. Rednecks, corrupted by 1906, thought their participation would help them. Many believed it gained them protection from their illegal bootlegging activities.
They role played 1906 to Italians, told them that their fellow Italians were using this platform of 1906 to achieve global economic domination, and told them that if they wanted a piece, if they wanted to belong and be a part of this they'd do what they're told.
They illustrated the Moorish invasion, and the gods pit the Italians against the morbidly disfavored blacks. 90%-95% of the KKK incidents were Italians who did the actual killings.
This is a good example of how the gods get the disfavored into place to fuck everybody involved.

And now the gods are going to go easy on these Italians because they're doing the right things finally? Their victims demand their blood.
Often they've shared how the Viking's victims will never forgive. I'd like to remind you Viking's affect was regional. These 20th century Italians ruined life globally.
The Italians are the ones who should be thrown away, not the blacks.


"They deliberately planned those things (90s "parting shots":::The Sitution, end-of-revelry cycle media preditation, AIDS in Africa). When they found out the truth it was too late." HTH supports this. They shared they instructed his grandfather preyed on women emotionally to set the legacy necessary for the late 90s event. And of course 95% of the KKK deaths were revenge killings for the Moorish invasion of Italy. I believe 1906 is responsible for the economic repression of not only Africa but also the American ghettos.
"(Blah.)" Expect we won't see such activities on the income statements. Italians may be stupid but they're not positioned to be THAT stupid.


New Orleans/Louisiana is French, while California is positioned as Italian.
Katrina was used to help the disfavored escape that wicked enviornment. Blacks in California won't be so lucky.
Know who your friends are.

Flanders is the shining example of a role model, but his parents were wicked. They were beatniks, the original hippies, purveyors of social poison, etc. Incidentally, beatniks emerged from the Italian North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco as a clue.
Because Flanders was raised in that evil enviornment his mind was poisoned. Only through understanding was he able to alter his behavior and become decent. Because of it he provided Rod and Todd a REAL chance, one that he will receive in the next life as well, but he can't go up because of his youth.
My advice is recognize Flanders is offered as a role model and emulate this decency. Do the very best you can with your children and perhaps the gods will see fit to bless you with a real chance much like you gave your children.


Manifest Destiny's WWII project produced Port Chicago which was parlayed into civil rights.wav
And these Italians who helped plan and impliment WWII thought they were in charge because of 1906. It shows the moral vacancy of the Italians involved.
Poetic justice that the gods funneled these monsters through the Nazi death camps.
I demand the lives of those involved, the MD Italians who initiated and implimentted this plan to destroy my life in the years before they were shipped off to the Nazi death camps for this poetic justice.
And they'll do ANYTHING they're told. That's why the 20th century was so disturbing.

Prior to civil rights blacks had their own press. In the absence of civil rights these entities would have grown into legitimate media outlets serving the black community.
Maintaining segregation would have produced economic entities which arose from within the black community to fill the demand for goods and services.
The presence of these "black industrialists" would have FORCED the gods to factor them into positioning, producing voices in support of the black community and preventing the gods from inflicting ALL THE SICKNESS WE HAVE WITNESSED IN THE last few decades::Crack babies, drive-by shootings, AIDS in Africa, drought/famine!!!
I have mentioned people can expect an AIDS crisis among heterosexual blacks here in the United States. Considering that the fastest growing industry in the ghetto is the oldest profession on Earth expect them to be the targets of this punishment.

Italians/Romans are imperialists. They finaince their lifestyles off other people's misery.
Black people's misery. Blacks are the targets of this imperialism, and as a result it is IMPERITIVE they learn empathy, for this has been the case back to the age of Pharroh.
Imperialist pigs are an important dynamic to implimenting the god's strategies on this planet. As a result most Italians will be compensated with some time. Blacks will not be so lucky because they fail to recognize the difference between preditor and prey.


The gods ARE responsible for the evil of their technology. Their attempts to position away this culpability is a tactic, one they will use to further shrink the number of disfavoreds who suceed.

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