His phone rang early in the morning, and George Weidner hurried
to answer it. He smiled when he heard his grandson say, Grandpa,
its Jessie. How are you? George shared with Jessie that he was
doing okay but worried about
his upcoming chemotherapy treatments for his advancing cancer.
Jessie expressed his concern.
Then Jessie in somewhat of a panic told Grandpa he needed his
help and he needed it fast. He was in Mexico with friends and he
was in jail. In a pleading voice, Jessie begged his Grandpa to not
tell his parents. He was due to appear before a judge in a matter
Jessie explained: Grandpa, you know how things are in Mexico.
They told me if I can get them $2,000 in the next 30 minutes they
will let me go. Grandpa, can you please help me? I am so afraid of
what might happen if I dont get out of here.
Grandpas response was immediate. Of course he would help his
grandson. He told Jessie not to worry.
In the middle of a Nebraska winter with a storm brewing outside,
George Weidner at 87 years old, set out in his golf cart to the
nearest Western Union office. He followed Jessies instructions and
wired him $2,000. A call quickly came in from a man with a strong
Spanish accent; the transfer had been successful. Jessie would be
As he slowly climbed back into his golf cart for the ride home,
only then did George Weidner start to question what he had just
done. When he got home he made a few phone calls Jessie wasnt in
Mexico. Jessie was safe at home.
Unfortunately, Georges money could not be recovered.
This Grandparent Scam is real and happening all across the
nation to unsuspecting seniors. This happened to the father of
Kathleen Weidner, our own Ombudsman Program Director. Kathleen had
this to say about her Dads experience: A financial predator took
advantage of a good mans love and compassion for a family member
and they are doing it all the time. If this can happen to my Dad a
wise and cautious man it could happen to anyone.
Preventing Financial Abuse
Last year, the Councils FAST (Financial Abuse Specialist Team)
program educated over 4,800 members of our community on the
important topic of financial elder abuse prevention. Help us
continue our work and share this information to help someone you
love avoid financial scams. For additional information regarding
financial elder abuse prevention, please visit our FAST Program at
The Grandparent Scam It Could Happen to Someone You Love
Basic Steps to Protect Yourself
Kathleen Weidner with her dad, George a victim of financial
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In this issue we focus on protecting our seniors.
Ask Our Expert: Recognizing Elder Abuse
Signs of Elder Abuse
Volunteers Stop a Predator
A Message from our CEO
Create Your Legacy
2013 Life Preservers and Contributors
Promoting the independence, health and dignity of adults through
compassion, education, and advocacy.
Promoting the independence, health and dignity of adults through
compassion, education, and advocacy.
Thank You To our Generous 2013 Life Preservers and
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Ask Our Expert Recognizing Elder Abuse by Julie SchoenIts
difficult to take care of an elder who has many different needs,
and its not easy to age when aging can bring with it infirmities
and dependence. This stressful time can create a perfect storm
where abuse is more likely to occur.
There are very rewarding and enriching aspects of caregiving.
But the responsibilities and demands of elder caregiving, which
escalate as the elders condition deteriorates, can also be
extremely stressful. The stress of elder care can lead to mental
and physical health problems that make caregivers feel burned out.
But just as it is never alright to hit a child in time of
frustration, it is never alright to physically, sexually,
emotionally or financially abuse an older person.
If you are a caregiver, there are certain risk factors to be
aware of when abuse can occur.
If you are depressed, lack support, begin to resent the older
person, and/or are self-medicating through alcohol or drugs, it is
time to seek help.
As an observer, friend or family member, you might not recognize
or take seriously the signs of elder abuse, such as changes in
behavior or tension between the senior and the caregiver. You may
think these are just symptoms of dementia or signs of the elderly
persons frailty or caregivers may explain them
to you that way. In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of
elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but
that doesnt mean you should ignore the signs. Preventing elder
abuse means listening to seniors and their caregivers and reporting
when you suspect elder abuse. The best way to help is to be
involved; call and visit an older person as often as you can and
protect them from isolation and susceptibility to elder abuse. As a
caregiver, be sure to take care of yourself and your needs.
What Can You Do? If you suspect abuse or neglect or are in need
of support, contact the appropriate agencies.
n Council on Aging Ombudsman (For seniors residing in long term
care facilities): 1-800-300-6222
n Office on Aging: 1-800-510-2020
n Adult Protective Services 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-451-5155
n Human Options: 1-877-854-3594
n Law Enforcement: Your local police department or OC Sheriff:
n Caregiver Resource Center: 1-800-543-8312
Julie Schoen, Attorney, is the Legal Counsel for the Council on
Aging Orange County, the State Director of the California Senior
Medicare Patrol and a well-known financial elder abuse prevention
Protect Your Loved Ones. Look for These Signs. Physical abuse n
Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars,
sprains, or dislocations n Signs of being restrained, such as
marks on wrists n Broken eyeglasses n Caregivers refusal to allow
you to see the senior alone
Neglect by caregivers or self-neglect n Unusual weight loss,
malnutrition, dehydration n Untreated physical problems, such as
bed sores n Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled
bedding and clothes n Poor hygiene, dirty clothing, infrequent
bathing n Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather n Unsafe
living conditions (no heat or running water; faulty
electrical wiring, other fire hazards)
Financial exploitation n Inappropriate withdrawals from the
seniors accounts n Sudden changes in the seniors financial
condition n Items or cash missing from the seniors household n
Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and
policies n Addition of names to the seniors signature card at the
bank n Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, despite the seniors
ability to pay
Our Volunteers Help Stop a PredatorHonor thy Mother and Father;
that is what we are taught. In reality, this does not happen in
some families. Financial elder abuse is on the rise and sadly the
perpetrator is a family member more often than a stranger.
Such was the case for one of our seniors, Delphene. At 89,
Delphene was enjoying life in a comfortable assisted living home in
San Clemente. She and her husband had planned carefully setting
aside an adequate retirement income through their frugal
However, all their careful planning did not include a way to
protect Delphene from her own son. Delphenes son Peter and his wife
first helped his widowed mother by selling her home. Peter then
added his name to his mothers bank accounts and quickly began
spending her hard-earned savings. Over a three-year period, it is
believed Peter and his wife spent over $750,000 of his mothers
A Cry for Help
Delphene knew something was wrong when her assisted living home
told her the rent was not being paid. She turned for help to Peter
who denied any wrongdoing. At this point, Delphenes assisted living
home contacted the Council on Aging. Our Ombudsman Program
advocates for residents in assisted living and nursing homes was
able to intervene.
Through the combined efforts of three dedicated volunteers,
Sharon Anderson, Judy Sobel, and Linda Bock, Delphene finally found
the protection she needed. At Delphenes request, Sharon launched an
investigation and with Judys follow-up the District Attorneys
office became involved. After three years of unwavering
perseverance, our Ombudsmen were grateful to see the end result
they hoped for. Peter and his by then ex-wife were charged with
grand theft, conspiracy to defraud another of property, and
conspiracy to commit forgery and theft from an elder.
Ombudsmen Stand Up for Client
COA Volunteer Judy Sobel accompanied Delphene to the initial
hearing. Judy stood quietly behind Delphene holding
her hand as she gave testimony. At a subsequent hearing,
Delphene was unable to speak for herself due to an illness. Linda
Bock read Delphenes victim impact statement. Through Lindas voice,
Delphenes words were heard by the Court.
Today, Delphenes son and his ex-wife are each serving 4 years in
a state prison for their crimes and have been ordered to pay
restitution. Ronda Roberts, Victim Advocate and Elder Abuse
Specialist for the Community Services Program, had this to say
about our volunteers:
In this case, Doug Brannan, now retired Deputy District
Attorney, really appreciated the help of the Ombudsmen. The case
was first reported by an Ombudsman; without Judy and Linda it would
have been very difficult to prosecute. The Ombudsmen were Delphenes
constants. She didnt know anyone else and she trusted them. The
Ombudsmen are always spot on there to help. They know their
facilities and their clients. Their relationships with their
seniors make all the difference in the world. They are awesome!
Answers and Peace of Mind
Delphene added: I think their help is great. Whenever I ask a
question, they answer. Because of them, I can sleep at night.
The Council on Aging needs more volunteers. Will you join us?
Please attend a one-hour Changing Lives Tour to learn more. Call
and reserve your spot at 714-479-0107 ext 239.
Council on Aging Orange CountyOur core programs and services
Advocacy & Protection n Medicare Counseling n Ombudsman n
FAST (Financial Abuse Specialist Team)Education & Outreach n
Answers Guide OC n Education n Smilemakers GuildSocialization &
Wellness n ReConnect n Friendly Visitor
Learn more at www.coaoc.org
We Understand. We Care. We Help.
COA client Delphene (center) with Volunteer Ombudsmen, Judy
Sobel (L) and Linda Bock (R). Judy and Linda intervened to help
stop a financial predator.
What Will Your Legacy Be?Have you considered how you can impact
and bring hope to future generations of seniors and their families?
By including the Council on Aging Orange County as a beneficiary in
your will, you are leaving a legacy that ensures our communitys
seniors receive protection and assistance at their most vulnerable
moments in time.
Founded 40 years ago, the Council on Aging Orange County is a
relentless and passionate advocate for seniors and dependent
adults. For seniors living in nursing homes and assisted living
homes, we serve as their advocate. For the vulnerable, we are the
voice of protection from financial abuse. As seniors and their
families face challenging aging issues, we are a trusted source of
essential information to help maintain safe, independent living.
And, for isolated seniors who are often without nearby friends and
family, we are a friend who ensures a link to vital resources.
It is easy to include the Council on Aging in your will. For
more information, please contact Tricia Homrighausen at
714-479-0107 ext. 268.
714.479.0107 714.479.0234 fax www.coaoc.org
Council on Aging Orange County 1971 E. 4th Street, Suite 200
Santa Ana, CA 92705-3917A non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation
Youre InvitedThursday, September 12th, 20135:00 PM - 10:00
Save The DaTe
Cocktails, Wine & Culinary CuisineJoin us at Designer Runway
as teams of designers compete to create unique fashions in 90
minutes using 7 yards of fabric. Watch models strut the runway for
our celebrity judges. Pre-show, enjoy a professional fashion show
by GRAYSE and stroll under the night sky to sample delectable food
and beverages from 10 premier OC restaurants. Proceeds from this
event will benefit the Council on Aging-Orange County. Tickets on
General Admission: $100 ($5 fee for online purchase)In person:
Laguna Design Center, Laguna NiguelBy phone: 949-643-2929Online:
Food, Fashion, Designer Competition
7th Annual Designer Runway
Join the Smilemakers!10th annual Fundraising eventOctober 12,
2013Costa Mesa Country Club5:30 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
Enjoy world class comedians, cocktails and dinner, Live and
Silent Auctions and much more. Proceeds provide gifts to seniors
who are forgotten during the holidays.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact [email protected]