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The Grandparent Scam

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    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 of minutes.

    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 freed.

    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 www.coaoc.org.

    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 abuse.

    Request a copy of your free credit report. Call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

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    If using social networking sites, such as Facebook, read the privacy policy and avoid posting private information.

    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

    Youre Invited

    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.

    Summer 2013

  • ThankYou!

    Thank You To our Generous 2013 Life Preservers and ConTribuTors!Jennifer MarascoStephanie MarshCindi MartinJohn and Kay MaselterCarol MatsuuraMichael and Pamala McGovern

    In Memory of Pat and Glen McCloskeyYvonne McHughJames and Cheryl Meronk In Honor of

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    annuaL donors and sPeCiaL friends

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    and George Smyth

    assoCiaTe $500-$999Anonymous Benefit Equity, Inc.Betty Bartley In Memory of

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    Marie and Bill HughesJune Hill and Richard KramerMarla NoelCindy SamsonAnne-Marie SchieferRod ShimasakiNancy E. & William S. Thompson

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    friends $100-$499Janis E AdamsPatty AlexanderIosefa AlofaituliRick AlonzoLeslie AmbergerC.D. AndersonAttentive Home CareJames AtwoodCalifornia United BankSteve Barone In Memory of

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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: 1-714-647-7000

    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 speaker.

    Julie SchoenAttorney

    Protect Your Loved Ones. Look for These Signs. Physical abuse n Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, broken bones,

    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 lifestyle.

    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 funds.

    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 include:

    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.

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  • 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 PM

    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 sale now!

    General Admission: $100 ($5 fee for online purchase)In person: Laguna Design Center, Laguna NiguelBy phone: 949-643-2929Online: www.lagunadesigncenter.com/events

    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]