NewsNight Maryland; 490; Elder Abuse
Hmmm... Protecting Maryland's senior citizens from abuse plus inflation remains low but are interest rates about to rise and helping children with diabetes. This is Newsnight Maryland.
Good evening. The chairman of the Federal Reserve was unusually blunt on Capitol Hill today. Alan Greenspan told Congress a small rate increase now might prevent the need for a big increase later and will say the comments confirm expectations of a quarter point rate increase at the end of this month. And joining us now is Washington Post Tech Thursday Stocks columnist Jerry Knight. Jerry Mr. Greenspan was sending a message today how did Wall Street receive it? Well Wall Street like this he said we're going to raise rates maybe a little if we have to but not too much so don't worry about it and that's what they did. And he didn't say it that directly but he did say it more directly than he usually says anything. He never says anything directly but the message was out if rates go up they'll go up maybe a quarter of a point and nothing big coming so that's that's what Wall Street wanted to hear. It's good for stocks the uncertainties gone. Let's talk about the uncertainty concerning another regional company circuit city based
in Virginia removed some uncertainty yesterday when it killed or pulled the plug on something called Divx what's a Divx well a Divx is a two hundred million dollar blender that probably could have been the next beta max it's a it's a special kind of DVD that's meant to allow you to watch movies on a disk like a CD at home but instead of taking it back when you're done with it you'd leave it at home and when you played it again the machine would automatically bill your account for another time around it turned out to be a catastrophic mistake. Now circuit cities stepped out of the role of being a pure retailer in this case to essentially the inventor or promoter of this technology they were really the promoters the inventors and this tells you what was going on here the inventors were lawyers in Hollywood who thought it was a great idea. Circuit city thought they could sell it and it's been very very detrimental to the stock but but killing it was an enormous plus. Well you mentioned the beta max before a lot of people especially in broadcasting always
thought the beta max was superior technology but it lost in the marketplace anyway and this Divx gizmo may have may have been good technology as well. Well I'm a beta believer I'll probably go out and buy one of these and keep it at home but and they'll be good deals circuit cities barking the prices down and they'll still play regular DVD players but it's a big big blunder that in the last month when people figured out this was going to happen circuit city stock is up 40% Well Jerry you can keep your Divx player at home next to your eight track. There you go. Yeah those two. Jerry Night's Columns are in the Washington Post in at Washington Post dot com Jerry thanks for joining us. Thanks. Abuse of the elderly has sometimes been called the invisible crime because the vast majority of cases go unreported. Elder abuse can be physical or emotional it can be financial including scams by strangers or even trusted family members but just as child abuse and spousal abuse have gotten new attention in the 90s.
Elder abuse is becoming more visible and government officials and law enforcement are organizing strategies to deal with it. In Montgomery County State's Attorney Doug Gansler has organized a multi agency task force on elder abuse. News Night's Senior Correspondent John Albushaan has details in tonight's Maryland money. We declare war on abusers of the elderly. Zero tolerance has to be the policy Leonard Burchman told the seniors who came to this leisure world seminar voice of the elderly which Burchman heads has been aggressive in persuading government to pay more attention to elder abuse. We vote for those who help us. If you abuse us we will abuse you. But Montgomery County officials have already gotten the message. Questions are growing problem the county's aging chief said and not limited by class. Elder abuse involves either physical, sexual, psychological or financial exploitation.
John Kenny called it an invisible epidemic with as few as 10% of the cases ever reported to authorities. Lieutenant Brian Roynstad teaches a course at the Montgomery County Police Academy to help officers recognize elder abuse even when the victims don't admit it. Cruises are welts, burns, abrasions on the arms legs are torso, fractures, springs, lacerations and abrasions. When a family member's involved physical abuse and financial exploitation can go hand in hand these experts said but the elderly also are more vulnerable to financial scams from outsiders. Even in this relatively well off retirees community, one attorney recently was taken for $17,000. Investment scams are big so our home improvement cheats. How about let me do a check up on your furnace and make sure that your air conditioning
infernus is in good shape and you find out your entire furnace has been dismantled on the floor of your house right and just for a few thousand dollars they can put it back together. Joint bank accounts are an invitation for financial abuse, prosecutor, frank baloney warned, not so much by a daughter or son perhaps. What I have the concern about is when people are befriended say by the person who lives across the hallway in an apartment complex who starts you know maybe bringing them you know the paper in or you know doing other favors for them. It's the recent acquaintances or maybe the nephew whom you haven't seen for 20 years and some seniors know the vulnerability that breeds that kind of attack. I think that in many cases we are feeling lonely and abandoned in later years and will latch on to anybody who seems to offer friendship.
And when the abuser is a family members seniors have a built in bias against confrontation. There are all emotional commitment to the abusers I think and to there are characteristics that make con artists target them. The proceed is not knowing what they're doing. They have more time on their hands, they're not working, they're usually at home. There's another problem sometimes seniors imagine abuse that is not there. Rhine Stad's course includes recognition of Alzheimer's disease and dementia but the bottom line he said is that if there's the slightest chance that abuse is taking place it must be reported and investigated. In Silver Spring I'm John Albusian, news night Maryland. And joining us here in the studio tonight are Corporal David Thomas of the Montgomery County Police Department's domestic violence unit.
Leonard Burchman who is president of Voice of the Elderly and Douglas Gantzler who is the state's attorney for Montgomery County. You can also join our discussion this evening please give us a call with a number on the screen. Mr. Gantzler to begin with you this task force tell me what its charter is. This charter is to identify the most effective way of prosecuting elder abuse which is traditionally and historically a very hidden crime. It's very difficult to detect from the law enforcement and people who have been abused both on the physical side and on the financial side and how my office can most effectively prosecute these cases. What do you know about the number of cases that historically have been prosecuted and what's happened since you started the task force? What used to happen was that we would sort of fall upon a case of elder abuse by fortuitously happened to run into somebody would have a case reported or would get a call about a financial scam. It would then be prosecuted by whichever prosecutor happened to be prosecuting cases that day.
What we are doing is institutionalizing this process and systematically prosecuting elder abuse cases by specially training our prosecutors in the area of elder abuse in the physical side through the family violence unit because we consider it akin to child abuse and domestic violence. On the financial side we are prosecuting these cases through economic crimes unit and we have in-house investigators that will develop and work up these cases and we are looking forward to actually having more volume just in the two months since we have started publicizing the fact that we have this elder abuse task force we have over 20 to 25 calls of new cases people identifying new situations based pretty much 50-50 along the physical abuse lines and the financial abuse lines. Corporat Thomas do you see any trends in the reporting of these incidents? We see pretty much the same number of cases coming into our county in particular. We know nationwide that the number of cases has gone up tremendously that are actually being finally reported and we also are including in the aforementioned types of abuse
and neglect which is in many cases just as bad as the financial end or physical abuse where somebody is actually attacked. Leonard in terms of your group have you seen maybe you can give us a sense of the kind of cases that you see. Do people turn to you for help? Well, the task force has just begun I mean and we have to again give credit where it is due. Doug Angela has done something that was needed to be done in Montgomery County. I think it is a first. I think the systematic approach that he has had bringing in the Montgomery County police and the Sheriff's Department and the Health and Human Services Department all together working together. I think what we have here now is an opportunity to have a team approach to this problem. Now at Leisure World where we sort of base the voice of the elderly. We have something like 72, 73, 100 people living there and we had the elder abuse
seminar there and it brought in what is about 20 calls already. One young lady who is on Doug Angela's support staff is a former FBI agent Debbie Myers who has already received one hot call and we immediately moved to help this lady and with the help of the Leisure World people. Give me some examples. What kind of cases are you hearing about? Let's talk about a elderly person in the home with a caregiver. The elderly person may have a site impairment. The elderly person asks the caregiver to sign a check. She wants to sign a check to pay for grocery bills, to pay for the rent, to pay for the condominium fee and the check is not made out to Leisure World Corporation or to a Texaco or to giant food but it is made out to a fictitious name or a name devised by this lady.
As soon as we hear that now it moves directly to Mr. Gansler. He knows he's got the staff prepared, he knows and he got the prosecutors ready to move. But in addition to her trying to set the fund that this lady has, we're also concerned about the restitution, the meaning of getting money back to the lady of what she lost does. Let me take a phone call. Darlene is on the line from Baltimore County. Darlene, go ahead with your question. Yeah, I was wondering, if a relative is taking money from a member's family member's ticket account, what can be done about this? I mean, if the person doesn't know about it or he didn't know about it, he recently found out about it. Okay, thanks very much. It's actually a very typical situation when it occurs particularly what will happen is a family member will get joint account with the senior citizen saying we need to give them a power of attorney to accomplish your financial objectives. And we actually have a case where a niece continued to get the senior citizen to write checks for milk and groceries and the checks were $1,000, $2,000 a pop.
And the person didn't really know what they were signing, in other words, the niece would fill out the check and then have the senior citizen sign the check. And eventually the accounts were emptied. And banks will report to us when there's a large sum, a $10,000 or more, or even lower than that if they see increased activity on a bank account, they'll let us know that this is occurring and we can identify the problem a little earlier on. So what are some steps? I'm sorry, go ahead. I was just going to say, and this is part of what this task force is going to be doing. We're going to be doing training for people in the community who have to come in contact with elderly and give them signs that they can look for to see whether or not that they believe that something might be going wrong, tellers in banks who see an elderly person perhaps coming in with someone all the time pulling money out. We're going to give them the telltale signs to look for so they can notify us and the state's attorney's office. It's taken out of the call. Carolyn is on the line from Anorondo County.
Carolyn, go ahead. I am an assistant principal in Anorondo County and I'm just thinking about the children in our school system who are always looking for community service and helping people in the community. I am very disappointed to think that people would possibly think that children or people in the community might ostracize or help or any way hinder the elderly. I would hope that the children in our community might be able to go in and do service for the elderly, cutting lawns, picking up newspapers, delivering mail, writing errands for that. Carolyn, thanks very much. Of course, that raises the question for an older person. And how do you know whether the person you're welcoming into your home is trustworthy? Well, this is part of an intergenerational thing that the Montgomery County Commission on Aging has taken into focus right now.
But let me, let me, if I can, Jeff, move into something else. It's eye for eye time. If an abuser hurts an elder person, that's us. We will strike back. We will make sure that that person is fired. If an accountant or an attorney and they do that, I'm sure, don't play me for all the attorneys. No, no, I mean, I have to raise that point. They are, they are caretakers really of the wheels and they have power of attorney from time to time, including the children. If they take funds from, and they're convicted, take funds from an elder person, Jeff, we will move against them. Let me take another call, Doug is on the line from Baltimore County, Doug, go ahead. Yeah. Can you hear me? Go ahead. Okay. I wish he would continue this program because here's the problem. My mother's 85. She won't go to her doctor. She won't.
She won't get a blood test. The paramedics from Baltimore County, EMS came by just last week, got last Friday, as long as she says that she knows the year 1999, I can't get her out of the house. She refuses to go to the doctor who she saw two months ago. The abuse is fine, but here, I'm a loving son. My dad's dad, I'm only child. What about us who tried to do the right thing and you can't turn my mom on my own away? Doug, she lives alone. Yes, sir. But when we're home instead, there's a caretakers that come three hours in the morning three hours in the evening for $2,000 a month. That is right. She won't go in on quote, independent living and it's not independent living. Doug, thanks very much. Leonard, what are your thoughts on that? I'd love to Doug. It's actually very, the call brings up an interesting point because one of the things that happened when we first met with the task force was the clear thirst for help in a lot of different areas.
And what we've been trying to focus the task force on is that we can only deal with the criminal problems. It's not civil problems. So there's obviously a lot of need for help with seniors around the county and the state that need to be addressed elsewhere. But the last two calls actually bring up interesting points. This is the last call I think is named Doug as well. His mother's in a good situation because people are coming to the house and people, were she the victim of abuse obviously from someone else other than Doug, that would be detected, which Doug tells in the previous caller about children. The difference between child abuse and elder abuse is children go to school and people that teachers and others are able to identify a student who may be the victim of abuse, where the elders, the senior citizens are often in these independent homes where nobody goes and see them except for the abuser. And that's why it's such a hidden crime. And the only other point I mentioned in terms of how to get children involved, it's actually something when I was on the commission on aging that I did, which was volunteered at a nursing home and go there and have children working with seniors to give them somebody to give them trust, and those children can also help identify possible abuse by
maybe relatives or even within the nursing home environment. This is part of the outreach. This is the part where we're trying to get volunteers, Jeff, to get in. I'm talking about senior citizens themselves at our Holiday Park Center and the Schwanford Center, to go in and help the unbutzeman, to see we have no money for the unbutzeman. And we're trying to help the unbutzeman do his job. So if we can spot abuse in the nursing homes, then they can report back immediately. We have a governor of Paris, Glendedding, who has just been fantastically supportive. Our state senators, Len Tittlebaum and our own district's supportive. Let me get another phone call. I'll show you what I'm going to line from Washington County. Debra, go ahead. Debra, are you there? All right, let's go back to the question of scams. There are elderly people for some reason more reluctant to say no. When a telemarketer calls me, I have no problem hanging out.
But is it a generational thing at work there? Sure, easily. I mean scams, telemarketing fraud, financial fraud, Medicare fraud, home health care fraud, all of this dovetails in. If they're scammed, if an older person is scammed, they're reluctant to tell the child. We had a person, a leisure world, who was scammed for $17,000. Doug, you're aware of this thing, and you're all too couple of times. She involved herself in a Canadian lottery. I don't want to give her an aim. We're going to it any deeper. But this lady was an attorney, and yet was scammed. We have problems with our concern right now, the disabled, and those who have Alzheimer's, and those who have stroke victims who are now being taken care of by caregivers. They have a problem, and if they're all alone, and their children are living in another state, they can come in to take care of them. What do we do? Corporal Thomas, what do you do? If there's a situation where there's an immediate threat to somebody's well-being, what should
they do? Well, they definitely should dial on one one. I mean, if there's an immediate threat, we want to know about it. We simply can't do anything about what we don't know about. And many times, when these scam artists come in, they're high pressure type of individuals, and they're relentless, and they almost push the person into a corner, and the person is trying to be nice, the way that they kind and everything, and they end up getting scammed before they even know what's going on. Now, in that situation, you don't want somebody to call 911 unless maybe they're in-house. Is there another avenue to report that sort of thing? Well, they can always call the Department's non-emergency number, but they still could call if somebody is in fear of somebody or they feel that they're being intimidated, then by all means they need to call if they think they need our help. We want them to call.
Corporal Thomas, Doug, and Leonard, thanks very much for joining us here tonight. Next Thursday on Maryland Money, looking to avoid the daily traffic grind, maybe telecommuting will work for you. We will explore that growing trend. Just to remember me, that's the theme of a select group of children living with diabetes, heading to Capitol Hill this weekend. Next on Newsnight, Maryland, find out about the first-ever Children's Congress, and their mission to Washington, D.C., we'll be right back. Huge network systems, based in Germantown, will now be responsible for maintaining satellite dishes for credit and debit card transactions at Shell and Texaco stations nationwide. Delaware Education Secretary Iris Metz is the new superintendent of schools in Prince George's County. The job has a base salary of $160,000, $30,000 more than the previous superintendent. And the competition among 21 young women for the title of Miss Maryland begins tonight in Hagerstown.
The winner will be crowned Saturday at the Maryland Theater. Next time on a special edition of Health Week, what to a beauty queen and a child screen star have in common? Both have diabetes. Find out how they're beating it next time on a special edition of Health Week, Sunday morning at 11 on MPT. Here we were, Senate staffers, taking part of the very people that have been employed on so we thought, well, they might fire us, but at least they'll ask us to stop. But, and we're not angry comedians, some bad people say that. Well, of course, one of the things we're known for is our, our sponsor, Dan, can you give me Newt Gingrich, please? Join the antics of capital stamps hosted by MPT's Bob Heck, live at Johns Hopkins University June 26th. Hello, I'm Lewis Rucheiser, inviting you to join me for the next edition of Wall Street Week. I guess we'll be the best performing mutual fund manager of the past decade.
He's Bill Miller, the star of Lead Mason valued trust, and we'll find out how he did it, what he thinks of today's market, and where he's putting his money now in search of profits in the next decade. Friday night at 830 on MPT. The juvenile diabetes foundation is sponsoring the first ever Children's Congress this weekend in Washington, D.C. The goal is to raise awareness of the disease and let lawmakers know what it's like to have diabetes or to have a child with diabetes. Tonight's newsmaker from the juvenile diabetes foundation is Stuart Langbine. Welcome. Thank you. Your daughter is three years old. Correct. When was she diagnosed? She was diagnosed just before her second birthday. I've spoken to many parents of children who have juvenile diabetes and they all describe how difficult it is to try to explain to a child that age what's all involved.
How does she cope with the pricks in the finger and the insulin shots? Well, it's a difficult daily life for her. There are times where we're checking her blood eight times a day. She gets three insulin shots a day and often during the day she doesn't feel well. She'll tell us that she needs tested and we'll look and check her blood sugar level and see if she's higher low. So it's a very intrusive aspect of her life. What about your life as parents though too? I mean, this must be very difficult because it really rearranges everything for you. Right. You really become a very scheduled family and it impacts everyone, not just the child with diabetes, but also the younger sister and everyone just has to fold into a routine where we're eating at the certain times a day and we have snacks at the right times. So it is an intrusion for the entire family.
Talk a little bit about the mission of this Congress and what you intend to do there during those three days. Well we're bringing 100 kids from around the country to Washington DC to meet with both members of the administration and Congress and the theme of the Congress is promised to remember me because we want the decision makers, whether it's from the administration or from Congress, to remember these children when they're making critical decisions about funding for diabetes research and other medical research. Now research has made some significant advances in type 1 diabetes, you know, there's the whole concept now of eyelid cell transplants and things in the pancreas, but there's still, I guess, needs to be a whole lot more. Right. Unfortunately, a lot of that research is just very much years down the road. And what we're left now with is dealing on an everyday basis with insulin, which helps with the day-to-day living, but it is not a cure.
There are too many complications that can occur, even if you're using insulin regularly and testing your blood regularly. There are kidney complications, blindness. So insulin is not a cure and we need to continue the fight for additional research. Some, there was quite a significant boost in funding just this month announced by the First Lady. And really, the kickoff event to the Children's Congress, the First Lady announced a $120 million award, which is to be used to further research for rejection drugs to prevent the rejection for isolate transplant, isolate cell transplantation. So that is an exciting announcement, but there are still many other avenues of research to finding a cure that we need to fund. How did your daughter get to be a delegate to this? The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation circulated a letter saying what they were going to do and asked you to write a letter to your congressman and send a picture and fell out of
form. We sent that all in on Jamie's behalf and they chose Jamie to be one of the three delegates from Maryland. The others are Mackenzie Marv Odenton and Rebecca Guterman of Chevy Chase. And this begins on Sunday, is that right? Correct. And is on Tuesday. And you will be briefing members of Congress as well as members of the administration. Right. On Monday, Secretary Shalala will be meeting with the children and then on Tuesday there is going to be a hearing on Capitol Hill as well as a congressional luncheon with members of Congress. Thank you very much, Stuart, for joining us. Good luck with you. The Children's Congress takes place this weekend if you want your story told sent a letter to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Children's Congress, 1320 old chain bridge roads, sweet 330 McLean, Virginia, 2-2-1-01. That is our program for tonight. Thanks for watching Newsnight Maryland. Tomorrow, surviving summer's heat, it is going to get hot again. We'll tell you what to wear and how to protect yourself from the sun.
Have a good evening, everyone. Good evening. If you have a comment on tonight's edition of Newsnight, Maryland, please email us at newsnight at mpt.org or call our talk back live at 1-800-586-1461.
- NewsNight Maryland
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- APA: NewsNight Maryland; 490; Elder Abuse. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-394-46d25915