In , he left government and founded his own private guardianship and fiduciary business; he transferred the number of his government-issued phone to himself. The payoff is the right to bill the estate. Acting as her own attorney, Williams filed a racketeering suit in federal court against Shafer and the lawyers who represented him.
What is elder abuse and neglect?
The house they shared was then placed on the market. The judge, Robert Lueck, ordered that she be handcuffed and placed in a holding cell while the hearing continued. The opinions of wards were also disregarded. In , Guadalupe Olvera, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Second World War, repeatedly asked that his daughter and not Shafer be appointed his guardian.
A dozen people in attendance were forced to leave. Clifton observed that Shafer almost always took a cynical view of family members: they were never motivated by love or duty, only by avarice. After a few months on the job, Clifton was asked to work as a guardian, substituting for an absent employee, though she had never been trained. Her first assignment was to supervise a visit with a man named Alvin Passer, who was dying in the memory-care unit of a nursing home. His partner of eight years, Olive Manoli, was permitted a brief visit to say goodbye.
In a futile attempt to persuade the court to allow her to be with him, Manoli had submitted a collection of love letters, as well as notes from ten people describing her desire to care for Passer for the rest of his life. The family seemed to have suffered a form of court-sanctioned gaslighting. She and Manoli had begged Norheim not to appoint Shafer as guardian.
Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse
It was Terry Williams, who did not reveal her identity. This is real. Everything you are thinking is true. This has been going on for years. The doses steadily increased. Rudy, who had hip pain, was prescribed Oxycodone and Valium. When he sat down to read, the sentences floated past his eyes or appeared in duplicate. Belshe found it increasingly hard to communicate with her parents, who napped for much of the day. God will help you get out of here. Once, though, Liebo took pity on the sister of an eighty-year-old ward named Dorothy Smith, who was mourning a dog that Parks had given away, and told her that Smith was stable.
Liebo said that Parks, who was by then the secretary of the Nevada Guardianship Association, called her immediately. A woman named Linda Phillips, who had dementia, was told that she was going to the beauty salon.
She never returned. Liebo had asked the state ombudsman to come to the facility and stop the removals, but nothing could be done. At the beginning of , Parks told the Norths that they would be leaving Lakeview Terrace. Belshe showed up at 9 A. Belshe cried as she drove to the Wentworth, in Las Vegas. When she arrived, Parks was there, and refused to let her see her parents. Rennie spent nearly all her time in her wheelchair or in bed, her eyes half-closed. Her face had become bloated. One night, she was so agitated that the nurses gave her Haldol, a drug commonly used to treat schizophrenia.
More than three thousand people signed. In May, , a month after the article appeared, when the Norths went to court to discuss their finances local journalists were in the courtroom and Norheim seemed chastened. Parks had been doing this routinely for years, and, according to her, the court had always accepted her accounting and her fees.
I am coming here and I have hope. This is your liberty. You have every right to be here. You have every right to be involved in this project. Last March, Parks and her lawyer, along with her office manager and her husband, were indicted for perjury and theft, among other charges. Parks often gave doctors blank certificates and told them exactly what to write in order for their patients to become her wards. Parks and other private guardians appeared to gravitate toward patients who had considerable assets.
Older People in Law and Society - Oxford Scholarship
She quickly found a different doctor to sign the certificate, and Norheim approved the guardianship. Both Parks and Norheim declined to speak with me. Steve Miller, a former member of the Las Vegas City Council, said he assumed that Shafer would be the next indictment after Parks, who is scheduled to go to trial next spring. Only federal intervention is going to give us peace of mind.
He said that the problems in Clark County are not unusual. This is a good business. Seniors are unable to fend for themselves.
In the past two years, Nevada has worked to reform its guardianship system through a commission, appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court, to study failures in oversight. In , the Nevada legislature will enact a new law that entitles all wards to be represented by lawyers in court. But the state seems reluctant to reckon with the roots of the problem, as well as with its legacy: a generation of ill and elderly people who were deprived of their autonomy, and also of their families, in the final years of their lives.
Last spring, a man bought a storage unit in Henderson, Nevada, and discovered twenty-seven urns—the remains of Clark County wards who had never been buried. Norheim was transferred from guardianship court to dependency court, where he now oversees cases involving abused and neglected children. Shafer is still listed in the Clark County court system as a trustee and as an administrator in several open cases. If a family caregiver is suspected of abuse, other family members may have the best chance of convincing the older adult to consider alternative care.
Feelings of shame can often keep elder abuse hidden. You may not want to believe a family member could be capable of abusing a loved one, or you may even think that the older adult would be angry at you for speaking up. But the earlier you intervene in a situation of elder abuse, the better the outcome will be for everyone involved.
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Even if the elder refuses your help, keep checking in with them. Enlist others to express their feelings of concern to them. Sometimes a peer or a neutral party, such as a geriatric care manager, may have a better chance of getting through. Make sure the older adult is connected with medical services. Offer the elder home services on a trial basis. This can help them see the positive changes they can experience, and open them up to considering alternative care.
For example, encourage them to try housekeeping help for a month or a meal delivery service for a few weeks. Tour assisted living or other senior housing facilities without any immediate pressure to move. Consider legal guardianship. If there is not an appropriate family member available, a guardian can be appointed by the court. American Psychological Association. Frequently Asked Questions — Answers to 16 key questions about elder abuse. National Center on Elder Abuse.
Self Neglect — Includes tips for advocating for the older adult. Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. California Department of Justice. Last updated: June Share Your Experience. Learn to spot the warning signs and what you can do to help. What is elder abuse and neglect?