Elder Justice: Share a Story

Regions: United States

Issues: Older persons

Tags: age discrimination, ageism, aging, elder abuse, elder rights, Elders, older persons


On May 22nd in theatres across the United States, actor William Mapother - best known for his role as Ethan in the television series Lost - will ask all Americans to join him in the fight to end elder abuse and restore rights for older Americans.

Unfortunately, no one is guaranteed to be free from abuse in our latter years.  Elder abuse affects millions of citizens each year in the United States and cuts across gender, racial, ethnic, religious, geographic and socio-economic lines.  Perhaps even more importantly, the problem is only poised to grow as the boomer generation starts to retire.  So it’s vital that we come together, bring this problem out of the shadows and speak up about an issue that has or will affect each of us personally, whether when our own basic rights are violated or when elder abuse happens to someone we may know.

Over the course of the last two decades, the National Center on Elder Abuse - a program of the Administration on Aging  - has been working diligently to bring attention to this issue.  Their Join Us Now campaign which sponsored the elder abuse information piece above is only part of a larger effort to bring the issue of elder abuse out of the shadows.  WITNESS and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are supporting this effort by asking you to share your stories about elder abuse as well as your though on how we can stop this crisis.  My own personal story is below and also in this piece I wrote a few weeks ago. 

Next month, as part of our partnership to end elder abuse with NCOA, we will be at the University of Southern California to train elder justice advocates from across the country how to use video to advocate for elder rights.  Our two main goals will be:

1) to bring elder abuse into the national spotlight by empowering elders to share their stories and communicate their needs to key decision-makers;

2) to secure the passage of the Elder Justice Act so we can have a federal foundation on which to build security, dignity and equality for community members who have given us a lifetime of contributions.


There are a number of ways you too can help make a difference and get engaged in the fight to build a society that protects the rights of all its members.  Here are a few:

1) Help Raise Awareness About Elder Justice

In addition to emailing your friends and family to let them know about this campaign, you can also join the WITNESS email list where we'll post regular updates about this campaign.

2) Share your story about elder abuse 

Join the conversation on the Hub by leaving a comment below or uploading a video about Elder Justice (to upload, join the Hub now - it's easy and free).  Make sure to tag your video "Elder Justice".  You can also add your story to NCOA’s website by clicking here.

3) Stay Informed!

Subscribe to our Video for Change newsletter and join the NCOA network.

And finally, a special word to Bloggers & Vloggers... Help us spread the word - if you blog about the Elder Justice Campaign, please send us an email or a tweet (@witnessorg)...  Also, if you want to add a Hub button on your blog, get one here!


Prevention by friends to let family near my uncle

My aunt died 2/8/10 leaving my uncle of 94. Two friend of less than ten years have taken over his care, paying bills, and access to the home and everything in it that I have been able to go to for my 63 years of life. We found that all the locks have been changed by these friends, a memorial service for my aunt was conducted on 6/19/10 by these friends without invitations to the family not even my mother, my aunt's sister (we found out and showed up). While there, these friends made sure that we never had alone time with my uncle so we could ask him questions. When my sister stated hat she would like to visit him at his home, my uncle stated, "for what?" We think that there is something going on that these "friends" have done to the house or have taken items from the home. The lawyer for the Living Trust is no better, all the safe-guards my aunt placed for her financial, the care of my uncle have been taken away by the lawyer in favor of these "friends". My aunt liked these two friends, but wanted the family to arrange for the care of my uncle and for these "friends" to not have acess to the items in the house that were left at the time of her death. WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP??

ongoing abuse

I posted a personal story of this hell we have in the guardianship/conservatorship abuse. The judge appointed a guardian ad litem or 60 days to investigate our handling of my mother and her money. That will cost more than $30,000. The GAL has recommended that we be removed as conservators and a public conservator appointed because we are allegedly "self dealing." Mom called her personal lawyer and changed her will for the fifth time, and we are accused of coercing her to do that, which is absolutely untrue. Throughout all of this ordeal we have made sure Mom has the best care and we have not charged her estate one dime. We are due in court Friday for status hearing. The judge will decide whether to remove us. We don't have a good feeling about this. I'm in shock at the workings of the system.

Elder Abuse

Last year my mother, 90-yeas-old filed a petition for an Order of Protection against my sister to stop her from taking control of her person, finances and property: Judge Maureen Connors denied her the right to an attorney and or any Due Process, and today my sister has Plenary Guardianship of my Mom. Suffice to say, the Court sanctioned elder abuse, and my Mother cannot see or talk to any of her friends or family, participate in any community activites she loved, and cannot return to her home of Fifty Years. Furthermore, I have POA of Medical, however, the Judge suspended the POA, thereby advocating for my sister without cause. I am heading a national campaign for national media to stop court sanction elder abuse and would like if you would contact me ASAP at shaggy7@me.com. Please RE. Elder Abuse. Healthy Regards,

Elder abuse and trying to receive justice.

A sibling causing elder abuse in our family (financial exploitation with my father) had a major effect in my life. Please read my short story Sibling Corruption at Amazon.com. Being a victim of elder abuse along with my father, I feel a passion for pursuing efforts to mitigate elder abuse. Raising awareness is needed so that the elder never have to confront abuse. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. Respectfully, Cathy Carrejo

A victim of hotel staff (texas) assault/robbery

In 8/2009 I was a guest at the San Antonio,TX Hotel Contessa (with a AAA 4 diamond rating--which was not as promised).
I'm a senior and am disabled...I was in TX to attend my son's wedding. After traveling all day on Th, 8/27/09 I finally arrived at this hotel at 11 PM. I was not given the (confirmed) handicapped room I'd requested, so I was trying to change rooms on F, 8/28 (while coping with a pounding migraine).
In the middle of the day, on the 5th floor, 2 hotel maids assaulted me, blocked my access to my room and then, while one went into my room to steal the things the other maid had flagged, I was dragged down the hall, pushed into another guest's room (to allow the other maid time to steal all my valuables + rx meds).
I finally was able to get back to my room though the door was locked and blocked by their cart ; I pounded on my door and yelled; the thief emerged and, hiding over $20 thos. of jewelry, the 2 quickly vanished.
The Benchmark Corp (owner of property), the Hotel mgm't, told me "...our job is to protect our employees, not you!"
The San Antonio police called this a"felony crime", but refused to do ANYTHING to the criminals. I was told "Their story is different than yours...(?)"
and "...even if it goes to trial, their attorney will just make a fool of you on the stand..."
In the last months, I've seen 2 national stories on gang violence and criminal activities being committed on tourists and businesses by people not here legally who go back and forth our border with impunity...I don't know who is paying off whom in San Antonio, but I can see corruption, smell corrpution when it exists.
With "the justice system" allowing this by inaction, more crimes will result....
I've become estranged from that son, who blames me--the victim; and I've lost belief in the USA.
In California, I supported Cesar Chaves FarmWorkers union and his children were my patients...
Is there no honesty, respect for others or rule of law anymore?

Save Marthra Jane

My mother Martha Jane 85 yrs of age was diagnosed with stage 11 rectume cancer in May of this year 09 haveing lost her sister to this many years ago she opted for the cancer treatmeant. After four weeks of the Chemo and radiation therapy she fainted at home and was taken to the hospital.Mom up to this point was still driving her car and taking care of herself very well with the occasional oversight of numerous family members. She looked so bad at the hospital I was afraid we were going to lose her I notified my sister her daughter who lives in Alaska and is also the the POA over medical she flew in and her first concerns were moms property. Mom began to improve more and more each day at the hospital and as we neard her release I opened my big mouth and suggested that rather than her just lay around that some physical therapy and a nutrition program might be in order and thats when i lost her. She was sent to the nursing home for just that with my sister beside her all the way.They said she would be released in two to three weeks. I of course had been studying all of my sisters movements and the nursing facility as well and it was all to clear that mom was going to get caught up in there web. Sure enough on the day of her scheduled release my sister the POA comes in with a doctor and it is decided between them that mom is not ready to go home. They had mom stuck in the corner of a room with a curtain pulled only having room for her small bed it was sad. A few days pass and my sister signs mom out for a while telling mom that they are just going for a ride. She takes mom to another doctor wher she is asked to perform a test and spell a few words backwards mom fails the test and dementia is noted. Mom has a third grade education out of Kentucky and cant spell forward much less backward. Well the stories go on. We have had family feuds in moms presence its all been pathetic weeks have passed and I have been to social services to the seniors attorney and to private attorneys she is still in there and by the way sis was able to get all of moms property I didnt make it easy on her and it wasnt free but none of this is fare to mom. Can someone stop the madness.

Elder Care Financial and Emotional Abuse in Orange County, CA

July 8, 2009


My elderly aunt and uncle, Jerry and James Rosborough, lived at 24006 Quail Way in Lake Forest, Orange County, California. In 2007 they both fell ill; my aunt Jerry died at Kaiser, and my uncle was confined to a care center for a time and subsequently discharged to his home and hospice care. Prior to my aunt’s death my father, a retired hospital chaplain who lives in Tennessee, contacted Saddleback Church in Orange County, California to arrange for a “meals on wheels” type of home visitation for my aunt and uncle. Based on the church’s reputation, my father did so with no reservations, believing whomever the church sent would be vetted and trustworthy. During conversations with Saddleback I since have learned that they conduct no background checks of the pastoral care team members sent into the homes of the sick and aged of its community.

One member of the Saddleback pastoral care team who was sent to my aunt and uncle’s home was Mrs. Susanne M. Schley of Laguna Hills, California, who marketed herself to my father and my aunt as an experienced, Christian hospice care giver. (Neither my aunt nor my father knew that this type of solicitation for monetary gain by a pastoral care team member was not condoned by Saddleback, but Saddleback has since told me that S Schley knew - that all the pastoral care team members know.) Subsequently, my aunt hired S Schley to take care of my uncle Jim and of her after she was discharged from the hospital. Unfortunately, my aunt Jerry never returned home.

My father was Executor and Trustee of my aunt and uncle’s estate, and he was their Durable Power of Attorney. When my aunt died, S Schley became my father’s employee on behalf of my uncle Jim. My father preached my aunt’s funeral and returned to Tennessee, intending to return shortly to California. S Schley was to care for my uncle Jim and assist my father with household and estate banking matters best handled locally. She also was asked to hire additional hospice caregivers to maintain round-the-clock care of my uncle. Rather than doing that, and all the while complaining that she could find no one suitable at any of the agencies, S Schley moved into my uncle’s home.

I began to suspect something was amiss when my father received an email from S Schley on October 15, 2007, purported to be a message from my uncle, telling my father not to return to California until asked to by her or uncle Jim. She also told my father that he should write no checks on the bank account(s) unless told to do so by her or uncle Jim. Following that message, my father tried repeatedly to speak with my uncle on the telephone, but was prevented from doing so by S Schley, who consistently said uncle Jim was asleep or tired and or unable to speak.

As Executor and Trustee of my aunt and uncle’s estate, my father expressed his concerns about S Schley’s behavior several times to the attorney for the estate, and in email messages and on the telephone the attorney agreed that S Schley was “up to something.”

On at least two occasions S Schley accompanied uncle Jim to his safety deposit box. On October 23, 2007, the attorney forwarded an email message she received from S Schley that same day in which S Schley described how the new hospice doctor had been there and she had uncle Jim complete a new health care advance directive, removing my father and naming S Schley as his new medical Durable Power of Attorney. In that and subsequent email messages, the attorney stated that she believed S Schley’s email regarding the new DPOA showed undue influence; that she (the attorney) was going to call Adult Protective Services and tell them about S Schley; that my father should start a conservatorship as soon as possible and that he should plan to return to California; that a private conservator with whom she had discussed the situation said she would not be surprised if suddenly there were a new will and trust; and that S Schley sounded like a predator.

In a letter dated October 26, 2007, the attorney informed my father that he had been removed as current and successor trustee.

Mrs. Susanne M. Schley entered the home of my aunt and uncle as a member of the Saddleback pastoral care team, and within a matter of weeks she took over legal control of my uncle Jim’s health care and of the disposition of his remains. My uncle died 7 days after the new DPOA naming S Schley was executed. Her actions against my father resulted in the estate being administered by a non-family member. My uncle Jim, who for 40 years prior consistently stated that he wanted my father, his brother-in-law, to preach his funeral, was buried by S Schley, and my father was prevented from taking any part in the funeral. The defamation of my father had to be extreme for my uncle to even consider such an action. My aunt and uncle’s estate was worth close to $1 million. During the course of their illness, thousands of dollars of my aunt’s gold jewelry went missing and was never found.

I filed a complaint with Saddleback Church. Mrs. Susanne M. Schley has been removed from the Saddleback pastoral care team, and they have assured me that she will never again be allowed to ‘minister’ to the community as a member of that team. However, this internal church action will not prevent her from possibly doing to other members of the uninformed community what she did to my family. It is extremely upsetting that this church sent an unsupervised, uninvestigated, unbonded, and unvetted member into the home of my aunt and uncle - unsuspecting, sick, and elderly community members. I’ve spent the last 4-5 months communicating with them. Saddleback is addressing the problem with her through scripture, and they refuse to give me any further information. I asked that Pastor Rick Warren be part of a scheduled conference call, but when that call took place Pastor Tommy Hilliker (who I believe is Rick Warren’s son-in-law) told me that Pastor Warren is too busy with other things - it's a big church. At the risk of stating the obvious, when a church becomes so big its principal pastor hasn’t the time or inclination to address the problem of one of his Pastoral Care Team members preying on the sick and elderly in his church’s community, that church is too big. During that conference call I also was told that Saddleback is not responsible for S Schley’s actions beyond the fact that she violated church regulations by profiting financially from her visitation. So, their issue is not what one of their Pastoral Care Team did to my family, but that she drew a paycheck while doing it.

I believe it is imperative that the public be warned against these types of people so that they find it extremely difficult to continue to prey on the sick and aged, and I also feel the public should be warned about the methods and institutions these predators use to gain entry. S Schley’s actions hurt my father deeply, and the family at large lost more than we will ever know. My aunt was the repository of all family information, letters, heirlooms, antiques, documents, and belongings that came to her through my grandmother and grandfather. Thousands of dollars in gold jewelry went missing. My father should have administered the estate, but due to the actions of Susanne M Schley he was removed as trustee, executor and administrator. Everything contained in my aunt and uncle's house was inventoried and apportioned out by the next door neighbor.

Guardianship and Elder Abuse in Our Courts

Please will you sign our petition to stop elder abuse and guardianship abuse?

The website is www.stopelderabuse.net and has links to a petition site and a site where letters can be sent to Washington.

We have a group of family members working on national reform efforts.

Feel free to email me at stopguardianshipabuse@gmail.com if you would like to network with and help other family members who are fighting this monster.


If Kelly Matheson would like to contact me, I would be very eager to communicate. How do I get to the discussion forum? As of now, do not print my e-mail address anywhere. I am in the process of getting more computer savy and don't want to deal with spam, etc.

nursing home abuse

I am the woman who worked very hard with President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on The Elder Justice Act. I have been working on nursing home reform since 1991. Nothing has changed except that the abuse and neglect has gotten worse. The Elder Jusstice Act as it was passed is so watered down that it does nothing to protect or speak to the needs of the elderly. As long as the nursing home owners are allowed to contribute huge sums of money to political campaigns and wine and dine those who pass legislation, the elderly and the disabled will continure to be the industry's cash cow. They make their huge profits on the pain and suffering of the most vulnerable in our society. These owners need to be prosecuted and jailed. Fines don't work. Work for "granny cameras" to prove abuse and neglect. It is concrete proof!!! I had Fox32 News take undercover video of my Father's nursing home and its care to its residents. It was impossible for them to deny. Cameras installed with permission of the families can be obtained from :
Nursing Home Monitors
Violette King
There are lawyers to support you.
Don't allow your loved one to be a victim for profit.