• July 27, 2018 /  Basics, Resources

    How to Avoid Scams Targeting Seniors Part Two
    This is a continuation in a series focusing on scams and crimes targeting older adults and the elderly. Did you read the last article? If not, check it out here! How to Avoid Scams Targeting Seniors: Part 1. Today we’ll be sharing even more resources to help you stay protected and knowledgeable.

    Stealing from the Grieving

    What to look out for: Widows and widowers are told that their spouse had outstanding debts that must be settled. Sometimes, the scammer may appear at the victim’s doorstep with a pay-on-delivery package that was supposedly ordered by the deceased. The con artists find widowed spouses by browsing public obituary listings or snooping at funeral homes. Sometimes the funeral home is the perpetrator and tacks on additional fees or pushes unnecessary items, such as an expensive casket for a cremation.

    Risks: The bereaved can be scammed out of money or upsold on funeral expenses.

    Helpful resourcesAARP offers tips about how to avoid scams after the death of a loved one.

    Phony Sweethearts

    What to look out for: Sometimes referred to as the “sweetheart” scam, fraudsters target widowers using online dating sites in an attempt to form a trusting relationship and then take advantage. The con artists may make up a heartbreaking story and ask for financial assistance, request that the target be a cosignatory for a loan, or even convince the target to sign over power of attorney, allowing the perpetrator to take out a home equity loan.

    Risks: Victims face a loss of funds and risk being saddled with unwanted debts. Identity theft is also possible.

    Helpful resourcesAARP offers an in-depth look at online dating scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.

    Reverse Mortgage Scams

    What to look out for: Many people’s life savings are tied to the equity in their homes, a prime target for thieves. Reverse mortgages are a popular way for seniors to take cash out of their homes without having to move. Scams related to this sometimes-useful tool come in many forms, from fees hidden in the fine print to failure to disclose the consequences of unexpected default.

    Risks: Victims can lose their homes, or be subject to excessive fees.

    Helpful resources: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a consumer advisory about the dangers of reverse mortgages.

    Unneeded Repairs

    What to look out for: In this scenario, scammers case a neighborhood looking for elderly residents and then knock on the door posing as handymen. They point out a few things that they insist need repair. Payment may be demanded up front, and if the work is done at all, it’s often unlicensed and sloppy.

    Risks: Homeowners stand to lose the upfront payment and face damage to their property due to shoddy workmanship.

    Helpful resources: The FTC offers tips to help people, especially seniors, avoid home-improvement scams.

    Online Phishing

    What to look out for: Online scams don’t necessarily target seniors, but people less familiar with technology are more susceptible. Phishing, the attempt to steal sensitive information online by posing as someone else, is a popular trick. Emails from supposedly official organizations, including governments and large businesses, ask recipients to change their passwords, update account information, or pay an outstanding debt. Sometimes, simply clicking on a link is enough to infect a computer with malicious software that can steal personal information.

    Risks: The scammers can come away with access to the victim’s accounts and identity, along with a quick payday.

    Helpful resources: The FTC offers advice on how to avoid phishing scams.

    Fraud-Prevention Scam

    What to look out for: Scammers sometimes claim to be calling from a bank’s fraud-prevention department and request information like a credit card security code or expiration date. Even if the caller ID looks like it’s from a bank, don’t be fooled. Never share personal or financial data.

    Risks: Victims face the immediate loss of money from their accounts, with the potential for even costlier identity theft.

    Helpful resourcesAARP offers advice about avoiding fraud-prevention scams.

    Tech Support Scam

    What to look out for: Scammers often pose as representatives from software or computer companies and announce they’ve identified viruses or other problems with a person’s computer. They then try to sell the victim bogus software, offer to “run a scan,” or ask for permission to access the computer.

    Risks: Victims face potential identity theft and harm to their computer.

    Helpful resources: The FTC maintains a page dedicated specifically to tech support scams.

    If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of a scam:

    Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing will only make it worse. Keep handy the phone numbers and resources you can turn to, including the local police, your bank (if money has been taken from your accounts), and Adult Protective Services. To obtain the contact information for Adult Protective Services in your area, call the Eldercare Locator, a government sponsored national resource line, at: 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at: https://eldercare.acl.gov.

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  • July 18, 2018 /  Basics, Resources

    How to Avoid Scams Targeting Seniors Part One
    We’ve discussed scams, fraud, and crimes against older adults and the elderly in the past, but today we’re going to share valuable resources that will help you either be more prepared, or give you the next step if you do fall victim to it. Seniors are commonly targeted because they tend to own their homes and have strong credit and ample savings. They’re also less likely to report fraud and tend to be less familiar with technology. Consequently, they are a favorite mark for fraudsters.

    Seniors lose more money by far to scams than any other demographic, with the median loss totaling $390, the Better Business Bureau found. This year may see new scams introduced or old scams revised, but one thing is certain: Dishonest people are working hard to separate older Americans from their money. Here’s what to look out for, and links to helpful resources on the subjects.

    Selling Anxiety

    What to look out for: Scams often start with unsolicited phone calls offering products aimed at easing a person’s fears. Calls like these were at the heart of a case where a company contacted seniors (even those listed on the National Do Not Call Registry) to hawk medical-alert pendants. The company shipped products without receiving an order and then threatened legal action or verbally abused seniors who didn’t pay.

    Risks: Victims lose the cost of the product and could be exposed to identity theft.

    Helpful resources: The Federal Trade Commission takes complaints about shady companies.

    Fake Prizes and Sweepstakes

    What to look out for: Another scam that often starts with an email or phone call, this one relies on a sense of hope rather than fear. Victims are told they’ve won a lottery or other large prize, but first they must transfer money to cover the accompanying taxes and fees.

    Risks: Victims face the loss of those funds, and identity theft is also a risk.

    Helpful resources: The FTC maintains a web page specifically about prize scams.

    Health Insurance Fraud

    What to look out for: Mobile “health-care labs” are sometimes parked at retirement homes, malls, or health clubs, and fake or unnecessary tests are administered on “patients” whose identifying information is then used to bill insurance companies and Medicare. Similar rackets involving unneeded medical equipment also target seniors.

    Risks: Often directed at the elderly by perpetrators who leverage the term “Medicare,” this scam seeks personal information and could expose seniors to identity theft.

    Helpful resources: The government maintains a dedicated web page on Medicare fraud.

    The Grandchild Hook

    What to look out for: In the “grandparent scam,” crooks call seniors claiming to be a grandchild who has run into financial or legal difficulties and is in jail. The scammer begs the targeted senior not to tell the grandchild’s parents and to wire money to a bail bondsman.

    Risks: Victims forfeit not just the money but critical personal and financial data.

    Helpful resourcesAARP offers tips to help seniors beat this scam.

    Fake Products

    What to look out for: Some scammers sell fake products that promise youthful vibrancy, or breakthrough treatments that have no side effects. These items may be harmless sugar pills that hurt only the victim’s wallet, but others, such as fake Botox, can cause temporary paralysis or other physical harm.

    Risks: People lose money on fake products, but this kind of scam, as well as those selling cheap counterfeit prescription drugs, could also lead to serious illness or injury.

    Helpful resources: The Food and Drug Administration maintains a web page dedicated to medication health fraud.

    “Too Good to Be True” Investments

    What to look out for: Pyramid, Ponzi, or advance-fee schemes, as well as the now infamous “419” fraud, all fall into this category. In the 419 scam, a foreign national (often a “Nigerian prince”) requests money and finagles access to personal and financial data with the lure of sharing his immense wealth. Advance-fee schemes typically involve the sale of a product or service or arranging a so-called profitable venture in exchange for a finder’s fee.

    Risks: Once the fee is paid, the scammer disappears. Identity theft is also a risk.

    Helpful resources: AARP’s ElderWatch offers advice on recognizing and reporting fraud.

    If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam there are local resources you can turn to, including the police, your bank (if money has been taken from your accounts), and Adult Protective Services. There’s also helpful information available at StopFraud.gov.

    Check out the second part in this series here!

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  • February 14, 2017 /  Resources

    8 Services for Senior Citizens

    We all need a little extra help sometimes, but this need generally intensifies for senior citizens – whether the effects of getting older or just facing changing circumstances cause it. Most people are familiar with assisted living facilities, but what about a specialist to help you pack your belongings and move? Or someone to help you pay your bills and stay organized?

    It is difficult when we realize that we can’t always do everything on our own. So it can be valuable to be aware of what kinds of services exist for senior citizens. With that in mind, here are 8 types of services that some senior citizen clients have found of value:

    1. Paying bills and getting organized: Are you now responsible for dealing with your household’s financial affairs, after your spouse previously handled things? Or do you need help paying bills, reconciling your checkbook, or tracking expenses? In-home bill payment and organization specialists can help you take control of your household financial situation again. These organizations will send experienced bookkeepers to your home to help you pay bills and handle paperwork. Using such a service alleviates some of the pressure and gives you added peace of mind.
    2. Downsizing your home, moving, or settling an estate: Are you looking to downsize your home? There are services that can take the stress out of moving by helping to sort through personal belongings, and help you decide what to take, sell, donate or give away. They can even pack your belongings and un-pack them at your new home. Usually these services have affiliations with appraisers who can help value and sell high-end items. In terms of moving to another home, it can be as simple as contacting a local moving company and finding out the cost of having your entire home packed and moved for you.
    3. Meal prep with an in-home chef: Are you unable to prepare meals any longer? There are services that send a chef to your home weekly to prepare food that meets specific dietary needs. These chefs can ensure you get all the nutrition you need, especially if you’re facing certain medical issues. And who doesn’t want tasty food served to them in the comfort of their own home? You might find someone experienced by signing up for a website such as Care.com and listing what you need.
    4. Patient advocates: Do you need help making medical decisions? Patient advocates and geriatric care managers can help tackle medical problems. Health care specialists are available who will accompany you to doctor appointments and help your family make decisions concerning medical issues, if needed. This can be an especially useful service when family members live out-of-town.
    5. Managing health insurance claims: Are you fighting health insurance claims? There are services that will organize, track and appeal your health insurance claims, which could be especially useful when there are large claims after an extended illness.
    6. Searching for assisted living: Do you need help finding the right assisted living option? There are services that know which facilities may be preferable for different situations and can guide you through negotiating costs and asking important questions. A Place for Mom is one such service that provides support and assistance at no cost to you.
    7. Claiming your VA benefits: If you, or your spouse, are a veteran and you are currently receiving care at home or in a facility, you may qualify for a VA Aid and Attendance Pension. Certain attorneys specialize in helping apply for this benefit. The Senior Veterans Service Alliance provides plenty of information that can help you look into it.
    8. Modifying your home for mobility: Do you want to stay at home but it’s difficult to maneuver? Small or large home modifications may allow you to remain living independently, and can be especially helpful for somebody with disabilities or mobility problems. There’s even options that offer financial assistance in paying for it. Check with your insurance, as well, to see if they cover any of the expenses.

    Don’t limit yourself into thinking that you can only get help through traditional services like in-home nursing or monthly cleaning. In today’s world, there are many options available for when you need that extra bit of help. It’s as simple as reaching for your phone or logging onto the internet. We hope these resources assist you!

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  • July 12, 2016 /  Basics, Resources

    This is a continuing series using information from the booklet written by the National Institute on Aging working with the National Institutes of Health called: Talking with Your Doctor.Involving Your Family, and Additional Resources (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIH Publication No. 05-3452 August 2005. Reprinted April 2010.)

    How Others Can Help

    Many people find it beneficial to involve some of their friends or family in their medical care. The booklet points out that you may feel more confident if someone else is with you. If you choose to have someone come along to the doctor, they can aid you in remembering exactly what you wanted to discuss. They can also remember details that the doctor told you.

    Your caretakers can also bring up issues of their own. It’s easy for them to forget that caring for themselves is one of the most important things they can do. When they’re refreshed, you benefit as well. When they have a chance to speak with your doctor, they can express concerns and ask questions. They might wonder what to expect in the future, where they can find encouragement, or what practical ways they can care for themselves.

    After the appointment, you can discuss what the doctor said together. “They can remind you of the important points and help you come up with questions to ask next time,” says the booklet.

    Even if they don’t go to your actual appointment, they can still be a sounding board. The booklet says, “They can help you practice what you want to say to the doctor before the visit. […] And they can help you come up with questions to ask next time.” Many find it a challenge to express their thoughts to their doctors, so going over it with someone beforehand is very useful.

    It’s important, however, to remember that they’re only there to be of assistance. The visit is still between you and your doctor. You don’t want to allow them to take over. You could choose to talk with your doctor alone, and bring your friend or family member in later on in the visit.  It’s wise to discuss boundaries and expectations in advance.

    Additional Resources

    Your friends and family aren’t the only way to get support. There’s a multitude of information available to you. The booklet recommends: “the Internet, home medical guides, books and articles available at libraries, national organizations or associations, other institutes within the National Institutes of Health, and self-help groups.” Staying informed and educated is essential to a healthy, working relationship with your doctor.

    You can look into government programs that give aid for health care, prescriptions, food and utilities. Approaching a counselor for advice goes a long way towards maintaining your emotional and mental health. Maintain your friendships with those facing the challenges of aging as well.

    Taking an active role in your health care will improve your sense of control, even during tumultuous times. It’s easy to feel too helpless when your health deteriorates, but it’s possible to get involved and be productive. By inviting friends or family to help out as well, you build a support system that will assist you in the hard times.

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  • June 27, 2016 /  Resources

    21st seniors brew festPlacer County’s finest wineries, microbreweries, cuisines, chocolates, live music, raffle, silent auction.

    The Fall Wine & Brew Fest is a fundraising event that supports the vital senior services and programs provided to Placer County seniors, helping them to remain independent and in their home for as long as possible.

    • When:   Saturday, August 20, 2016
    • Time:    5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Where: Blue Goose Event Center, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis, CA 95650

    Tickets are $50 each in advance and $60 at the door.

    Visit the Fall Wine & Brew Fest website for more information.

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  • September 25, 2015 /  Resources

    20th seniors brew festPlacer County’s finest wineries, microbreweries, cuisines, chocolates, live music, raffle, silent auction.

    The Fall Wine & Brew Fest is a fundraising event that supports the vital senior services and programs provided to Placer County seniors, helping them to remain independent and in their home for as long as possible.

    • When:   Saturday, October 24, 2015
    • Time:    5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Where: The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center, 2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn, CA

    Tickets are $45 each in advance and $50 at the door.

    Visit the Fall Wine & Brew Fest website for more information.

  • July 27, 2015 /  Basics, Dementia, Resources


    www.Caregiverstress.com Sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care Services

    Senior sexuality represents possibly the last remaining taboo. No one wants to talk about it. In a 2013 survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., fewer than one-third of adult children said they were even the slightest bit comfortable talking to their parents about senior sex.

    And that’s a problem, because certain medical conditions—like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease—can cause seniors to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior. This development can be disturbing for adult children and caregivers alike, and it can be difficult to manage. As a senior care professional, you can help your clients address these behaviors by sharing some tips and resources.

    Defining Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

    Let’s be clear about one thing: not all sexual behavior by seniors is “inappropriate.” Many seniors enjoy healthy sex lives well into older age. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found 25 percent of seniors over age 75 are having sex, and about 50 percent of those between ages 65 and 75 are also sexually active.

    No matter the age of the adult participants, consensual sexual behaviors can be considered normal and healthy—as long as the participants retain the cognitive ability to consent.

    When Sexual Behavior Becomes Inappropriate

    Unfortunately, cognitive decline can cause seniors to engage in inappropriate sexual behaviors outside of a loving relationship or in unsuitable environments. These behaviors can cause distress for family members and caregivers who may feel ill-equipped to deal with them.

    Let’s look at three common situations and how to cope with them.

    1. Masturbating in public

    “My father had vascular dementia. He started masturbating in public. Of course, I was appalled when I was told this and then I witnessed it. (I guess a part of me was hoping that I was being told incorrect info.)”

    If a family caregiver asks you for guidance regarding a senior loved one who is fondling himself in public, you might advise them to start with a medical examination. In seniors who can’t communicate well, public masturbation may signal a medical issue, such as pain or a urinary tract infection. These medical causes may be ruled out (or treated) with a physical exam conducted by a skilled geriatric practitioner.

    In our anonymous family caregiver’s case, a trip to the doctor did the trick. She said, “I involved his MD, who examined him, and then gave him a low dose of an anti-depressant medicine. The behavior stopped.”

    1. Inappropriate or unwelcome touching of others

    “My mom seems to have a problem sometimes. My hubby will give her a hug as he always has. But occasionally she puts her hands where they shouldn’t be. So hubby tries to avoid her… which confuses her when she wants that hug.”

    Sexual inappropriateness with dementia certainly is not limited to men. As this comment illustrates, women can develop wandering hands, too.

    One way to cope with wandering hands during embraces is to develop a new way to hug. Follow these steps:

    • As you approach the senior, stop a short distance away and raise both hands in front of you in a “stop”-like gesture. Smile and make eye contact.
    • Verbally encourage the senior to raise her hands in the same position.
    • Move forward and place your palms against hers. Quickly interlace your fingers to hold onto her hands.
    • Now that the senior’s hands are secured, you can guide their hands toward your shoulders as you lean in for a ‘hug,’ to touch cheeks or to give your loved one a kiss.
    • When the embrace is finished, back away and release the senior’s hands.

    This method allows seniors to enjoy the physical touch of family members while ensuring hands don’t inadvertently wander where they shouldn’t go.

    1. Stripping in public

    Because Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias reduce a person’s inhibitions, seniors with these conditions may not realize it’s inappropriate to take their clothes off in public. If a family member seeks your guidance on this issue, it’s important to point out this behavior may not be sexual in nature at all.

    Seniors with dementia may disrobe in public for a variety of reasons, from feeling too warm to experiencing an urgent need to urinate. If family members can figure out what triggers the behavior, they may be able to resolve the underlying issue.

    In the meantime, family members can manage the activity as it occurs. Advise them to always take a shawl or throw with them to cover their family member as the clothes come off. Help your clients find resources for clothing that is difficult to remove, such as items with fasteners in the back. Encourage family members to stay calm and not to shame their loved one. Be sure family members know their loved one cannot necessarily control this behavior.

    Keep the Conversation Going

    As a senior care professional, you have the opportunity to bring senior sexuality out into the open. While adult children report reluctance to talk about this subject, they seem to feel relieved when someone broaches the topic to them. As another member of the Alzheimer’s Reflections community put it:

    “I have been a caregiver for the past 18 years. In all that time I have never had that issue come up. It actually had never even occurred to me! How awesome that you have brought this subject to the forefront for discussion if the need arises!”

    This is the link for the article:


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  • April 21, 2015 /  Resources

    Big Day of GivingI am on the board serving Seniors First and we participate in the Big DoG (Big Day of Giving) program on May 5, 2015. Please consider giving through this link on May 5th. https://bigdayofgiving.org/#npo/seniors-first-inc

    The Big Day of Giving is a national event but has strong support in the Sacramento and Placer county regions. There are many good organizations that participate but only ONE Seniors First. This is becoming one of our largest funds raisers. Please go to the Seniors First page and see how we support our seniors (they are also listed on my resources page). http://www.seniorsfirst.org/

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  • September 3, 2014 /  Resources

    seniors brew festPlacer County’s finest wineries, microbreweries, cuisines, chocolates, live music, raffle, silent auction.

    The Fall Wine & Brew Fest is a fundraising event that supports the vital senior services and programs provided to Placer County seniors, helping them to remain independent and in their home for as long as possible.

    • When:   Saturday, November 8, 2014
    • Time:    5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Where: The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center, 2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn, CA

    Tickets are $45 each in advance and $50 at the door.

    Visit the Fall Wine & Brew Fest website for more information.

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  • January 29, 2014 /  Resources

    I have been in a couple of seminars with Stephen teaching and he has a lot to share. He cares about those with special needs (he grew up in that environment) and is a very strong advocate for the whole community. He is also a big supporter of the Professional Fiduciaries’ Association of California (a group that supports training, mentoring and high ethics for fiduciaries) and those who just found out that there are responsibilities of being a trustee of a special needs trust or conservatorship.

    You can either click on this link http://dalelawfirm.com/  or go to my Special Needs Resources tab and then look up the link to the office and then go to the educational videos tab and begin learning!

    I serve the counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba, as well as cities like Auburn, Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville, Sacramento, Placerville, and Woodland.

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