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Hi, friends. Let’s enjoy our cup of coffee this morning, and discuss what I believe is pretty wonderful about our generation, and that is our trust in people. We grew up in a time when all that was needed was a man’s word and a handshake to complete a business transaction.

Well, certain people have figured this out about us and are aggressively taking advantage of this trust.

We seniors are becoming the target for elder abuse scammers. We read about it in the papers, and think that we wouldn’t fall for these schemes. But we do, because they sound plausible, the scam is presented by a very likable person, sincere, just wanting to be of service to you, wanting the best for you, but, in actuality, planning on relieving you of your cash.

The scams are numerous: Senior Investment Seminars and Workshop Scams; Annuities Seminar Scams’ Legal Documents & Trust Seminar Scams; Reverse Mortgages Seminar Scams; The VA Aid and Attendance Scams. Also, Grandparent Scams and Prize/Lottery Scams.

Beware, also, of mailers, emails and telephone calls.

I receive numerous scams every day. We just have to remind ourselves that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Don’t allow them to separate you from your cash. If, however, you buy into one of these schemes, and find yourself standing in line at your bank planning to withdraw a large sum of money, you would be wise to step out of the line, turn around and walk out of the bank, knowing that your money is safe for your future, and tell the scammer “adios.”

To discuss another form of elder abuse, you may have read last month’s front-page article of the Register titled “Caregiver sentenced to prison for $139,000 elder theft“ (April 11). This story dealt with financial elder abuse, when an elderly couple hired a caregiver who, over time, cashed several checks for $100,000. Maria Mendez has been convicted of this crime. She also pleaded no contest to three counts of violating the county’s law that requires caregivers to have a permit.

We’ve talked about this caregiver permit before. You will remember that the permit requires an extensive background check to determine if there is any criminal record.

While we’re on the subject of elder abuse, let’s discuss elder abuse in general, and the types of abuse. In the following instances, you would be doing a great service, “if you see something, say something.”

By that, I mean, if you become concerned about an incident of suspected elder abuse either in a rest home, or if an elderly neighbor shows signs of abuse, such as physical abuse, neglect, isolation, mental suffering, unexplained weight loss or bruising, please contact Adult Protective Services. You can ask that they not tell the neighbor who made the report.

Experts say the vast majority of abusive caregivers were family members. Approximately 90 percent are adult children, spouses, partners and others.

To emphasize the importance of being aware of your elderly neighbor’s state of health and appearance, you may recall an article in the Register a few years ago, a story about a 55-year-old son, Roger Witta, who was serving as caregiver for his 86-year-old mother. When she died, he was charged with elder abuse due to the condition of her body at the time of death. Her body was covered with bedsores, and she had not been properly bathed.

We truly need to pay attention to our elderly friends and neighbors. We need to look out for one another. Let’s make a point of reporting any signs of abuse. “If you see something, say something.”

Please help by calling Adult Protective Services at 707-253-4625 for suspected elder abuse of a neighbor or friend, and remember, the neighbor or friend will not be aware of who the reporting party was.

If you are disturbed by the condition of a friend in a long-term care residence, and you suspect elder abuse, please call the hotline at California Department of Social Services, at 844-538-8766.

Thank you, folks. We need to be heads-up, and take care of our own.

“It takes a village to care for our elders.”

So, let’s all be heads-up, take on this responsibility, and know we’re doing the right thing.

Count your blessings, be kind to one another, and we’ll talk about something more cheerful next week.

I always love to hear from you.

Contact Betty at


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