Friday, December 10, 2010
Day 9 Holiday Special with Janice Lauderdale
An American Tragedy of Elderly Abuse
This gut-wrenching tragedy is based on a true story of physical and emotional abuse by one family member perpetrated against an elderly aunt. It follows a trail of wicked greed and selfishness that leads to the unimaginable.
The victim’s niece, Danielle, makes the crucial discovery of abuse—it is her brother. He produces a bogus living trust naming himself as sole beneficiary. He has emptied their aunt’s safe deposit box of $70,000 cash and closed it down. Danielle takes that tedious step and does what must be done. She files suit to retrieve the victim’s cash, causing a bitter family split. She remains undeterred in seeking justice.
In court, the judge makes a decision that will shock those who think they’ve seen it all. This is one book that lays out abuse in all of its ugly forms—greed, violence, betrayal. Just as importantly, the author includes resources to help protect the elderly. She lists 10 warning signs of impending danger for the victim, and in selecting the caretakers. They are intended to make the elderly’s final days more comfortable and their wishes carried out. She warns that would-be abusers don’t have to be strangers—in fact, they often are not. For the first time, this author has done an incredibly daring job of putting a face on the 1.2 million elderly people who are abused every year.
Janice M. Lauderdale’s lifelong dream was to help the helpless. In her new book, “Wealth of the Wicked: An American Tragedy of Elderly Abuse,” she fulfills that dream.
The sadness for the victim’s loss at the hands of a perpetrator prompted Lauderdale to write a book that could assist others in the care for the elderly. Her book puts a face on the 1.2 million elder people who are abused each year. It reveals the warning signs to watch for when others move in close to the elderly with intentions of stealing their worldly goods and abusing them. Her book also points out ways to protect them. During guardianship of her aunt, everything she knew about togetherness, mutual respect, and love was shaken. She experienced the ripping apart of her family, seam by seam. She learned that elderly abuse was epidemic, and many families sweep the subject under the rug. Instead of dropping their heads in shame, Wealth of the Wicked allows families to realize that their silence aids their perpetrators to get away with their wicked ways. The more Lauderdale thought about writing the book, the more she heard other people tell their sad stories of elderly abuse. She realized that the 1.2 million helpless seniors who are abused in one way or the other every year needed a face, and Wealth of the Wicked: An American Tragedy of Elderly Abuse delivers that face.
Interview with Janice Lauderdale
1. Question: Where did you develop the passion to write your book?
Answer: My journey to becoming an author and an advocate for the elderly began when my elderly aunt allowed her nephew to move in to provide caregiver services. After a short 115 days, he manages to take her to the bank and emptied out her safe deposit box of some $70,000. And, if that wasn't enough, under menace and duress, he had her sign a bogus living trust naming him as the sole beneficiary of her paid-for home. After living through this nightmare, I was provoked to write my book, and after doing some have met so many other families with their stories of tragedy and regret. What made this experience all the more traumatic was the perpetrator of this awful travesty is my oldest brother.
2. Question: Were you able to retrieve any of the money?
Answer: There's an old slogan that fits this scenario to a tee "easy come -- easy go"; that was the way her nephew my brother viewed life through rose-colored lenses. For a short time (that's how long the money lasted) he was living the good life, not a care in the world but in short order that money was gone. But, he at no time has shown any remorse or expressed any regret.
3. Question: What was the reaction of your family?
Answer: In these type of situations, the fall-out is usually pretty devastating, mine being just that. It was just like someone came and drove a Mac truck through my family that still persists even today. How anyone could believe what he had done was right, I'll never know.
4. Question: When you and your brother were growing up did you get along? Answer: Not really. We were always butting heads when we were children, but thankfully I had grown up and matured and had tried to re-establish a friendship with him but with no real lasting results.
5. Question: Why are 50% of the crimes against the elderly committed by family members?
Answer: Often the elderly are lonely and vulnerable and very trusting towards family because they feel it's "safe" to trust family. As we age, we begin to let our guard down and too often predators will target the elderly because too often they know they're "ripe for the pickin." It's very sad how we treat our elderly.
6. Question: How do we as a society stop the abuse against the elderly?
Answer: First of all, we must admit that our country has a problem in the way we care for our elderly. Laws must be in place to properly punish these perpetrators who extract evil on the lives of these innocent ones. They must be held accountable. Also, we must ensure that when an individual reporting an abuse will not be given the run-around and become discouraged from future involvement.
7. Question: What do you believe are the benefits of your book?
Answer: My book is riveting and at the same time very sobering. It pulls the covers off this travesty which is occurring at the rate of 1.2 million a year. There's got to be something that can be done to protect our senior citizens who have lived their lives and just want to enjoy the balance of their days free from hurt and harm. The Reference Section in the back of the back provides invaluable information and warns individuals about the things they need to have in place as they begin to age, i.e. Living Trust and Power of Attorney.
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