The Silver Standard News
"Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊                                ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊
I am not old, she said
I am rare
I am the standing ovation
at the end of the play
I am the retrospective
of my life
as art
I am the hours
connected like dots
into good sense
I am the fullness
of existing
you think I am waiting to die
but I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure
I am a map
these wrinkles are imprints
of my journey
ask me
Samantha Reynolds


TRAVEL            GARDENING     



Welcome to the Silver Standard News

As a central element of the outreach work of the Elder Abuse Reform Now (EARN) Project, it is our goal to bring you the latest news on developments in the fight to end financial elder abuse, as well as a wide range of other information to assist senior citizens and their loved ones. From detailing the progress of legislation aimed at ending the practice of financial elder abuse in each of the 50 states to telling the stories of those who have suffered from the effects of this practice, the Silver Standard News is dedicated to making sure that no senior citizen in this country is denied the right to control the assets and property that are rightfully theirs.

To achieve this goal, we will be working on several different fronts; whether it be unraveling legal terminology for our readers or giving them a way to connect with each other, we will work to improve the lives of America's senior citizens by giving them a voice that reflects their concerns and ensures that they are part of a larger community that has their interests at heart.

We will shine a cold light into the darkness of financial elder abuse and the involuntary guardianship that is the favorite tool of the financial abuser. Scrutinize every state, every city, and every court to make sure the citizens of each state understand precisely where their state, and each legislator, stands on financial elder abuse, and how well existing laws protect their elders and punish the abusers.

We will remind every politician that senior citizens control the largest block of money and the largest block of votes. We will apply our motto, taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." For we will be watching and reporting on the actions of those powerful Americans who, while enjoying the salaries and perks of office provided by the American tax payers, have failed the greatest generation and are now failing their baby boomer children.

In addition, we will give our readers. a look at the human faces behind every aspect of this struggle--not just victims but politicians, legislators, home care administrators, professional guardians, businesses. We will tell the personal stories of the people who have lost their money, homes and dignity due to unscrupulous individuals who are often allowed to act under the cloak of legality. But we will also tell the stories of those who have fought back, who have refused to take the existing state of affairs lying down, and who are winning their battles. We will tell you about those officeholders who are, and have been, their champions. Our aim is to empower our readers, to make them aware that they do not have to simply accept the way things are. Though they may be past the age of lying down on courthouse steps or participating in noisy demonstrations, we will encourage them to put their voice, their votes and their money to good use on the elder abuse front. Collectively, especially when joined by those who love them and younger people who don't want this evil to invade their "Golden Years"—they can create a mighty roar.

Though our principle focus is to inform and make elder abuse a sin of the past, we also hope we will amuse and entertain. Tell us what you want, what your concerns are, how you feel we can do a better job to make the Silver Standard News a vital source for all seniors and their adult children. We look forward to hearing from you.



Kevin Badu will be keeping us current on all legal changes throughout the country as well as at the Federal level. He will also help us understand how well our local politicians are doing in keeping the senior citizens of their state safe from financial elder abuse and involuntary guardianship. Kevin earned his Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is currently working on an MBA in Finance at the University of Connecticut UConn School of Business. He has worked for law firms and legal organizations in Michigan and New York and has taught as a College professor in China. Presently, Kevin is preparing for the New York State Bar Admission examinations.
Elizabeth Sinclair will be peeking into all corners of the earth to help our readers who would like to spend their leisure time in an invigorating and comfortable style. Liz is a writer, traveler, social media manager and digital nomad who makes her home on 2 continents and an island chain. She writes about travel, health and social issues. Her ultimate dream is to have a tiny house in the country.
Mary West is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a broad spectrum of publications. A lifelong avid reader, she takes keen delight in the written word.
Bill Wine was film critic for WTXF-TV in Philadelphia for 12 years and, since 2001, has served as the film critic for CBS’s KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia. He has taught undergraduate film courses at La Salle University as a tenured Associate Professor of Communication. Bill is the winner of three Emmy awards.



By Mary West

Studies show that the care of America’s elderly and infirmed not only fails to meet federal nursing home regulations but federal laws governing the treatment of animals

Just how badly are some nursing home residents treated? Do they receive better care than animals in a zoo or dogs in a kennel? A recent report issued by the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) compared animal care standards to the experiences of individuals in long-term care facilities. The authors concluded that care of the elderly and infirmed often not only fails to meet federal nursing home regulations—it also falls short of requirements for humane animal treatment.

A 2014 study by the OIG found that one third of Medicare beneficiaries who enter a nursing home are harmed within approximately two weeks.

The LTCCC report was based on research that evaluated several categories such as abuse, nutrition, and medical supervision. Guidelines for animal care mandated by federal law and oversight agencies served as standards on which to base the comparisons of nursing home experiences. Each category assessed revealed cause for alarm. It’s frightening to think that a precious parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle may not receive even the basic treatment due a pet.

Abuse and Neglect

According to the Standards for New World Primates, physical abuse and punishment-based training should never be used in handling non-human primates. While federal standards prohibit the abuse of nursing home residents, state and federal oversight agencies are lax in enforcing them.

Mistreatment and neglect top the list of concerns relating to long-term care because they cause suffering that takes many forms. The harmful effects can be so severe that they culminate in death.

Statistics like a 2019 report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) underscore how abuse has serious outcomes. It estimated that one in five Medicare claims from nursing home residents visiting the emergency room stemmed from mistreatment.

Furthermore, once someone is admitted to a long-term care facility, the abuse frequently starts quickly. A 2014 study by the OIG found that one third of Medicare beneficiaries who enter a nursing home are harmed within approximately two weeks.

46 percent of older residents in long-term care facilities had impending or current dehydration

Nutrition and Hydration

The Animal Welfare Act states that hamsters and guinea pigs should be fed daily and that the chow needs to be palatable, free of contamination, and sufficiently nutritious to meet the animals’ needs. Federal standards for nursing home residents stipulate that meals be appetizing, healthy, and appropriate in size.

Sadly, individuals in long-term care facilities aren’t always treated as well as rodents. It’s not unusual for them to receive insufficient food and water, the fundamental necessities for life.

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Gerontology discovered that 64 to 80 percent of nursing home residents consumed less fluid and food than amounts recommended in federal guidelines. In a 2020 article featured in Age Ageing, the authors estimated that 46 percent of older residents in long-term care facilities had impending or current dehydration.

Dehydration is a condition that can be life threatening if not caught in time. In a 2019 hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, legislators heard the account of an Alzheimer’s resident in an Iowa facility who was denied water for several days. The person died after developing dehydration.

Food and water safety is also an issue. A 2019 report in Fair Warning detailed often-unreported problems in nursing homes such as moldy ice machines and food-borne disease outbreaks.

Freedom from Restraints

Guidelines from the 2016 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians note that physically restraining animals without sedation should be reserved for use only during medical procedures. Federal requirements mandate that nursing homes shouldn’t use physical or chemical restraints on residents for purposes of convenience or discipline.

All of us have felt sympathy for a dog that is chained much of the time and not allowed to run loose within a fenced-in enclosure. Individuals in long-term care facilities are sometimes similarly restrained.

Bedrails, one form of physical restraint, represent a source of preventable harm because residents can climb over and around them. A New York Times review reported that from 1995 to 2012, bedrails were implicated in 550 deaths. These restraints are sometimes necessary, but they shouldn’t be used without supervision.

Nursing homes frequently use drugs to sedate residents for the convenience of caregivers. A 2018 Human Rights Watch report said that in an average week, they administer antipsychotic medications to 179,000 individuals who haven’t been diagnosed with the disorders. The drugs promote docility, but their sedating actions have significant side effects. Use of medications as chemical restraints is unacceptable.

Skin Care

In 2020, standards listed by the Associations of Zoos & Aquariums advise staff to inspect the skin of elephants daily and treat problem areas. Federal nursing home standards specify that residents receive skin care to prevent and treat pressure sores.

Because of mobility limitations, individuals in long-term care are in constant danger of pressure sores, but they aren’t afforded the skin care recommended for elephants. LTCCC reported that more than 93,000 nursing home residents have these maladies. Pressure sores can become infected and take months to heal; if untreated, they result in complications, some of which lead to death.

Medical Supervision

Under the Animal Welfare Act, attending veterinarians should examine each marine animal in their care once a month, which must include an interview with a staff member familiar with the creature. Federal rules for nursing homes call for a doctor to examine every resident once a month for the first three months after admission and once every two months thereafter.

Adequate medical supervision can prevent or reduce many perils of living in a long-term care facility. If problems are caught early, they can often be remedied; but when staff is short, many issues go undetected. Data from showed that in 2018, oversight agencies issued 3,876 citations for insufficient numbers of nurses and doctors in nursing homes.

The LTCCC report cited several cases of disorders that occurred due to a lack of doctor and nursing care. One involved the failure to monitor an individual getting intravenous therapy, which resulted in electrolyte imbalances and a decline in neurological functions. In another case, the lack of staff compliance to provide doctor-ordered range of motion exercises and splints to a resident’s impaired joints led to the worsening of contractures. Surveyors noted both violations as “no harm.”

Most people have heard of the mistreatment that some nursing home residents endure, but it’s sobering to know the extent and scope of the problem. The reality that individuals often don’t get the quality of care experts advocate for animals is a terrible indictment of America’s health care system. Although we treasure our pets, the value of human life is so much greater. Our country’s seniors, who have given decades of love and service to their families and communities, deserve that the same care be reciprocated to them when they are frail and infirmed.



On August 23, 1973 Jan-Erik Olsson pulled a loaded submachine gun and fired at the ceiling of a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. After wounding a policeman, Olsson and a partner took four bank employees hostage, herding them into a bank vault.

He then quickly established a first-name relationship with the hostages and, over a period of six days, swung back and forth between threats of physical harm and acts of thoughtfulness, created an atmosphere where the hostages’ fear of and reliance on their captor resulted in a reaction now referred to as Stockholm Syndrome.

The robber’s benevolent acts curried the sympathy of his hostages. “When he treated us well,” said one hostage, “we could think of him as an emergency God.” They began to fear the police more than their captor. One hostage called the Prime Minister and pleaded with him to let the robbers take her with them in the escape car, saying that she fully trusted him and she feared that the police “…will attack and cause us to die.”

Once the robbers were captured, the hostages embraced, kissed, and shook hands with them. One shouted to the handcuffed criminals, “…I will see you again.” Some days later, one asked a psychiatrist, “Is there something wrong with me? Why don’t I hate them?” The psychiatrists explained that their experience was similar to that of a shell-shocked POW—the hostages had become so emotionally indebted to their abductors that they began to see the abductors, rather than the rescuers, as their saviors.

Just think, four people—all young, healthy, and in complete control of their faculties—and every one of them was totally brainwashed over a period of just six days…six days.

A great deal of financial elder abuse comes through deception and undue influence very similar to this sort of brainwashing,. It most often takes place in locations where there are no witnesses o step in. Usually, it starts out clothed in a velvet glove, but it ends all too frequently in tragedy—and even violence and death. It comes from family, bankers, lawyers, financial advisors, helpful neighbors, tradesmen, housekeepers, caregivers, and total strangers.

Most of us know a woman in her 70s or early 80s—a mother whose husband of many years, the person who dealt with home repairmen and almost all financial decisions, is now gone. One who has begun to find more and more of her friends names showing up on the obituary page, and others who can no longer drive. One whose children live hectic lives with children, grandchildren, and jobs. And the winter weather keeps her at home and alone too much.

A couple of friends may be trying to get her to follow their move to sunny Florida. She is in excellent health, she has all her wits about her, and her kids have been worried about the direction her life has been taking, so everyone decides Florida is just the answer 

Things look good—she found a nice house to buy, the kids talk to her every few days and are delighted to hear she has landed next to a lovely couple who drop in every few days to make sure she is OK and offer to do her shopping at the same time they do theirs.

The neighbor husband says she does not need to hire someone to mow her tiny lawn—he is happy to do it when he mows his own lawn.

When she is not feeling well, the wife recommends a doctor, takes her there, and then brings her soup for the next few days.

Soon, she is frequently receiving gifts of homemade meals and flowers from their garden.

Her roof springs a leak and he offers to deal with the roofing man for her and, when she writes the check for the work, he mentions that he has a nephew who is very good at helping seniors increase their income.

The nephew is a lovely young man. But, she thinks she will just keep this to herself and not tell her children. “They always think I’m helpless… wait until they see how much money I make,” she thinks.

The neighbors take her to a social club, and for the first time in a long time she is with a group of people laughing and dancing and enjoying themselves. A very nice man asks her to dance. He’s a little younger than she but later he calls and asks her out to dinner. He brings her gifts—he’s a bit flirty—it feels so good—she’s alive again.

The seduction has begun.

Or perhaps it’s a widower in his 60s. He married his high school sweetheart. Though life gave them some bumps in the road from time to time, they were a team, they always got through it together. Now he has sold his business for a very healthy sum, or retired with a good pension, and they are going to do all the things they could not do while busy raising children and building his business. Then, disease killed all those dreams. Now, he is alone without the one who always had his back and who had always been there to bring sunshine into a grey day.

At first, friends made sure to keep him busy, but months go buy and that dwindles off. He has lunch with his retired friends, and plays golf as often as weather allows. He has taken to going to movies in the afternoon—not much fun alone.

He can never find anything he is looking for; he keeps forgetting to renew his prescriptions, he ran out of clean shirts and can’t find the name of the laundry. Some nights he eats at a restaurant alone, others he stops by the Chinese take-out or that pizza place they had both liked, or he gets one of those delicious roast beef sandwiches they always ordered from their favorite deli.

When he gets home, the lights are off—it’s so quiet. She always had music playing. He opens his sandwich, gets himself a drink, and settles into his cozy chair. The sandwich doesn’t taste as good as it used to. He turns on the news, but there is no one to discuss it with, and it’s all the same old same old anyway so he turns it off. He settles in with a book—it’s so quiet.

After a few months, he hires someone to take care of the housework. Her resume is impressive. She is working to support her unwell mother while trying to save enough to go to go back to college—It’s also nice to have someone around who is always interested in what he has to say.

She makes things he likes to eat and brings them to him as a surprise. Soon she is cooking dinner for him. She seems to always know just where everything is. He has clean shirts, his meds are always at the bedside, dinner is hot and delicious—almost as good as his wife’s. She is young yet she finds his conversation fascinating. She tells him he is much more interesting than men her age. She tells him, to look at him, no one would believe he was in his 60s.

Now, the lights are on when he gets home—it’s no longer quiet, and there is someone there who finds him attractive and interesting.

The seduction has begun. It may take more than six weeks, but it won’t take long.

Margaret Singer, Ph.D. (1922–2003) was a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a nationally renowned expert on cults and brainwashing. In the 1990s doctor Singer, by that time a senior citizen herself, turned her attention to the problem of undue influence in elder abuse, saying, “People who are clearly competent from a legal and psychological standpoint are making decisions that just don't make sense to us. Undue influence seems to offer an explanation… People use their roles to exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of others…They use this power to deceptively gain control over decision making.” 

I am a good example of a tough old bird who wants to help the other old birds see to it that their roofs and swings and cages don't get stolen.
Margaret Singer

Obtaining frequent access to a senior citizen provides an abuser with an opportunity to censor mail and, using all manner of excuses and explanations, reduce outside contact and visits, especially from family and close friends. With comments from the abuser, the senior begins to feel they have been brushed aside by loved ones and makes it easy for the abuser to convince the senior that they are the only one who really care about them. According to Doctor Singer, they frequently start to infantilize the senior, or over medicate them, and soon the older person feels totally dependent on the abuser. She says they create a “siege mentality” similar to the brainwashing of captives and hostages. They terrorize seniors into believing that only they can protect them from being removed from their home and placed in an institution or from having all their possessions and means of support taken from them. Some use what are commonly called “gaslighting” techniques, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, and weakening their self-esteem. They also frequently use reduction of food as a weapon. Both fear and nutritional deprivation will incapacitate even the most intelligent person, let alone an elderly person who is beginning to experience a feeling of helplessness, abandonment by those they love, and distrusting their own memory. Or, worse yet, they have been convinced their loved ones are plotting against them, which often results in the victim identifying with the abuser and rejecting those who love them and are trying to save them.

In the documentary The Unforgivable Truth, produced by The Silver Standard, you can hear a very distressed mother screaming at her daughter to go away because “Don says you can’t be here”—even though Don has her living in a dirty house, sleeping in filthy sheets, without regular healthy home-cooked meals, cut off from the daughters with whom she has always been very close, and clearly terrorized. All of this is the absolute opposite situation from that which she enjoyed under the protection of her loving daughters. Yet, she is rejecting the daughters. In the end she died alone in that dirty bed.

Dr. Singer stresses the importance of remaining actively involved in the life of loved ones who are elderly. Do all you can to keep them in a position where the possibility of their falling victim to brainwashing or undue influence is greatly diminished.

Make sure they have plenty of mental stimulation.

Visit as often as you can.

Call frequently—it does not have to be a long conversation, just check in a couple of times a day to let them know you love them.

Arrange visits from friends or individuals from their religious organizations.

Make sure they eat three nutritious meals a daily …stock their freezer.

Make sure that any dentures fit properly so eating is not a problem.

Make sure a log is kept of medication intake.

Make sure their eyes are examined regularly.

Make sure they have the proper lenses in their glasses.

Make sure their hearing is checked regularly and hearing aids provided if necessary.

Make sure they have books on tape if reading is not possible.

Make sure they have both a radio and a TV.

If possible, arrange to have them taken to a senior center, church group, or social organization once or twice a week.

If possible, make arrangements for them to participate in bridge, or other game, book, or Bible study groups.

If they are fragile, have the mail sent to your office or a lawyer’s office, and do it before they get to a point of being vulnerable to anyone who might have inappropriate motives.

If a home health care worker, or anyone else, tells you they are too ill for you to visit, drop in anyway—take some bright flowers—you don’t have to stay long

It is best to do everything possible to prevent the situation from happening in the first place. However, sometimes a close relative or friend can step in and save the senior. But that is only if the abuser is not also a guardian—which is all too often the case.

When you have a loved one who is clearly in decline, gather family and discuss guardianship by family members before a stranger, family services, or the court system gets involved.

One by one each of us can try to protect those we love, but the instances of elder abuse in this country, especially financial elder abuse, are growing at an alarming rate. A shocking number of American seniors, who should be enjoying their golden years, are suffering and dying from the tragic circumstances of elder abuse.

In the end, no matter how hard individuals try to prevent it or stop it once it has begun, elder abuse will only become a sin of the past when every state makes the penalties for abusing a senior so harsh that it's not worth taking the chance.

Note: Much of the information on Dr. Singer was taken from a 1996 interview by NCPEA



The House Select Committee on Aging began talking about elder abuse way back in 1978. In 1981 they issued a report encouraging states to do something—simple encouragement does not go a long way in the halls of government where lobbyists lurk, and 42 years later very few states have done anything substantial—just a few band-aids here and there is about all.

In most states it is mandatory that in order to prosecute financial elder abuse it must be proven that the elderly person suffers from diminished capacities. Retired San Diego Assistant District Attorney Paul Greenwood, the country’s greatest defender of seniors, says that he believes that this is the explanation for so few cases getting prosecuted. As a result, it has now become a full-fledged epidemic. Greenwood and many other experts agree that each state should have a very simple law stating that anyone who steals anything from a person over the age of 65 has committed financial elder abuse, and the penalties for financial elder abuse should be harsh.

Unfortunately, the precision, lack of ambiguity, and almost guaranteed assurance of a quick win for prosecutors of such a law are so obvious that only a politician or lawmaker is unable to understand it. But of course, those of us who do understand it do not chum around with lobbyists.

Lately, the federal government has passed a few laws, but they are nowhere near as effective as they need to be. Individuals who live in states who refuse to protect their senior citizens must be able to turn to the Federal government for protection—they are, after all, Americans first.

The state of Alabama has done a very good job in creating laws that are difficult for a slick lawyer to slip his client through, with well-defined terminology and stiff penalties.

In Alabama, financial exploitation is defined as:

The use of deception, intimidation, undue influence, force, or threat of force to obtain or exert unauthorized control over an elderly person's property with the intent to deprive the elderly person of his or her property or the breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person by the person's guardian, conservator, or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the elderly person's property.



Undue influence is defined as:

Domination, coercion, manipulation, or any other act exercised by another person to the extent that an elderly person is prevented from exercising free judgment and choice.



Intimidation is defined as:

A threat of physical or emotional harm to an elderly person, or the communication to an elderly person that he or she will be deprived of food and nutrition, shelter, property, prescribed medication, or medical care or treatment.



Deception is defined as occurring when:

A person knowingly creates or confirms another's impression which is false and which the defendant does not believe to be true.

Fails to correct a false impression which the defendant previously has created or confirmed.

Fails to correct a false impression when the defendant is under a duty to do so.

Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved.

Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property, failing to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether that impediment is or is not valid, or is not a matter of official record.

Promises performance which the defendant does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed.


Doesn’t that all sound clear and reasonable to you? Can you think of any reason that this sort of law is not on the books in all states?

Well it isn’t.



In the following states’ the laws protect only seniors who are considered legally impaired, dependent, endangered, or vulnerable. So, the widow and widower described earlier in this article would be out of luck—as would be your loved ones unless they are seriously ill or demented:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico

North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,

Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming



The following states do not define undue influence in any way that would make a would-be abuser worry about swift and successful prosecution:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut

Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana,

Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts

Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska

Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York

North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon

Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota

Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming



The following states do not define deception in any way that would make an abuser worry about prosecution:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut

Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa

Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts

Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota

Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming



The following states do not define intimidation in any way that would make an abuser worry about prosecution:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut

Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa

Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts

Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska

Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York

North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon

Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota

Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

West Virginia, Wisconsin



Residents of these states, rich or poor, have a legitimate cause for concern. Abusers don’t discriminate when it comes to money—a dollar is a dollar, no matter who you get it from.



By Bill Wine

Directorially speaking, there are two Guy Ritchies.

There’s the writer-director who emerged a couple decades ago as the king of violent, frenetic, profane British gangster films such as Snatch, Revolver, RocknRolla, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

But there’s also the Guy Ritchie who, since then, has shepherded an eclectic array of—good and bad—less muscular, more thoughtful works that showed off his behind-the-camera range, including Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Aladdin, Swept Away, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Well, No-More-Mr.-Nice Guy has returned to what was, for a while, his comfort zone in a high-energy gangland thriller, a crime dramedy ironically titled The Gentlemen.

Which is to say that gentlemen of one sort or another are in very short supply in this bloody underworld yarn.

Matthew McConaughey stars as one Mickey Pearson, an American living in England as a drug lord ruling over a marijuana empire in London who’s trying to unload his lucrative holdings to a gaggle of Oklahoma billionaires so he can retire and emerge from the rat race. But certain other underworld underachievers would rather steal it out from under him than actually purchase anything.

In true Ritchie style, the high-energy narrative is crowded with plot points, while unreliable narrators and backstabbing schemes abound. No one can be trusted, storylines compete for our attention, twists and turns and curveballs and convolutions crop up on cue, the fourth wall is bent if not broken, and the cannabis caper earns a decent number of laughs as it tries to balance action and humor.

Come to think of it, it’s almost a comedy.


The ensemble cast is adept, especially Hugh Grant, who is cast against type but pretty much steals the film itself as an ambitious and manipulative private eye, with Colin Farrell as a gangster-in-chief, Michelle Dockery also cast against type as Mickey’s who-knows-what-she’s-up-to wife, and Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and Jeremy Strong fitting right in.

Kingpin McConaughey, oozing characteristic charm, plays it fairly straight, allowing the out-there supporting bees to keep buzzing around him.

The Gentlemen does its share of winking at gangster-flick conventions, while Ritchie, who clearly loves the foul-mouthed genre—and maybe a bit too much at that—richly earns an R rating for violence, obscenity-laden language, sexual references, and drug content.

We do not, it should be stated up front, ever really come to care about any of these shady and murderous gents, as Ritchie is satisfied maintaining the goings-on as a spectator sport. But fans of the genre should be diverted and perhaps even rewarded.

That’s because the film is menacing when it needs or wants to be—which is relatively often—even if this yarn may be a bit too nasty for its own good. But it also seems to recognize that fans of “early Ritchie” have long since decided whether or not they have any interest in the underworld under the microscope. 

Ritchie isn’t recruiting: as they say in politics, he’s playing to his base. Consequently, his faithful, grateful audience will welcome him back, while his detractors will continue to slam on the been-there-done-that brakes.

It’s not necessarily a return to form for the director, especially when you consider how accomplished some of his other projects have been: the Sherlock Holmes flicks immediately come to mind.

But The Gentlemen is a vivid demonstration of what happens when Ritchie gets itchy.




Let it Snow      Let it Snow      Let it Snow

Elizabeth Sinclair

If you’re a skier, there’s nothing that gets your blooding pumping more than the thought of gliding down a steep course with fresh powder or—if you’re into Nordic sports—gliding through a silent white forest on well-maintained tracks. Resorts and ski areas around the country opened in October or November and will stay open until April or even later, so you can still plan a ski trip this year.

Non-skiers don’t have to miss out on winter sports. For those of you who don’t like skiing, there is snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow tubing, zip lining, and many other activities.

We’ve put together a list of popular ski regions in North America. You don’t need to travel far this winter to have an epic ski vacation. Depending on where you live, you might even be able to simply pack up the family, the fur kids, and the car and take a road trip! We’ve included Canada, as for some states, getting across the border may be closer than travelling across the country.



While Canada is home to 250 resorts, most of them cluster in the East and West, so you could visit several resorts on a single trip. Known for deep powder snow and steep runs, Canada’s skiing is world famous. Several major Canadian cities, such as Montreal or Quebec, have ski resorts within a short drive. Best of all, the Canadian Lift Pass Program lets you buy packages of lift tickets in advance at a reduced price.

Whistler Blackcomb, one of Canada’s best known ski areas, is the largest in North America. The ski season in Canada runs from November to April, but some areas—British Columbia and Alberta—can stay open until June. For the more adventurous, our northern neighbor has great spots for helicopter or cat-skiing out of bounds, such as Banff. The Telegraph newspaper offers a good rundown of Canada’s ten best resorts, including hotel recommendations.



Colorado boasts 28 ski and snowboard resorts—more than any other state, according to Colorado Tourism. The state is home to the town of Telluride, the top-ranked skiing area in North America. Most of the snow sites open in early October and close in late April. In addition, Colorado has the highest altitude lift-served terrain in the country—which means more dry, fluffy powder and steep runs. Small mountain towns around resorts offer a range of options for accommodation and dining.For people who prefer cross-country to downhill skiing, the state has over 20 Nordic centers (mostly in resorts) as well as an extensive network of state and national parks where you can swoosh through quiet winter forests on cross-country trails.



Idaho is the birthplace of lift-assisted skiing, which skiers now take for granted, according to Ski Idaho. The state is home to 18 ski resorts, with five close to Idaho Falls and three near Boise. The Idaho ski season runs from mid-November to April. The Ski Idaho site was set up by the Idaho Travel Council and offers links to all the state’s resort areas.


New Hampshire

New Hampshire, with its cold, snowy winters, has more than 25 ski areas in the state. Mount Sunapee Resort is the home base of the New England Handicapped Sports Association and offers disabled skier access. The state is home to the most extensive system of cross-country trails in the Eastern United States. Ski areas open across the state after Thanksgiving and close in April. The Visit New Hampshire website has a list of ski areas, links for places to stay and eat, as well as suggestions for the non-skiing members of your family, including dogsledding, snowmobiling, or hunting.



Utah may be the best one-stop shop for skiers: the state offers 11 resorts within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City, according to the Visit Utah website, out of a total of 15 across the state. The website has a handy feature that lets you choose the best Utah ski resort to match your skill level and interests, as well as a custom itinerary planner. Utah’s ski season typically runs from mid-November through April. You can combine skiing with road trips to stargaze or drive along the Dinosaur Diamond Highway, exploring fossil sites. Salt Lake City is a major air travel hub and a short plane ride from most US destinations. Utah is also home to the well-known Sundance Film Festival in January, so you can combine film viewing and skiing.



You might think of cowboys, ranches, and cattle drives when you think of Wyoming. However, the state offers eight ski areas for visitors, including the well-known Jackson Hole Mountain and the family-friendly Snowy Range. Wyoming ski season generally starts in late November and runs until April. The Travel Wyoming website has good links for ski information, trip planning, places to stay, and information on national parks and monuments. Winter activities other than skiing include ice fishing, ice climbing, ice skating, and visiting local hot springs. Yellowstone National Park is only three miles from the Sleeping Giant Ski Area near the city of Cody.





On the EARN website under “State Info,” There is a drop-down list where you can find all the legal information about Financial Elder Abuse and involuntary Guardianship for your state.

As we researched each state, a question arose—though the public chooses those who will represent their interests and safety and, through one manner of taxation or another, pay the salaries of those representatives as well as Attorney Generals, Judges, and District Attorneys, why is there so little concern shown for the senior citizens in so many states? It is particularly perplexing given the fact that those very senior citizens are, more often than not, paying the largest share of the taxes and casting the largest share of the votes.

Over the next year, we will compare all 50 states, each month we will carry forward the state that was the best in the previous month’s comparisons, to see...



Financial Exploitation of Elders Comparison of State laws protecting Elders against Financial Exploitation 
Alabama Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota
Does the State define an elder? Yes. Person 60 years or older Yes. Person 60 years or older No. Vulnerable Adult No. Vulnerable or Disabled Adults
State laws protect elders against financial exploitation? Yes Yes No. Vulnerable Adult No. Vulnerable or Disabled Adults
Are there penalties for financial exploitation of elders? Yes. Divided into Classes of Felony Yes Yes Yes. For vulnerable or diabled adults
Is there a duty to report financial exploitation of elders No Yes Yes No
Is there a penalty for failure to report? No Yes Yes No
Does the State law define financial exploitation? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Does the State's Elder law define the following:
a) Deception Yes Yes No No
b) Undue Influence Yes No No No
c) Intimidation Yes No Yes No
How does the State define
a) Financial Exploitation Financial Exploitation means the use of deception, intimidation, undue influence, force, or threat of force to obtain or exert unauthorized control over an elderly person's property with the intent to deprive the elderly person of his or her property or the breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person by the person's guardian, conservator, or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the elderly person's property Financial Exploitation means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses. Financial Exploitation means:
a) causing or requiring a vulnerable adult to engage in activity or labor which is improper, unlawful, or against the reasonable and rational wishes of the vulnerable adult. Exploitation does not include requiring a vulnerable adult to participate in an activity or labor which is a part of a written plan of care or which is prescribed or authorized by a licensed physician attending the patient;
(b) an improper, unlawful, or unauthorized use of the funds, assets, property, power of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship of a vulnerable adult by a person for the profit or advantage of that person or another person; or
(c) causing a vulnerable adult to purchase goods or services for the profit or advantage of the seller or another person through: (i) undue influence, (ii) harassment, (iii) duress, (iv) force, (v) coercion, or (vi) swindling by overreaching, cheating, or defrauding the vulnerable adult through cunning arts or devices that delude the vulnerable adult and cause him to lose money or other property.
Exploitation: A person is guilty of exploitation of a disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult if:

a. The person stands in a position of trust and confidence or has a business relationship with the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or attempts to obtain or use, the disabled adult's or vulnerable elderly adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the property, for the benefit of someone other than the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult; or

b. The person knows that the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult lacks the capacity to consent, and obtains or uses, or attempts to obtain or use, or assists another in obtaining or using or attempting to obtain or use, the disabled adult's or vulnerable elderly adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the property for the benefit of someone other than the disabled adult or vulnerable elderly adult.
b) Deception Deception occurs when a person knowingly: a) Creates or confirms a false impression b) Fails to correct a false impression the defendant created or confirmed; c) Fails to correct a false impression when the defendant is under a duty to do so; d) Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved; e). Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property, fails to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property. Deception means misrepresenting or concealing a material fact relating to:
(i) Services rendered, disposition of property, or use of property, when such services or property are intended to benefit an elder person; or
(ii) Terms of a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or
(iii) An existing or preexisting condition of any property involved in a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or
(iv)Using any misrepresentation, false pretense, or false promise in order to induce, encourage or solicit an elder person to enter into a contract or agreement.
c) Intimidation Intimidation is a threat of physical or emotional harm to an elderly person, or the communication to an elderly person that he or she will be deprived of food and nutrition, shelter, property, prescribed medication, or medical care or treatment None
d) Undue Influence Undue Influence means domination, coercion, manipulation, or any other act exercised by another person to the extent that an elderly person is prevented from exercising free judgment and choice. None None



Letters to the Editor

As we have just begun, we have not yet received any letters. I certainly hope that you will write to us: tell us about your experience with Financial Elder Abuse or Involuntary Guardianship. We will also be looking for people to interview for our monthly video and lovely photographs for our cover.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving demonstrated how much change can be accomplished when we all speak as one and insist on change. Now, it is time for Americans to again speak as one—create a roar so loud we cannot be ignored--no longer tolerating the abuse of our senior citizens.

Join The EARN Project. The membership is free. It will provide you with notifications when your Senate or House have a Bill, concerning Financial Elder Abuse and Involuntary Guardianship, coming up. It will provide a contact to all pertinent officials, through the EARN Project for you to make sure your concerns are heard and addressed. It also gives you access to information on all the laws in your state and an emergency contact list for your state which, at this time, are open to all on our website but, will soon be for members only.

Earn has picked up the baton, won't you please join the chorus —without you there is no roar and no change.

Looking forward to seeing what you send us

Sharon de Lobo


please send your letters through the EARN Contact Form or directly to