Elder protection versus right to autonomy

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Old 12-25-2007, 03:00 AM
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Muncle Muncle is offline
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Default Elder protection versus right to autonomy

Great article in the St. Pete's Times today about the legal status of "elderly" protection v. the right to independence. While it might seem that something like this really wouldn't affect most of us ~ after all, the case discussed is in California and we know that they're loons out there ~ the issue might be more germane than we think. On the one hand, there are more scum crooks out there than ever before. On the other, the nation moves closer and closer to a nanny state where the government takes care of everyone and no one is responsible for their actions. I'll include the first couple lines of the story and the link. It'd be worthwhile to read the whole thing.

Shielding Money Clashes With Elders Free Will
Eight years ago, when Robert J. Pyle was 73 years old, he had about $500,000 in the bank and owned a house in Northern California worth about $650,000. He was looking forward to a comfortable retirement.

Today, at 81, he has lost everything. Mr. Pyle, a retired aerospace engineer, now lives in his stepdaughters tiny, mountainside home in a room not much larger than his bed.

By his own admission, Mr. Pyle willingly made every decision that led to his financial problems. He gave away large sums to people he thought were friends, and then, in need of money, sold his house at a deep discount to the first person who offered to buy it.

Even so, he claims in a lawsuit that he should be compensated for some of his losses for a simple reason: he is old, and should not bear the full responsibility for his choices.

I still make pretty good decisions about most things, said Mr. Pyle, who shows no signs of dementia. But for others, I guess Im not as sharp as I was before, and people take advantage of that.

In the last few years, thousands of older Americans like Mr. Pyle have filed suits against companies and salespeople who have promoted dubious offers and schemes. These suits are unusual because the victims typically do not say they were intimidated or lied to, and they concede they freely made what turned out to be unwise decisions.


I had to go to the NY Times for the link.
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:28 AM
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Default Re: Elder protection versus right to autonomy

Thank you very much for this info; my parents are 81 and seem to be doing very well managing their money but my 83 yr old mother in law was recently scammed by Craftmatic Adjustable Bed for a regular length adjustable dual bed for almost $5,000!!! I had to do a lot of work to get the order canceled!

P. S. I found the same bed on line which could be purchased either from an on-line store or a brick and mortar store. The bed frame used by Craftmatic is made by a company called Leggett and Platt. A frame with all the bells and whistles (dual motors and massage) should cost no more than $1,000 to $1,200 and a good mattress may cost as much as $1,000 depending on your choice of quality, style and length of warranty. The cost of the same bed my mother in law had purchased from Craftmatic I could have bought for between $1,200 and $1,500 delivered and set up. The cheaper one takes longer for delivery.
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Old 12-31-2007, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Elder protection versus right to autonomy

Glad you were able to make a recovery for your mother in law. Brings to mind when my parents first got cable introduced in the area in Lake County FL. They unknowingly received or were ingnorant to the facts that they had subscribed to a complete movie package. My mom, who was mostly home bound, was very quickly introduced to "Real World" entertainment. I can remember her saying that she'd never heard the F word on television before.
Old 12-31-2007, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Elder protection versus right to autonomy

I have a hard time swallowing this lawsuit. "Oh, gee, I'm old and though I used to know better and there's really nothing wrong with my mind, I got duped and you should give me back my money." Let's face it, there are many people in his boat -- they took out the same stupid mortgages and they lost their home through foreclosure. Should they be able to sue because they didn't really understand what they were signing up for?

I do believe there should be a 30-day cooling off period for everyone when making a major purchase. If you discover within that 30-day period that you were cheated or the product does not live up to its claims, then you should be able to return it. I also believe that those who are not sophisticated enough to get into a deal should have the right to get out of the deal once they discover they've been cheated. Obviously, someone suffering from dementia or another illness that affects the mind, should have full protection.

However, to reap the benefits (I imagine Mr. Pyle got a bit of cash out every time he refied) and then whine that you were taken advantage of is a bit too much. If you can't tell, I'm very much opposed to this type of "protection" for the elderly -- protect them from abuse, YES; protect them from friends and relatives stealing their money, YES; protect them from their own bad decisions, NO.

I love California, but it has got to be one of the most sue-happy places on God's green earth. The unwillingness to take responsibility for one's actions is very prevalent there. Yeah, I did it but I didn't mean to mentality needs to stop. No wonder kids today are slackers and won't take responsibility. ARGH!!!!!
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