Latest news from the Council on Elder Abuse

April 06, 2021Read Story April 2021 Meeting: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April 2021 Meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 Meeting at 9:00am via Zoom.

April 06, 2021Read Story April 2021 Meeting Notes: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Meeting Notes: April 6, 2021


Agency Updates- who is open, who is doing visits, etc.
• VA + MOW- all virtual visits
• JFS: Health Home and Refugee are rotating. Geriatric is not doing visits- all telehealth/phone.
• DA- open and in office.
• Senior Services: Home visits are by phone; work from home/office blended work schedule. County opening set for June 1.
• APS- open and doing visits. Limited staffing in office. Exception: facilities that are not allowing visits.
• Catholic Charities- virtual/in person blend based on program.
• Ombudsmen- virtual, rotating in office. Starting to go back into facilities, based on COVID status.

  • NY Times ‘Hit the Wall’ Article
  •  Buffalo News ‘Loneliness and the impact on physical/mental health’ article

WEAAD (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day): express interest in participating in the committee or ideas to Kathy Kanaley or (716) 853-3087 ext 219.

ECCAFV (Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence): Next meeting April 9, at 9:00am via Zoom. April is

Child Abuse Awareness Month- blue pinwheels signify the events.

Crisis Services- April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Association: to register for Spring Education Series. Free, 90 minute sessions on various topics.

Presentation: David Shapiro, Staff Attorney at Center for Elder Law and Justice in the Kinship Unit

 Our Kinship Care unit provides free legal representation to relative caregivers of all ages in Erie and Niagara counties. Our clients are often seeking temporary or permanent custody of relative children (nieces, nephews, siblings, grandchildren) because the parents are unable to continue parenting. By placing children with a relative, they can avoid foster care.
 Picture you’re in your 80s, sitting on the porch drinking lemonade when all of a sudden you get a call that your grandkids need you to come live with you, and suddenly you are parenting again.
 Grandparents, relatives must be able to show extraordinary circumstances such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment to obtain custody of child from a parent.
 Article 6 or Article 10 (CPS cases); 10-17 guardian
 Supervising visitation has a high potential for elder abuse. May end up needing an OOP or other interventions against parent.
 Parents with substance abuse issues: court will be looking for a consistent dedication to recovery.
 Goal is always return to parent.
 If child is in placement for more than 15 months, the department must file a termination of parental rights.
 TANF/non parent caregiver grant- can receive $397 for 1 child; $530 for 2 children. Benefit is based on the children’s income (if any) and is to cover cost of care, activities, etc.
 Discussed Foster Parent Training
 Foster parent who is over 65 years of age can name a successor guardian.
 If adopt, 65 and over can set up a will, trust, or create a guardianship in will in case anything happens to the non-parent caregiver.
 Kinship Unit has income limits for those under 55 years old.
 Visitation: Only relative with a right to visitation is grandparents. Must demonstrate existing relationship with child and that visitation is in child’s best interest.

How are you doing court? – all virtual. Cases are backed up. Lack of in person leads to losing the element of reading body language, and it is harder to object.
65+ in subsidized housing, does a kinship matter affect housing status? -Buffalo Municipal Housing has been cooperative. Will typically add client to waitlist for a larger apartment to accommodate children in client’s care.
What is the most rewarding aspect of the work you do? -being able to help/give advice.
What is the most challenging aspect of the work you do? -dealing with difficult people that you can’t talk to or won’t listen.
Any support groups for grandparents? -unsure, not aware of any

JFS Support Groups resuming May 5th. Call general number 883-1914 to register or email



Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

March 03, 2021Read Story March 2, 2021 Meeting Notes


  •  Alzheimer’s Association First Responder Training, “Approaching Alzheimer’s” on March 4th at 9:00am and March 23rd at 6:00pm.
  • For Nursing Home Placement Resources- contact Liam McMahon at the Center for Elder Law and Justice by phone at (716) 853-3087 ext 257. Or email:
  • Partnership with the Niagara County OFA/CEA for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Presentation: Robin Eichen, Senior Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

• The FTC is a national consumer protection agency of the federal government that protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and identity theft.

Overview of latest FTC Consumer Sentinel Network data:

  • 2.2 Million Fraud Reports in 2020.
  • Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019.
  • In NYS- top two report categories were Identity Theft and Imposter Scams.
  • Top Identity Theft types were: Credit Card Fraud, other identity theft, government documents or other benefits, loan or lease fraud, and bank fraud.
  • Go to data to find out what kinds of scams and identity theft people are reporting most in your community.

For consumers who have been scammed:

  • Contact the payment provider
  • Tell them the transaction was fraudulent
  • Ask for the money back
  • Report the fraud to law enforcement:

Robocalls/Unwanted Calls:

  • Hang up.  It’s okay to be rude!
  • Sign Up for the Do Not Call Registry at
  • Don’t trust caller ID — it can be faked
  • Report robocalls to the FTC at
  • Ask your carrier about call blocking

COVID Vaccine and Healthcare Scams:

  • FTC law enforcement has sent warning letters to makers of teas, essential oils, colloidal silver and many other products making claims the product will prevent coronavirus. No evidence to back up claims. Also to VoIP providers who helped illegal telemarketers/robocallers push products related to the Coronavirus and MLM business “opportunities” with Coronavirus cure claims
  • only legitimate website to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
  • “Whole Leaf” lawsuit- made claims product kills COVID and cancer.



Fake Social Security Administration Calls- claim a person’s SSN has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or it’s been involved in a crime.

Medicare Fraud-

Theft of Unemployment Insurance Benefits- Imposters are filing unemployment insurance claims in the names of people who haven’t filed claims. Report to: employer and your state unemployment benefits office.

Fake Calls from Amazon or Apple- will claim there is something wrong with your account. It could be a suspicious purchase, a lost package, or an order they can’t fulfill. Don’t press any number, don’t call back the phone number given, and don’t provide any personal information.

Email/text scams and malicious websites: don’t click links from sources you don’t know.

Tech Support Scams: often begin with a pop up

  • Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.
  • Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number.

Romance/Online Dating Scams: Never wire money, purchase a gift card, etc.

  • If you are made to feel rushed, it is a scam.
  • Contact your bank asap if you think you sent money to a scammer.
  • Report to FTC.

Family Emergency Scams

Scammers Offering to Pay your Rent: if they offer assistance but tell you to give them money up front or hand over your personal information first, it is a scam.

Scammers Impersonating the FTC:

  • Calls itself the US Trading Commission and uses the FTC’s seal and address.
  • Claims it operates a “personal data protection fund”.
  • “instantly receive” a cash payment by clicking a link and entering personal information.

How to Avoid a Scam:

  • If someone says you must pay by wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram, by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back, or with cryptocurrency, it’s a scam.
  • Know how to recognize common scams.
  • Report to:   

Financial Impact of Coronavirus



Identity Theft

  •  Review mail, especially financial statements
  • Check credit report every year:
  • Free report from
  • Protect Social Security and Medicare numbers
  • Store documents securely and shred before discarding
  • File taxes early

Don’t Post Your Vaccine Card on Social Media- Can Lead to Identity Thef

Use and Share FTC Materials:

  • hundreds of fraud articles
  • consumer protection basics, plain and simple
  •  our most up-to-date information on the pandemic
  • helping older adults protect others from fraud
  • view and share
  • order free FTC materials

Get the FTC’s Consumer Alerts:

Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom

March 02, 2021Read Story March 2021 Meeting: March 2, 2021

*March 2021 Meeting: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom. 

February 03, 2021Read Story February 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: February, 2021

 Medicare Durable Equipment Scam- durable medical equipment, such as braces, being sent to homes. Box includes paperwork to complete and return that accepts financial responsibility for the item. Call Beth Nelson directly 1-518-275-8812.
 Scams- DA is seeing caregivers stealing from clients. Local people, in local agencies. Further discussion on this next meeting to prepare for this prevalence.
 HEAP Information- Miguel Santos- Call 1-800-342-3009. Local numbers available by county.

Presentation: Alzheimer’s Association- Chelsea O’Hara

- 24/7 Helpline for support, info, resources. 1-800-272-3900.
- There has been an increase in calls to the Helpline seemingly due to an increase in caregiving. Second daughter’s support group was added because of the increase in adult children caring for parents.
- Care consultations are free, one on one meeting with dementia expert. *Currently virtual or by phone.  Call (716) 626-0600 ext. 313 to schedule a care consultation.
- Outreach and education programs are also virtual. There has been an increase in attendance. Computer and phone access available. Programs at
- COVID & Caregiving Program on February 18, 2021. Will discuss ways to identify when loved one is not feeling well based on non-verbal cues.
- Support Groups: Available by zoom or call in.
- A benefit to the virtual meetings for caregivers has been that there is no need to locate someone to care for the loved one while caregiver attends and travels to/from a meeting.
o Recently Added Support Groups: Caring for Someone in a Facility- decision to place, visitation restrictions, support. Added a second daughter’s group.
o Register online- will then receive an email with the meeting information.
o Can also call Helpline to register and for tech assistance. Tech volunteers are available to provide instructions or practice accessing virtual meetings and groups.
- Other Services: (local WNY chapter)
o Safety Services- wandering, driving- partnership with ECMC driving program, and scholarships for wander alert bracelet. Bracelet allows first responders or civilians who locate individual to call a 1-800 number which has a database with the person’s information. 
o Alzheimer’s Association will do a follow up consultation post driving program for results and to provide further support.
o Partner with Senior Services for respite care. (Other counties, not Erie, would go through OFA).
o Trainings/Resources:
- First Responder Trainings, “Approaching Alzheimer’s”- March 4th at 9:00am and March 23rd at 6:00pm. Email:
- Legal and Financial Program- at the end of February
- Interactive Training on Website for First Responders-
- Any Referrals for Folks Who Lost Someone?
Answer: refer to Hospice, or grief counselors. Care consultation would continue and Helpline is available as well for support. There have been attempts in the past to have a Grief Group but participation lessened.
- How to Prepare Early Stage Person to Accept Support/Change in Living Arrangements? Especially feelings of frustration, awareness of memory loss, desire to not be a burden.
Answer: Can address in care consultations and on Helpline. Make person feel useful, ask for help around the household by stating you need a ‘volunteer’ to help out at home or day program. Give them a part/role in new situation. Phrasing to entice person to access/utilize services.

Presentation: Long Term Care (LTC) Resources- Liam McMahon, Center for Elder Law and Justice
- Guides available on CELJ website: Resident’s Rights (self-advocate + enact rights) and Long Term Care (options, information)
- Survey of consumers, OFA, hospital staff, Ombudsmen that identified gaps or troubles in navigating LTC, led to Resident’s Rights Advocacy Initiative.
- Have added updates on COVID regulations/changes.
- To request a physical version of the guides to distribute at your agency, contact Liam by phone at (716) 853-3087 ext 257. Or email:
Links to Guides: Resident’s Rights 1a-SNF-Magazine.pdf (
   Long Term Care: 1a-Hospital-Magazine.pdf (

Question: Suggestions on what to do about a call regarding a temporary resident at a facility who reports not being showered for 5 days (per DOH according to the facility) and facility had resident sign a DNR/DNI MOLST without resident really understanding that document or consulting family. Also has bed sores which were not present upon arrival at facility.

Answer: Able to make a formal complaint. Contact Ombudsmen. Have family or resident call Liam for assistance with complaint process.

Hoarding Committee Update: Rhonda DiPronio, Center for Elder Law and Justice
- Committee continues to meet the first Tuesday of the month, immediately following the regular Council on Elder Abuse meeting. All are welcome and encouraged to bring colleagues, cases, or resources to the committee.
- Committee identified biggest challenge of hoarding cases to be the lack of a one stop agency to address the multipe issues. Instead hoarding cases must involve many different systems and individuals to address the many needs.
- Updated resources chart available on the CEA website under the Hoarding subsection.
- Any questions or resource requests please contact Rhonda DiPronio by phone at (716) 853-3087 ext. 203 or by email at:

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom


February 02, 2021Read Story February 2021 Meeting: February 2, 2021

Next Meeting is Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 9:00am. 

Location: Zoom (virtual)

January 05, 2021Read Story January 2021 Meeting

Next Meeting:


Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 9:00am

Location: Zoom

January 05, 2021Read Story January 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: January 5, 2021


  •  No new trainings posted.
  •  OVS website and Lifespan have webinars.
  •  CELJ Blog- updated information on various topics

Center for Elder Law and Justice Helpline:
Eligbility: 55+
Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00am-11:00am
Phone: 1-844-481-0973

Senior Financial Safety Tool Phone Assessment:
Hours: Tuesday 12:00pm-2:00pm
Phone: 1-833-6461401

  •  NYS Order of Protection Alert
  • Alzheimer’s Bill:

Agency Updates:
-Beth Nelson: no face to face visits, volunteers are zooming or calling people.

- Meals on Wheels/Feed more WNY: no home visits, no restrictions on applications.

- JFS Older Adult Virtual Support Group: contact Shannon McGrath (716) 883-1914 ext. 323 or email
- Project Hope: Amanda Mallwitz- doing face to face visits with completion of a COVID screen. Nurse is set to begin doing visits in March/April for home visit to provide nursing services.

Presentation:  Family Justice Center- Ava & Kristen
-Crisis management/navigation primarily includes safety planning to stay in home/relationship with abuser. Also safety plan with friends and family.
-On average, it takes a survivor of domestic violence 7 to 8 attempts to leave the abusive relationship.
- Partnership with Neighborhood Legal Services and UB Women’s Law Clinic for OOPs.
-OOP Alert Website will list the status of the order, any attempts to serve, other updates.
- Vinelink website: if perpetrator is in prison, once signed up for alerts, will notify of any movement within the prison system or discharge from that system.
- Accessibility/Language Needs: utilize language line or other outside agencies
- Forensic Medical Unit Nurse: provides injury documentation
- Assist with shelter/hotel placement if survivor needs to leave or is homeless due to domestic violence. Also Address Confidentiality Program will provide survivor with a private address/PO box which is then forwarded to an anonymous address.
- OVS applications: medical and mental health services are covered for life if application is accepted. Emergency funds can be requested for moving expenses, personal property loss/damage, etc.
- Food services
- LGBTQi+ clients/services: communication with police to identify relationship.
- Able to file charges for clients (Buffalo City area)/Advocacy with other law enforcement or courts.
- Eviction assistance due to domestic violence.
- Complete danger assessment
- Direct Referral Link for any community agency. Client will link with an advocate the same day a call is received.
- Hope to add a Healing piece to the program as well which may include support groups, wellness classes, etc.
- Locations: all sites are currently closed and all are remote. Locations in Buffalo, Orchard Park, Amherst, and Grand Island.
- Community Partners include: CELJ, BPD (officer and report technician), International Institute, NLS, UB Law, medical providers (for strangulation assessment), and assigned counsel.
- Referrals typically made to Catholic Charities, Hispanics United of Buffalo, Community Services for Every1, and Be Safe Program.

FJS Contact Information & Resources:Contact Information: 
Email: or
FJC Safeline Number: 716-558-7233 or can utilize our chat box on website Additional resources and tips on how to safely and effectively have the conversation with someone you think may be in an unsafe relationship

Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 2, 2020 at 9:00am via Zoom

June 03, 2020Read Story Free Helpline - Open to all!

LEGAL ADVICE HELPLINE – any age – any income level

1-(844) 481-0973 /

Live Hours 9-11am, leave a message at any time. Call backs within 1 business day.


Also check out  the Center for Elder Law and Justice's readditional COVID 19 resources at:

May 05, 2020Read Story May 2020 Meeting

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 9:00am. 

April 07, 2020Read Story April 2020 Meeting

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 9:00am. 

March 03, 2020Read Story March 2020 Meeting

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 9:00am. 

If you Suspect Abuse, TAKE ACTION!

More than 1,500 cases of elder abuse are reported each year in Erie County. Many more cases are never reported.

If you suspect abuse and would like legal assistance, please contact:

Center for Elder Law & Justice:


For immediate assistance 24 hours a day, please contact:

Crisis Services Hotline at:


If you suspect someone is being abused, please contact:

Erie County Protective Services for Adults: 


For general information on programs or referrals, please contact:

Erie County Department of Senior Services / NY Connects: 


            In an emergency, call 911

For Elder Shelter screening tool, please visit the Elder Shelter Page located under the "Elder Shelter" tab at the top of your screen