Colorado Veteran, Physically and Financially, Abused, Dies– January, 2012 - Denver

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Here is a case referred to us by C3 Initiatives, Inc. (Compassion, Caring & Community), a Colorado nonprofit, that works with front-range Veterans to provide housing, care, counseling and training.
“Financial loss can trigger a whole series of events that all too often, are fatal. One such story is of a member of my community who joined his God last week.
Lil’ Grandpa [respecting his anonymity] was a bit confused at times, fiercely independent at others, and always had an underlying air of anger about him that made him tough to deal with. However if you took the time to listen to the story – and he would tell it over and over – you began to understand that the source of his anger was really a mask for his deep felt pain.
Lil’ Grandpa had been married to his darling wife for more than sixty years when he lost her to a lengthy struggle with cancer. Upon the advice of his children, Lil’ Grandpa and his wife had moved into an assisted living facility so that she could receive the care she needed. He also gave financial control to his children in trust. When his wife died, he left the assisted living home, expecting to return to the home he had shared with his wife, after what he anticipated would be a brief stay with his son. What he found was that his home had been sold, his savings account depleted, and he was left with only his meager retirement income and social security – combined, it was less than $1,000 a month.
Whether it was because of misunderstandings or his children’s financial misappropriations – his anger erupted and led to a fist fight with his son. In the end, his son threw him out of the house – and out of his life. With his meager earnings, inability to navigate a complicated social safety net, and admittedly poor choices born out of grief and anger – Lil’ Grandpa soon found himself homeless half of the time, beaten by strangers outside of the shabby motels he stayed in the first few days each month, and – from his perspective – robbed of the money and home he had worked so hard to create – by his own children.
The story doesn’t end there. Always a survivor, and with the help of an angel in the form of a dedicated peer advocate, Lil’ Grandpa learned to live on his meager social security and retirement benefits. With help, he found an apartment in a nice subsidized housing program, and social security assigned someone to manage his money. The little apartment wasn’t home, yet Lil’ Grandpa was beginning to heal. Then the subsidized housing program increased his rent and suddenly he was faced with being out on the streets again. Making no excuse for him, it was all a bit much, and his fear drove him to act out badly – he took a knife and sliced the chairs in the waiting room of the facility. This ended with him in jail for the first time in his long life.
While some would argue that Lil’ Grandpa was not totally responsible for his actions because of his state of mind at the time – he didn’t make excuses. One could also say that it was inappropriate to send a little old man to jail – the Judge didn’t see it that way. So to jail he went, and when he got out 30 days later, Lil’ Grandpa went home to an apartment his peer advocate and payee had found that was all he could afford without a subsidy, and the only place that would accept him given his bad behavior.
The shabby apartment complex was riddled with predators – people who prey on the vulnerabilities of those with disabilities and the elderly. And a predator found Lil’ Grandpa pretty fast. A woman moved into his life and the signs of abuse began to show pretty quickly. Suddenly his peer advocate and payee couldn’t get to him on the phone. He was pawning his beloved jewelry, and his phone bill was astronomical — with calls to people from jail whom he didn’t know. Credit card bills began to arrive.
Then one night, his peer advocate received a call from an emergency room nurse. Lil’ Grandpa was in ICU and not expected to make it through the night. He had been the victim of an assault – found in a pool of blood in his kitchen. He did make it through that night – in fact he lived another three months. Enough time for all of his children to gather and discuss the division of his remaining assets before placing him in a nursing home where he was never visited. Enough time for the police to dismiss the assault as a fall and stroke – even though Lil’ Grandpa had called 911 for help the day before because of a domestic dispute. His slender disability check was suspiciously cashed the same day as the assault — at a liquor store around the corner. And, the initial diagnosis when he was admitted to the ER included blunt force trauma to the side of his head – not stroke.
And who will stand for Lil’ Grandpa – or all the other Lil’ Grandpas and Grandmas who are facing abuse each and every day in our country? Especially those who now find themselves without assets or the ability to hire the legal and financial experts they need to prove their claims, or even just tell their story? C3 Initiatives is committed to serving as a voice for these vulnerable souls, as well as to providing the professional supportive services many people living with disabilities and the frail elderly so desperately need.
C3 Initiatives offers an integrative menu of personalized services designed to help those living with disabilities and/or elderly persons, maintain the highest level of self-determination and independence possible. C3 is proud to have worked in partnership with The Meyer Law Firm to represent the rights of clients like Lil’ Grandpa, who most lawyers – and people — forget.”
For more information regarding C3 Initiatives, Inc. and its services to the community, visit their website at
Already, 1 in 7 people over age 65 need in-home care, and nearly 40 percent of those older than 85 need some form of care, according to a recent fact sheet from the Urban Institute. As these numbers grow, so too does the amount of abuse suffered at the hands of those whom they are supposedly in a “caring” relationship with.
The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study conducted by the NCEA found that close to one-half million elderly adults in domestic settings were abused or neglected in 1996. (1) The study estimates that for every reported incident of elder abuse or neglect, five others go unreported. More than two-thirds of those committing elder abuse are members of the victims’ families. Nearly a quarter of those living in abusive situations suffer most from neglect that is often accompanied by financial exploitation.
Rhett Meyer is a Colorado elder abuse attorney with offices in Boulder and Vail who is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of elders who are unable to care for themselves and their families.  Rhett will make sure that you understand your family’s rights.  He can point you to the resources you need to educate yourself, and to protect your family.  If suspicion of financial abuse is valid, Rhett has more than two decades of experience working with the justice system; he can help you recover damages for mistreatment and financial exploitation.  For more information and a free consultation, contact Rhett at (303) 444-1618.