Property Grunt

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Whatever happened to taking care of your own?

You do not need to be a Christian to understand this.

I love my parents dearly. As I grow older, I realize how lucky I truly am. One of the greatest honors I can fulfill is to ensure that they live their golden years in great comfort and happiness.

This has nothing to do with filial piety or culture, it is just pure unadulterated love. And God has blessed me with this gift.

Which is why I am livid when reading the following two articles.

Dying woman recovers, says relatives "robbed me blind"

Evelyn Roth says the only personal item she still has in her possession is the 25th anniversary diamond ring her late husband gave her. She says her relatives couldn't get the ring off her finger when she went into the care center. "I could sit around and sulk and feel bad, but what good would it do?" she says.

Shortly after two women gained power of attorney from a dying 83-year-old relative, they took all of her possessions and sold her house of 56 years, police said.

The pair pocketed the $235,000 from the house sale and cleaned out the elderly woman's bank accounts and savings, sharing the money among themselves and family members, police and prosecutors say. They also arranged and pre-paid for her funeral.

However, Evelyn Roth made an amazing recovery and had no idea what her relatives were up to.

Now the two suspects, Roth's cousin Virginia Ann Kuehn, 66, and her niece Kathleen Sue Jingling, 53, face a 35-count felony indictment charging them with first-degree criminal mistreatment, aggravated theft and first-degree theft. They've pleaded not guilty.

These f**king ghouls did not even wait till her body was cold and stiff. As soon as the opportunity rose, they plundered Evelyn Roth for everything she owned.

Roth, a sprightly white-haired woman with a ready laugh and remarkable memory, showed up at Multnomah County Circuit Court for her relatives' arraignment this week. Portland Officer Deanna Wesson, who investigates elder abuse, wheeled Roth up to the judge so she could explain what happened.

"They robbed me blind," Roth said. "Everything was for money, just to get money, money, money. That's not the way it should be."

Roth said she pursued criminal charges because she's lost her savings and all her possessions to relatives who betrayed her trust. "I think they need to be taught a lesson. ... I feel like I helped raise Virginia. That's why it hurts so bad."

No. It should not be this way and I pray to God never experience what she is feeling from this betrayal.

Jingling's lawyer, Daniel Lorenz, said his client may have received poor advice from another attorney and is working "to put matters in as good a situation as possible." Kuehn's lawyer, Pat Birmingham, declined to comment.

Roth, a Portland native, had lived on her own in her Southeast Kelly Street house since her husband, Bob, died 26 years ago.

She had worked for 35 years as the U.S. Bank branch near Southeast Milwaukie and Powell Boulevard. She loved the job and got to know her customers well. She also taught Sunday School at the Trinity Baptist Church.

In February 2008, she fell ill. A doctor removed a cancerous growth from her esophagus. Kuehn took her to the hospital for the outpatient surgery and drove her back home. But no one ever checked on Roth after that.

The day after the surgery, Roth fell and wasn't discovered until four days later. Phillip Klein visited the house, concerned because his friend hadn't shown up for their weekly dinner date.

Police found Roth on the floor, severely dehydrated, confused and suffering from delusions. She was hospitalized for two weeks and then placed in a nursing home. Through the spring of 2008, she continued to receive radiation treatments for cancer.

On April 24, she signed over the power of attorney to Kuehn and Jingling. She remembers them wheeling her to a nearby bank to get it notarized.

"I kept insisting, 'I want to take care of my bills. I can take care of myself,'" Roth recalled. "They said, 'We have to be able to take care of you if you get sick.'"

Four days later, Kuehn and Jingling each wrote $12,000 checks to themselves out of Roth's account, Wesson said.

About the same time, Jeanine Boldt-Ginn, the daughter of one of Roth's close friends, helped her mother track Roth down. They found Roth at Care Center East and became reacquainted.

Roth's health steadily improved, surprising her doctors. By the fall 2008, Roth began hearing from her neighbors that a "For Sale" sign was up outside her home, and her relatives seemed to be cleaning it out.

Roth didn't believe it. "I said, 'Well, they can't sell it because I haven't signed anything.' I had no idea what was all going on, just what the neighbors saw."

Police said Kuehn and Jingling sold the house for $235,000 in October 2008, deposited the money into Roth's bank account and then promptly spent all of it, writing checks to themselves and other family members. They cleaned out $35,000 in her checking account and cashed her two annuities totaling $88,000.

They also cleaned out all of Roth's belongings -- her antique china and glassware collection, her silverware, the mahogany furniture her husband made, their wedding pictures, a 7-foot-tall grandfather clock.

They sold her Buick Park Avenue.

Boldt-Ginn, who remembers having Roth as her Sunday School teacher when she was 5, and her husband, Jim Ginn, worked tirelessly to help Roth unravel what had happened to her belongings. They got county adult protective services investigator Irma Mitchell-Phillips and police to investigate.

"My mom said, 'I know the Lord brought us back here so we can help you,'" Boldt-Ginn recalled.

When Wesson interviewed the accused, they said they had sold Roth's house and belongings to avoid probate. Jingling kept saying that Roth's doctors had "guaranteed us" that Roth would die, Wesson recalled.

Wesson described the suspects as cold and callous, who never showed concern for Roth's well-being.

Police, prosecutors, county investigators and others who've met Roth said they're amazed at how she kept her spirits up, despite her losses.

She said she wants to see her relatives go to jail.

"I guess I'm just a stubborn old lady."

God bless her soul.

As for those two pieces of trash. This isn't over. People who take advantage of the elderly and weak, especially family are pure f**king evil and whether it is on this plane of existence or another, they always get theirs.

In a previous entry that family and money are two very complicated subjects and when you combine the two you get something very explosive. So these best thing to do is not rely on it and follow the wishes of the departed. And they have not passed away, then you do your damnedest that to maintain their dignity and their current state of affairs if they are unable to take care of themselves. Family should only intervene to make drastic changes if what their elderly members are making decisions that prove to be detrimental to themselves.

Why? Because this is what family does. You do not abandon your own. Which unfortunately happens more often than not.

Invisible Immigrants, Old and Left With ‘Nobody to Talk To’

FREMONT, Calif. — They gather five days a week at a mall called the Hub, sitting on concrete planters and sipping thermoses of chai. These elderly immigrants from India are members of an all-male group called The 100 Years Living Club. They talk about crime in nearby Oakland, the cheapest flights to Delhi and how to deal with recalcitrant daughters-in-law.

Together, they fend off the well of loneliness and isolation that so often accompany the move to this country late in life from distant places, some culturally light years away.

“If I don’t come here, I have sealed lips, nobody to talk to,” said Devendra Singh, a 79-year-old widower. Meeting beside the parking lot, the men were oblivious to their fellow mall rats, backpack-carrying teenagers swigging energy drinks.

In this country of twittering youth, Mr. Singh and his friends form a gathering force: the elderly, who now make up America’s fastest-growing immigrant group. Since 1990, the number of foreign-born people over 65 has grown from 2.7 million to 4.3 million — or about 11 percent of the country’s recently arrived immigrants. Their ranks are expected to swell to 16 million by 2050. In California, one in nearly three seniors is now foreign born, according to a 2007 census survey.

Many are aging parents of naturalized American citizens, reuniting with their families. Yet experts say that America’s ethnic elderly are among the most isolated people in America. Seventy percent of recent older immigrants speak little or no English. Most do not drive. Some studies suggest depression and psychological problems are widespread, the result of language barriers, a lack of social connections and values that sometimes conflict with the dominant American culture, including those of their assimilated children.

The lives of transplanted elders are largely untracked, unknown outside their ethnic or religious communities. “They never win spelling bees,” said Judith Treas, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of California, Irvine. “They do not join criminal gangs. And nobody worries about Americans losing jobs to Korean grandmothers.”

The speed of the demographic transformation is leading many cities to reach out to the growing numbers of elderly parents in their midst. Fremont began a mobile mental health unit for homebound seniors and recruited volunteer “ambassadors” to help older immigrants navigate social service bureaucracies. In Chicago, a network of nonprofit groups has started The Depression Project, a network of community groups helping aging immigrants and others cope.

But their problems can go unnoticed because they often do not seek help. “There is a feeling that problems are very personal, and within the family,” said Gwen Yeo, the co-director of the Geriatric Education Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

When I was growing up, these issues that these elderly immigrants are facing were nonexistent. That is because there was a strong family structure to rely upon, there were also churches, temples and other civic organizations that catered to their needs.

Many who have followed their grown children here have fulfilling lives, but life in this country does not always go according to plan for seniors navigating the new, at times jagged, emotional terrain, which often means living under a child’s roof.

Mr. Singh, the widower, grew up in a boisterous Indian household with 14 family members. In Fremont, he moved in with his son’s family and devoted himself to his grandchildren, picking them up from school and ferrying them to soccer practice. Then his son and daughter-in-law decided “they wanted their privacy,” said Mr. Singh, an undertone of sadness in his voice. He reluctantly concluded he should move out.

So when he leaves the Hub, dead leaves swirling around its fake cobblestones, Mr. Singh drives to the rented room in a house he found on Craigslist. His could be a dorm room, except for the arthritis heat wraps packed neatly in plastic bins.

“In India there is a favorable bias toward the elders,” Mr. Singh said, sitting amid Hindu religious posters and a photograph of his late wife. “Here people think about what is convenient and inconvenient for them.”

Privacy? Convenient? You ungrateful piece of s**t. Do you think your parents had any privacy when you were born? Do you think it was convenient for them to have a child? Dp you think it was easy for them raising you. You ever think about that?

Reliant on their children, late-life immigrants are a vulnerable population. “They come anticipating a great deal of family togetherness,” Professor Treas said. “But American society isn’t organized in a way that responds to their cultural expectations.”

Hardev Singh, 76, and his wife, Pal Keur, 67, part of Fremont’s large Sikh community, live above the office of the Fremont Frontier Motel, its lone nod to a Western motif a dilapidated wagon wheel sign.

They rented the fluorescent-lighted apartment after living for three years with their daughter, Kamaljit Purewal, her husband, his mother and two grandchildren. As the children grew, Mr. Singh and Mrs. Keur were relegated to the garage, transformed into a room. As Mr. Singh said, “in winter it was too much cold.”(Ms. Purewal said that she “tried to give them a better life,” but felt unappreciated because her parents favored her older brother in India. “If you’re a happy family, a small house is a big house,” she said. )

I have heard of dogs getting better accommodations. You do not put your parents in the garage. You sleep in the garage and your parents live in your bedroom. You feel unappreciated? You think having a family is pleasant? It isn't. Part of being a family is taking care of each other even when we dislike each other.

Fraught family dynamics when elderly parents move in with children often leave older members without a voice in decision-making, whether about buying a house or using the shower.

Pravinchandra Patel, the 84-year-old founder of the 100 Years Living Club, intervened when he heard that the son in one family was taking his parents’ monthly Supplemental Security Income check, for $658, then doling out $20 for spending money.

“I ask the son, ‘How much money do you figure you owe your parents for your education?’ ” he said.

A son or daughter who treats their elderly parents like an annuity is a piece of s**t. You don't give your parents their social security or medicare. You give them everything you have. Everything that is yours is theirs. Why? It is was theirs in the first place. If you weren't born and raised by them you would have nothing. You would be nothing.

“The small things matter,” he said of his mother and other elders longing for home. “The feeling that they are welcomed.”

This is all what any parent asks for.

For those of you who think I am overreacting and that I am too sentimental. I leave you with two stories.

There was a woman who lived with her daughter, son in law and grandson. Her daughter was a holy terror and berated her every chance she had. One of the indignities that the daughter i would do to her mother was give her the ugliest and dirtiest bowl for her meals. One day the grandson told his grandmother. "At dinner, drop your bowl on the floor. And everything will be alright."

The grandmother had no idea how this was going to help but decided she had nothing to lose. She dropped the bowl and right no cue, her daughter started ripping into her. Her grandson interrupted her.

"Grandma, I wish you hadn't broken that bowl. I was saving it for Mom."

The daughter was in shock and realized that her son was would treat her the same way when she was treating her grandmother. After that incident, the daughter treated her mother with the greatest respect and love.

Here is a second story on the same theme.

A man was preparing for a trip his mother to the mountain. You see his mother was very old and he did not want her around anymore. Besides it was tradition in that land to leave the old to die on the mountain.

As he was gathering his things and preparing for his trip, his son walked in.

The son asked

"What are you doing Dad?"

The father replied.

"I am going to the mountain with your grandmother and I am going to build her a shack leaving her there to die."

The son responded

"A don't tear it down. We'll use it for you when you get as old as grandmother."

After that conversation, the grandmother stayed and no one ever abandoned the elderly on the mountain again.

The way we treat our parents is how we will be treated in the future. For it is the next generation that who will be using us as an example. Ignore this at your peril.