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    An LGBTQ Community Forum on Avoiding Fraud, Scams, and Other Abuse

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    “A friend, an older single gay man, struck up a relationship with a man in his 20s. Within a month, the younger man moved into my friend’s home. The younger man was fully affectionate and saw to the older man’s needs, e.g., grocery shopping, driving him to doctors’ appointments. My friend woke up one morning three months after the move-in to find the younger man gone, along with his electronics, wallet & credit cards and other valuables and his car.”  

    For Tom Ammiano and Tim Wolfred, this was just one story too many of a friend victimized by a younger predator. Ammiano, a former California State Assemblyman, and Wolfred, a former City College Trustee, researched the issues and decided to do something about them by organizing an educational forum to inform the older LGBTQ community about fraud, scams, and other forms of abuse.

    “We know that lots of people don’t know about elder abuse or they don’t think it will happen to them,” said Tom Ammiano. “That’s what we thought until it happened in our group of friends.”

    Wolfred added that the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to know the warning signs, plan ahead, and to know where to get help for yourself or your loved ones. “If people come to our forum,” Wolfred said, “they ‘ll leave with lots of information and tools. We want people to leave empowered.”

    Mary Twomey, one of the forum presenters, has worked in the field of elder abuse prevention for more than 25 years. She is the former co-director of the National Center on Elder Abuse. In a previous Aging in Community guest column, Mary wrote, “Our reluctance to face the consequences of our aging can mean we put ourselves at risk not only for the typical challenges of aging, but also for the possibility of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence in later life.”

    It is time for the community to have this conversation.

    Daniel Redman, also a forum presenter, is an attorney at Sideman & Bancroft LLP. Daniel was Chair of the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force’s Legal Committee that prioritized the protection of vulnerable LGBT people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. He worked closely with State Senator Wiener to translate the Task Force’s recommendation into legislation, The LGBT Senior Long-Term Care Facility Bill of Rights, which passed in the Spring of 2015. 

    Redman will be speaking on abuse and discrimination in long-term care facilities and also about what estate planning documents can do to ensure that wishes are carried out and protected. In an email to me for the San Francisco Bay Times, Redman wrote: “Senator Wiener’s law aimed to do three things: to give LGBT people a crystal clear definition of their rights in long-term care facilities, to empower advocates and allies both within facilities and in residents’ families to stand up against mistreatment, and to warn facilities of what their obligations are to root out discriminatory behavior when it crops up. This conference is crucial because it helps accomplish that mission.” 

    Other presenters will include Tamari Hedani, Associate Director, Elder Abuse Prevention Program of the Institute on Aging; Melissa McNair, Victim Advocate, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and a Representative from Adult Protective Services for the City and County of San Francisco.

    The forum will take place on Thursday, March 5, 9:30 am to 1 pm at the SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco. Community co-sponsors from the Department of Disability and Aging Services, Openhouse, Institute on Aging, and the LGBT Community Center will be present to answer questions and to provide resources.

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, a psychologist and LGBTQ+ longevity advocate and policy adviser, oversees the Aging in Community column. She serves on the California Commission on Aging, the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee. She is the Co-Founder of Openhouse, the only San Francisco nonprofit exclusively focused on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ older adults.

    Published on February 13, 2020