As caregivers, NWHC is very sensitive to not only the physical and emotional needs of seniors, but also the standards of ethical behavior crucial to quality care. As such, it was essential that we attend and promote the “Undue Influence Panel,” an educational program featuring a probate attorney and two geriatric social workers presented by The Pasadena Village on September 18, 2019. As we learned at the meeting, while Undue Influence may not sound as alarming a condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, the effect on its victims is nonetheless catastrophic. “Undue Influence” can leave you penniless or your rightful heirs denied their inheritance. 

To recap briefly, “undue influence” is a form of elder abuse often perpetrated by family member, neighbor, or other persons who encounter an older person who is isolated and dependent on others for care. The potential abuser (often defined as either an opportunist or predator), is emboldened by the recognition of physical or mental deficiencies or disabilities. In many cases, abuse is further exacerbated by anger, in the case of family caregivers who feel overly burdened.

A strong indicator of undue influence is the isolation of the victim by the perpetrator, who initially secures the victim’s trust by overt acts kindness. Once trust is established, the perpetrator, whether opportunist or predator, seeks to increasingly isolate the victim from any contact with other people, such as friends, clergy, attorney, family, etc., and in particular, previous helpers who may interfere with the perpetrator’s agenda.

Since Isolation and loneliness are two major factors that opportunists and predators take advantage of, we at NWHC are grateful to The Pasadena Village for hosting this highly informative panel, and encourage you to attend the various events we participate in, not only to arm and protect yourself with useful information, but also as a practical means to establish a support group of like-minded individuals, as well as make friends—a great way to combat the depression and vulnerability that precipitates undue influence.