“Being a celebrity has to be the best gig in the world, right? It comes with money, property, prestige, constant attention and a gang of admirers. However, as the recent news stories about the late legendary Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee and ‘60s psychedelic artist Peter Max show, older celebrities can be just as prone and vulnerable to elder abuse as others.”
Next Avenue’s recent story, “Stan Lee and Peter Max: What to Learn From Their Elder Abuse Cases” notes that the Lee and Max stories have some striking similarities: both seniors look to have been taken advantage of by people close to them. Lee’s former business partner and caretaker Keya Morgan was arrested for elder abuse, false imprisonment and grand theft of an elder dependent adult.
The New York Times recently published a chilling story that Max’s estranged son Adam virtually kidnapped him, as he increasingly became incapacitated. Max’s second wife Mary had to fight for the right to bring him back home. However, Adam alleged that she tried to hire a hit man to damage the artist’s painting hand, and household employees accused her of neglecting her husband. Mary Max died of what is thought to have been suicide in New York City in June.
In recent years, the article said that Max was alleged to have been exploited by his family and associates, who had him signing canvases that others had painted in his trademark style. These bogus paintings were then sold at auctions, as if they were his original artwork.
Elder abuse occurs to one in 10 adults over 60, according to the National Council on Aging, and 60% of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members. About two-thirds of those perpetrators are adult children or spouses. One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial elder abuse. That’s the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another. Here are three preventive measures:
- Don’t let your parent be isolated. Seniors who are mostly alone can become vulnerable to a “gateway” caregiver. That’s a person claiming to be looking out for the person, but instead they may get a power of attorney and transfer that person’s property and financial assets into his or her own name. Help fight this, by having your parent spend time with friends and family.
- Help your parent with proper legal documents for her financial assets. This will ensure that the senior’s assets don’t fall into the wrong hands. Ask an estate planning attorney about a will, a living trust and a power of attorney. A power of attorney allows a trusted agent to manage your parent’s finances, if he or she can’t.
- Increase communication with siblings. Everyone in an older person’s life can be the eyes needed to report abuse at the first hint of a problem. This puts a vulnerable senior on the “radar” for these agencies to follow up on for further issues.
Reference: Next Avenue (June 14, 2019) “Stan Lee and Peter Max: What to Learn From Their Elder Abuse Cases”