Stories

Older person holding the United States flag and riding a horse.

State

California

Zip Code

92675

Type of Abuse

financial

My Story

"I am 87 years old and I was not even a year old when I moved to Hawaii. I let my hair grow like the Hawaiians had theirs and went surfing out with the guys. Between the first year of junior year of college and second year, I volunteered for the army and I retired in 1987 as a full Colonel. I met my wife in Camp Bradbury; she was a secretary for the Red Cross. We were married for 50 years. She died in 2004. I do have incurable cancer and they are not giving me that much time but I figured well, if you tell me 4 months then I’ll try for 8 months so that’s where we are now." "A fellow that was an attorney that did my will made the head of the board and care agency that I had judiciary. Right off the bat the head of the board and care agency started telling me what I could do and parties I could have – that’s illegal; you are not supposed to be able to do that". Dr. Burnight shares that this head of the board and care “encouraged him to spend all the money he needed for his care.” Burnight explains, “When people are isolated, a lot of times we see that they are unduly influenced by people who would take advantage. It is an opportunity for folks to come in with ulterior motives; motives of greed and of control.” Dana Butler-Moberg, Executive Director of the Shea Center, knew Harry off and on for 9 years as a volunteer at the Center and first discovered the financial loss. Contacting Dr. Burnight, a team was formed to support Harry though locating appropriate housing and care, as well as connecting him with meaningful activities and friendships. He continued to serve as an advocate with Ageless Alliance through sharing his experience of elder abuse and speaking with elementary school students about his life journey. Harry passed away in March 2016.