In Sacramento County last year, reported fraud targeting the elderly resulted in losses of $9.1 million – and that’s just what was reported. Often, people are embarrassed to admit when they’ve been taken in by a scam, or fear being deemed incompetent.
Open enrollment for Medicare -- currently underway -- gives scammers more opportunity to prey on the elderly, said Nicole Egan, a clinical legal fellow at the McGeorge School of Law Elder & Health Law Clinic.
Because of the increase in elder abuse fraud, the clinic chose October to debut its ‘road show’ production of ‘“No.” is a complete sentence,’ a live theatrical event produced to alert elderly audiences to some common scams and common-sense practices to protect them.
The first two productions were in Oak Park and the Pocket area, and the next is to be held next Friday (Oct. 27) at the Hart Senior Center in Midtown. There are no future dates set, but its creators hope to be able to continue to bring the production to seniors in all Sacramento communities.
This “one-of-a-kind live theater event” was created in conjunction with the Capital Stage Company and features professional actors performing scenes based on common financial exploitation situations. It's the brainchild of Melissa Brown, director of McGeorge Legal Clinics and elder law practitioner. Brown, who has a theater background, was inspired to create the presentation by real-life cases.
Brown and Egan wrote the script together, and Michael Stevenson of Capital Stage Company helped them bring the production to life. The production was first presented last June on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at McGeorge – however, getting seniors to the location proved problematic, so Brown and Egan applied for a grant to allow them to take the production on the road.
The production highlights some common situations, including those involving unlicensed contractors promising great deals that never materialize, and grown children misusing power of attorney for their elderly parents.
After each scene, a discussion is held with the audience on what the victim could have done differently, how they would handle such a situation and other insights. Then a ‘happier ending’ can be played out.