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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Monday, October 31, 2016

An All Too Real Horror Story

An All Too Real Horror Story

Spoiler Alert: The following includes information about this season of the popular TV show American Horror Story: Roanoke.

One of the central plots in Season 6 is recapping the actions of a pair of nurses (now ghosts) who opened an assisted living facility in North Carolina (Roanoke like the lost colony, not like the current city in case you were wondering) so they could kill people whose initials spell out their favorite word, M-U-R-D-E-R.

What many people don’t realize, is that this scary story is based on a real life horror story. Catherine May Wood and Gwendolyn Gail Graham, the “Lethal Lovers,” were convicted of second and first degree murder respectively after several people under their care at a nursing home in Michigan died suspiciously. According to a New York Times article recounting the ladies’ 1988 arrests, says it was rumored that the killers were attempting to spell out the word “MURDER,” just like the ghosts in American Horror Story. Both women are still in prison.

It is chilling that this scary story has its roots in reality, but not surprising. While murder is perhaps uncommon, nursing home abuse is not. Long term care is expensive, and to cut costs, many facilities end up cutting corners.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from abuse is to have a long-term care plan in place so that you have more control over what facility you or your loved ones end up in. Having a plan means having a bit more control over your care, and a plan for paying for it.

Even people that think they have their long-term care plan figured out because they have purchased long-term care insurance should talk with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that is the case. A lot of these insurance plans are very limited in what they cover or how long they will cover certain things.

Another important thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the signs of abuse, and figure out who to contact if you or someone you loved is being abused. To give you a head start, here is a link to the U.S. Government’s National Center on Elder Abuse’s website with tips on identifying abuse. If you need to report abuse, here are the links to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Obviously, if the situation is an emergency, you should contact the police.


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