Golden years? Career criminals and one-time opportunists are scheming to strip that gold from elderly people…Darryl, the greaser who worms his way into the heart and home of the frail Esther, hell-bent to drain her bank account … Harry, the charmer who checks the obituaries and puts widows like Estelle on a schedule for exploitation that includes seizing their homes…Rusinski and Rugerio, criminal doctors who use elders – and routinely put lives at risk – to manipulate a hopelessly inept Medicare and Medicaid bureaucracy, and rake in the cash…Imelda, the “capper” who brings the crooked docs a vanload of elders every Friday, for bogus “sleep studies”…Rose, who can ruin a lonely retiree’s credit rating with a few outings to department stores…Denise, who gets to the much-older Charlie’s wallet through his zipper…to name just a few.
And at the top of this criminal world is the brilliant and ruthless Sherrelle. She emerged from prison to build the Crown of Life Society, in which she trains women – all using stolen identities — to exploit elders and avoid detection. She will do anything (murder is an easy call), and use her sharp survival instincts, to make sure the enterprise that nets her over $200,000 a year continues to thrive.
Meanwhile, these elders’ adult children feel the stress every day, of trying to balance caregiving with their other responsibilities. Sibling differences, and the tension between too-busy lives and the “We really have to do something about Mom” imperative quickly blaze up. The “Caregiver Coping” chatroom provides some release for Boomers; they post about the problems they are struggling to handle – including some really nutty ones. You can laugh, because these things aren’t happening to you. Or maybe you will laugh because they are happening in your family, and you need your own release. You might shed a tear, too, when some of the elders in this book finally reach the end of their noble, exemplary lives.
In The Crown of Life Society, William R. Henry, Jr. and noted elder law attorney A. Frank Johns, Jr. turn fact into fiction for an appalling — but hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking — narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative and timely. It’s a loud alarm for anyone who is an elder, hopes to be one, or has elderly loved ones.