Elder abuse is one of the most important issues that we face as attorneys that focus on the needs of senior citizens. It is truly horrific on every level, but it is important to be aware of the threat so that so that you can do what you can to prevent victimization.
The National Council on Aging has a great deal of very useful information on their website about this problem. When you look at the facts, it is really hard to understand how anyone could inflict these torturous circumstances on another human being.
There is physical abuse, and sexual abuse of the elderly is another encroachment. Emotional abuse can take a toll as well, and in some cases, an elder will be confined against their will. Intentional deprivation and passive neglect are additional forms of abuse.
In a lot of cases, the abuse takes place in nursing homes, but it can also occur in personal residences.
When it comes to nursing homes, family members should research what facilities are most appropriate for their elderly loved ones. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a guide on how to choose a nursing home, and this would be a good place to start.
Elder Financial Abuse
Another somewhat less disturbing form of abuse is elder financial exploitation. Though it may not be as downright cruel as the acts described above, it is nothing more or less than disgraceful.
The total losses are enormous, but it is difficult for experts to get a handle on them, because the vast majority of cases are never reported to the authorities. In 2011, the MetLife Mature Market Institute conducted a survey that came up with an estimate of $2.9 billion per year.
Four years later, a True Link study placed the number at a staggering $36 billion annually.
So many cases go unreported because in many instances, the abusers are family members or other people that are known to the victims. The elders do not tell anyone, because they want to protect the perpetrators in many cases. In others, they do not want to lose the care that they are receiving from the people that are essentially stealing from them.
Individuals that have access to money and valuables are committing crimes of opportunity, but there are also predatory criminals. Scam artists see seniors as easy marks. Many elders experience some level of cognitive impairment, and lonely seniors are easy to engage.
How Common Is It?
Once again, it is impossible to know exactly how widespread this problem is, but it is believed that about 10% of individuals that are at least sixty years of age have experienced some form of abuse. Millions of seniors are abused each and every year, and since the older population is growing rapidly, it is likely that abuse incidents will continue to increase.
Attend a Seminar
We are holding a series of seminars over the coming weeks, and they will cover many different important elder law and estate planning subjects. This is a great opportunity to walk away with some eye-opening knowledge, so we urge you to attend one of these sessions.
Though there is no charge at all, we ask that you register in advance so that we can reserve you a seat. You can visit our seminar schedule page to see the dates, times, and locations. Once you identify the event one that works for you, click on it the link and follow the simple instructions to register.
Take Action Today!
If you have all the information that you need to know that it is time to discuss your legacy goals with a licensed attorney, we would be more than glad to assist you.
We know that it can be a bit disconcerting to share personal information with someone that you have just met. However, you can rest assured that you will feel comfortable working with us from the start. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 513-721-1513.