One of the most pressing matters within the elder law community is the mistreatment of senior citizens. This is an absolutely horrible crime, and it is difficult to understand how anyone could target some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Sadly, it is a fact of life, and you have to confront it with pragmatism to be in a position to protect yourself.
Shocking Forms of Abuse
The National Council on Aging has covered a lot of ground with regard to the elder abuse problem on their website. They break down the different types of physical abuse that elders are subject to in nursing facilities, and sometimes, in their own homes.
At the top of the list is the direct infliction of physical pain that can result in identifiable injuries. As unthinkable as it may sound, sexual abuse is not without precedent, along with various forms of emotional abuse including acts of intimidation, threats, harassment, and verbal assaults.
In some instances, an elder will be confined, restrained, or isolated when it is not medically necessary. Passive neglect is another form of abuse, and there are incidents of willful deprivation.
If you have reason to suspect that a loved one has been victimized in a nursing home, you could contact a Long-Term Care Ombudsman. These individuals are professionals that volunteer to advocate for long-term care facility residents.
Of course, a crime is a crime, and the police handle such matters. That being said, these cases can be difficult to prove, and an ombudsman will be able to learn the relevant facts and provide the appropriate recommendations.
Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation
The physical abuse is absolutely devastating on multiple levels, but the despicable deeds do not stop there. Countless elders are abused and exploited financially each and every day, and estimated losses are somewhere in the vicinity of $36.5 billion a year. Yes, you read that right, and it may actually be understated.
Any situation that involves estimation requires projections, including elder abuse. Elder abuse losses are extremely difficult to estimate accurately because so many cases go unreported. The state of New York has stated that there are about 44 unreported cases for every one abused senior citizen that actually comes forward.
Why is this percentage so small? Part of the reason is because many elders never know that they are being abused or exploited. In addition to this, some seniors who are well aware of the fact that they are being victimized intentionally choose to keep it to themselves.
In far too many cases, the perpetrators are family members and others who are acting as caregivers. The abused elders do not want to get them into trouble in many of these instances, and even if they wouldn’t mind, they do not want to lose the care that they are relying upon.
Of course, the threats are not limited to crimes of opportunity that are committed by people with access. Older Americans are squarely in the cross hairs of scam artists, identity thieves, and ne’er-do-wells of every ilk. They perceive of elders as easy marks, and sometimes lonely seniors will be more open to contact with strangers than they would have been in the past.
Attend a Free Seminar
Our firm is holding a series of informative elder law and estate planning seminars over the coming weeks, and you can really learn a lot if you attend one of these sessions. There is no admission charge, but we do ask that you register in advance, because space is limited.
You can visit our seminar schedule page to check out the dates and obtain detailed registration information.
Schedule an Elder Law Consultation Today!
We are ready, willing, and able to provide assistance if you have concerns about elder abuse or any other issue that senior citizens are facing at the present time. Our attorneys have the ability to make our clients feel comfortable from the outset, and we provide personalized attention, because every situation is different.
If you are ready to take action, you can send us a message to request a consultation appointment or call us at 704-944-3245 in North Carolina (Charlotte, NC or Huntersville, NC) or 606-324-5516 in Ashland, Kentucky, or 859-372-6655 in Florence, KY.