The Courier Tribune’s recent article entitled “Are you a victim of elder abuse?” reports that the biggest problem is that these thefts often go unreported. Much elder abuse is not reported, so a good question is how do I spot elder abuse?
The main reason why so much elder abuse flies under the radar and is not reported, is because the one doing the abusing is typically a family member. Answering the question of how do I spot elder abuse is useful even if it is a family member that is suspected of the abuse.
Remember that financial abuse and theft are not the only forms of elder abuse. This crime also includes emotional, sexual and physical abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Emotional abuse can include threats, belittling and verbal attacks. It can be anything that causes mental distress and pain.
Exploitation can be fraud, undue influence over a senior’s assets and being pressured to sign papers he or she does not understand. This might be a power of attorney (POA) that gives a caretaker overly broad authority to abscond with a senior’s money or property.
One Texas county says the elder abuse reports are on the rise—a phenomenon seen across the U.S.— with self-neglect comprising the largest percentage of intake reports for older people, followed by financial crimes.
If you or a loved one sees themselves in any of those categories, speak to an elder law attorney and go to the National Center on Elder Abuse website (ncea.acl.gov).
If you or an elderly family member is being abused in some way, help is available.
In all states, there are professionals who are required to report suspicions of maltreatment.
Known as mandatory reporting, many states have a comprehensive list of professions who must take actions and file a report, such as chiropractors, occupational therapists, member of the clergy, attorneys, animal control officers, bank employees and many others.
Reference: Courier Tribune (July 11, 2021) “Are you a victim of elder abuse?”