The Worsening Issue of Elder Abuse
Exploitation escapes exposure — Part of the problem with elder exploitation is that such a small percentage of incidents come to the attention of authorities – about one in 14, according to the National Research Council’s estimate, and an even smaller percentage according to other studies. Elders can be reluctant to report abuse and neglect because they lack the physical or cognitive capacity to do so, they fear retaliation, or they don’t want to get a family member in trouble.
One in ten? A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that one in ten Americans over 60 experiences abuse of some kind every year. A study the same year published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported that nearly half of study participants having dementia had been mistreated by those responsible for their care.
What you don’t know will hurt them – Estate planning, trust, elder law and general practice attorneys often don’t know when their elderly clients are being abused and exploited. Unless those circumstances are the specific reasons for meeting, there is an unstated “don’t ask, don’t tell” atmosphere between the elderly client and the attorney. This is especially true when the family member attending with the elderly person is the bad actor/predator, and does all the talking for the elder family member. Learn more