Too Much Elder Abuse Goes Unreported
Financial Elder Abuse Takes Heavy Toll On Senior Health
Elder Abuse Is A Crime In California
Abuse, neglect and financial exploitation are not the inevitable consequences of growing old but the sad reality for millions of seniors in America every year. We all have a role to play in putting a top to this national tragedy and changing how we talk about elder abuse in our communities. Respecting the dignity and rights of people of all ages is a core American value, and a principle built into many American laws. The legal protections are already in the law itself, especially here in California, but the protections are of no avail for the elderly if those protections are not enforced. That’s where all of us come in – recognizing what is elder abuse, how to spot in among our older loved ones and neighbors, and what to do about it. The seven types of elder abuse recognized under the law are: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial abuse and self-neglect. All seniors, rich and poor, living at home or in facilities, male and female – all are potential victims. Get involved in your senior loved one’s life, look for signs of each of these kinds of abuse (outlined below) and get help. If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Prevalence of Elder Abuse
The World Health Organization estimates about one in six people aged 65 and over will be victims each year. Elder abuse is defined in California as a crime. Under California Penal Code 368, California law defines the crime of elder abuse as physical or emotional abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of a victim who is 65 years of age or older. The offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, and is punishable by up to four years of jail or prison. The size of financial elder abuse is staggering. Up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated by some studies to be at least $36.5 billion.
Other statistics are equally disturbing:
- Elderly women are more likely to suffer from abuse than men, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
- At least 1 out of 10 adults over the age of 65 suffers from at least one type of abuse each year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Data from the U.S. Census Bureau projects that 95 million Americans will be aged 65 or older by the year 2060.
- As of 2017, 1.2 million seniors need nursing home care. By 2030, this number is expected to increase to 1.9 million, according to the Population Reference Bureau.
- Elder abuse often goes unreported. In a study from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, only 1 out of nearly 24 elder abuse cases were actually reported to authorities.
Protecting Older Loved One From Theft
Each of us can play an important role in reversing these horrible statistics and – even more – saving people we love from abuse. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect an older loved one from theft. If you suspect a problem, report any suspicions call elder abuse counsel to pursue all civil remedies available to senior victims under California elder abuse law.
- Always run a background check and contact references for any in-home caregiver before hiring them. Check out the agency’s record too.
- If your loved one is in a home, check out the citation history for the home on the California Department of Health’s website. A history of past citations does not speak well of the administration of the facility and may mean trouble.
- Keep cash and jewelry out of reach of any caregiver or care facility aides at all times.
- Always keep Social Security numbers and account numbers in a secure place, off limits to any in-home caregivers.
- Caregivers should not see any Trust or Will. The senior’s financial affairs and estate planning documents are none of their business.
- Do not permit a caregiver to run errands with a senior’s credit card or use an ATM to get cash for the senior.
- Never make a caregiver an authorized signer on a bank account or grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver or show them a trust, Will or other financial papers.
- Frequently review the senior’s bank statements, records and mail. You may want to redirect the mail to your home so others do not have access to it.
- Speak to the senior alone, without the caregiver present, to find out any problems they may be having.
If you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one in Alameda County, or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid will pursue all available remedies against those responsible for the financial elder abuse of the senior, including damages, rescission (undoing a fraudulent transaction), restitution (getting your money back), extra damages (to punish illegal behavior), and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your action.