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May 26, 2015 by |

Defining and Preventing Elder Abuse


Due to their vulnerability, the elderly are often victims of abuse. The 1985 Elder Abuse Prevention, Identification and Treatment Act provides a definition of what is considered elder abuse. It can be a “willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment, with resulting physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of goods and services which are necessary.”

The Elder Abuse Prevention, Identification and Treatment Act was passed in Congress in 1985, and clarified terminology by defining elder abuse. This act also directed the Secretary for Health and Human Services to create the National Resource Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), a division of the United States Administration on Aging (AoA), as a resource for combatting elder abuse. The NCEA compiles and distributes resources for elder abuse education and prevention.

The Act authorizes the Secretary to make grants to or to enter into contracts with public agencies or nonprofit organizations for demonstration projects designed to prevent and treat elder abuse. The Secretary can also make grants to States for the same prerogatives. The Act prohibits the use of assistance for construction of facilities and authorizes appropriations.

Elder abuse can come in different forms; it can be physical (mistreatment), financial (extortion of money, exploitation), or emotional (harassment, intimidation). Neglecting or refusing to meet the needs (medical, food etc.) of a senior, abandonment and sexual abuse are also forms of elder abuse.

According to an investigation, 10% of senior citizens in America are victims of elder abuse. Older females and patients suffering from dementia are more likely to experience it. 90% of abusers are members of the victim’s family. Sometimes, this is about personal revenge from a family member or caregiver.

With the increase in elder abuse cases, a better understanding of what constitutes elder abuse can help prevent it from occurring.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sonoma, and handles all types of elder abuse cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669.

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