We’ve written about elder abuse in the past, but recent reports indicate that this problem is becoming increasingly common. In fact, allegations of mistreatment in many SoCal cities has doubled or even tripled since 2005 and The National Adult Protective Services Association says that one in nine elders has been reportedly abused, neglected or exploited over the last year although they suspect the true numbers may be even higher. Even Stan Lee, the legendary comic book artist, is believed to have been a victim of elder abuse in his final years. While shedding more light on the problem can help protect seniors though, Rancho Bernardo elder abuse defense lawyer Peter M. Liss knows that more accusations of abuse often result in more false accusations as well.
Types of Elder Abuse
When most people hear abuse, they think about physical abuse, but that is just one of the many ways senior citizens are routinely victimized. Elder abuse can also include neglect, abandonment, isolation, psychological abuse and financial abuse.
In fact, financial abuse is actually the most common type of elder abuse and may involve activities ranging from a family member tricking their loved one into giving them money for college all the way to a scam text message or robo call that convinces the senior to directly give money or provide personal information to exploit them financially. Financial abuse is actually twice as common as physical abuse against seniors and experts believe only 1 in 44 cases are actually reported.
Unfortunately, financial abuse is one of the forms of abuse most commonly misreported. It’s all-too-common for a stable-minded senior to give money to or change their will to benefit a nurse or friend. When the family finds out after their loved one has either began suffering from dementia or has even died, they may claim that person exploited their family member for financial gain. If there’s enough circumstantial evidence to prove this is the case, the police and prosecutors may get involved and the care taker or friend may need to defend their rights with the help of an Escondido elder abuse defense attorney.
Where Elder Abuse Happens
Although there’s a powerful public image of seniors rotting away at retirement homes, the majority of elder abuse happens at the person’s home at the hands of family members and spouses. Unfortunately, even when a senior citizen does actually suffer, the caretaker responsible might not have actually known that they were doing anything wrong.
Many adult children of seniors volunteer to help their parents without knowing the full extent of their parent’s needs. If the parent is too proud to ask for help or even actively refuses help, the child could think they were doing just fine while their parent is suffering. The child could then be accused of neglect or abandonment when the parent sees a doctor who reports the case to the authorities. When this happens, a San Marcos elder abuse lawyer can use the child’s lack of knowledge of the parent’s conditions and demonstrated willingness to help their parent as a strong defense against neglect.
The San Diego District Attorney just announced an outreach program to financial institutions so they can better recognize elder financial abuse. The D.A. will provide training videos and brochures to employees of these institutions so they can identify early warning signs of abuse. Employees of banks and credit unions are mandatory reporters of suspected elder abuse.
If you have been accused of abusing a senior citizen, it is critical you call a Fallbrook elder abuse attorney as soon as possible. Do not speak to investigators without suitable legal representation at your side. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050.
Creative Commons Image by Garry Knight