Elder Abuse

In an article What to Do if You Suspect a Senior Is Being Financially Abused or Exploited, by Carolyn Rosenblatt. The journalist start by saying:

Some have called elder abuse “the crime of the century.” This crime can be difficult to detect and investigate, but one of the few ways to stop an elder from being financially exploited is to report it. Unfortunately, data gathered by the National Adult Protective Services Association estimates that only one in 44 cases of senior financial abuse are ever reported.

For me, the most painful comment in this particular article is this one:

Sadly, most abusers are family members, which puts both the victim and any witnesses in a difficult spot. I have heard numerous people tell me that their aging loved ones were being taken advantage of by a relative, but the desire to avoid confrontation and even reprisal discourages most people from getting the police involved. Things become even more complicated if the victim’s cognitive function is in question and if the abuser is a primary caregiver or considered dangerous.

I would suggest that crimes by family members against others in their own familiies have been going on for centuries, not just the crime of this century, or the last one.

It’s easy to find stories of an elderly mother being ‘committed’ into an institution for the ‘insane’, by medical doctors who wanted their inheritance, and I have a number of true stories of this happening, here in my hometown of Adelaide, although it was many years ago!

Being abused and exploited is against the law, and I wonder for it ever to stop, it ‘we’ will need to take the perpetrators to court, even (or especially) when they are family members?


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