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March 2013
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS
The Law Offices of Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz & Bhaya wishes you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season.

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World Day
As the world ages, the incidence of elder abuse is rising. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) advocates awareness and action. Download poster.

Spot and Report Elder Abuse

Aging America Increases Opportunity for Abuse 

America’s post-World War II Baby Boom launched a wave of young Americans that is now hitting retirement age in unprecedented numbers. The 2010 Census recorded the greatest number and proportion of people age 65 and older in all of decennial census history: 40.3 million, or 13 percent of the total U.S. population. By 2050, that group will grow to 20 percent.

There are a number of challenges associated with an aging America, including the growing prevalence of elder abuse. The Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect defines elder mistreatment as “intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 500,000 adults are abused or neglected each year, 90 percent of the time by adult children, spouses or others. Since abused elders are often too ashamed, afraid or unable to report abuse, it is estimated that there are five more cases to every case that is reported. Older Americans who’ve experienced even modest abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those who’ve not been mistreated (download fact sheet).

Mistreatment Occurs in Many Different Forms

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching new efforts to protect older Americans from the rising crime of financial exploitation. Named the “signature crime of the 21st century” elderly citizens are an attractive target for financial exploitation because of their presumed wealth and assets. Case in point: An Oregon woman is suing Wells Fargo after a local branch allowed her “incredibly trusting” 72-year-old mother to lose her life savings to an online scammer posing as an American soldier in Afghanistan. Studies suggest financial exploitation robs seniors of more than $2.9 billion each year.

Physical abuse also occurs in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other care settings outside the home. In California, three elderly dementia patients died in 2007 after being given powerful antipsychotic drugs to control their behavior – despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the drugs increase the risk of death for elders suffering from dementia. Their cases became public after a long-term care ombudsman discovered a patient had been held down and forcibly injected with an antipsychotic medication. In many instances, these patients are given powerful antipsychotic drugs to cure “behavior problems,” not because of any concrete diagnosis from a licensed professional.

Red FlagsSpot the red flags of elder abuse with this guide from the National Center on Elder Abuse. Download PDF.

You Can Spot, Report and Help Prevent Elder Abuse

You can spot the red flags of abuse and report your concerns to the proper authorities if you know the signs. Review the Red Flags of Abuse published by the National Center on Elder Abuse (download here).

If you suspect that an elder you know is being abused, you can find reporting hotlines and other resources for your state here. You may also contact the Eldercare Locator on weekdays for state-specific information at: 800-677-1116.

In addition, the Administration on Aging offers more ways to prevent elder abuse (download list):

  1. Know the signs of elder abuse and neglect.
  2. Call and check on elderly relatives, neighbors and friends.
  3. Give a caregiver a break by filling in for a few hours.
  4. Ask an older acquaintance to share a talent with you or your children.
  5. Discuss elder abuse prevention with church leaders.
  6. Ask your bank to train employees on spotting elder financial exploitation.
  7. Suggest to doctors that they visit with older patients on elder abuse.
  8. Contact local adult protection services and learn how to support their work with at-risk elders.
  9. Volunteer to be a friendly visitor for a nursing home patient.
  10. Send a letter to your local paper, television or radio station asking them to support World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Nursing Home Chains Use Fine Print to Evade Responsibility

This special report reveals how some nursing home companies are using the fine print in admissions contracts to evade accountability for abuse and neglect.

Read report

Talking the Issues

Check out podcasts featuring topics from past issues of You Should Know and subscribe to future shows via iTunes or RSS feed.

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