11 May 2012

Money changes everything: Financial elder-abuse now epidemic

Every year, somewhere between 500,000 and 5 million elders are abused, neglected or exploited by others. The estimated range of such crimes is wide, said Ms. DeGuerre, because the abuse is hard to define and because in many cases, it goes unreported.

“Elders can be afraid to report abuse, for a variety of reasons,” she said. “In many cases, they may depend on the abuser and fear reprisals from them. They may be afraid of being placed in a nursing home or dread the stigma of domestic violence.”

Indeed, in 78% of elder-abuse cases, the abuser is either a spouse, a child or another relative of the individual, according to 2010 statistics from the Illinois Department on Aging. Mickey Rooney, for example, said he had food and water withheld from him by his stepson, who allegedly stole over $400,000 from the actor.

Financial exploitation is the most-often-reported type of abuse (58%) and is often linked to emotional abuse. In many cases, the abuse is committed by a family member who has been given the power of attorney or been appointed guardian for the individual.


Police agencies, district attorneys and other governmental agencies are in no way prepared to deter, arrest, charge and bring the perpetrator(s) of elder abuse ... financial elder abuse to justice, that is my experience.

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