Most Abuses Are Committed By Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Caregivers
Abuse on older Americans is on a rise, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM). The survey finds “theft of money by family, friends, neighbors and caregivers as the most common types of abuse,” and the top five financial abuses are:
- Theft of money or property by family/friend/neighbor (79%)
- Theft of money or property by caretaker/ in-home care provider (75%)
- Investment/securities schemes through the mail or phone (52%)
- Home repair scams (45%)
- Getting senior to sign a deed, will, power of attorney through deception (43%)
Most elder abuses are not discovered. National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) estimates that only 1 in 44 cases are reported.
Preventing And Stopping Elder Abuse
Elder abuse cannot be prevented or stopped until warning signs of abuse are recognized. Professional geriatric care managers shared the top five most reliable warning signs of elder abuse:
- Unusual activity on bank accounts and/or credit cards that an elder cannot explain
- A new “best friend” has appeared who is becoming heavily involved in the elder’s personal activities
- A friend, paid caregiver, or trusted employee/vendor is isolating the elder from others
- Another family member becomes secretive or defensive about parent’s finances
- Missing belongings or property are apparent
Recent Elder Abuses Not Far From Home
Redwood City, California. A 63 year-old man befriended people at church and other organizations to which he belonged. He then took advantage of his friends’ trust and generosity. He told them his fabricated sob stories to have them loan him money, which he never intended to repay. For more on the story, read Redwood City man accused of elder abuse gets three years in prison.
Lodi, California. A 90 year-old woman died as a result of neglect allegedly by son, a fire marshal. Prosecutor alleged that son “deliberately leaving her [elder] lying on the floor in her own urine and feces for nearly 15 hours.” For more on the story, read Mother, 90, in elder abuse case against Lodi fire marshal dies.
Los Angeles, California. An insurance agent sold an annuity to his elderly aunt then forged her signature to withdraw approximately $110,000 from the policy. For more on the story, read Former Insurance Agent Pleads To Elder Theft.
San Diego, California. A 90 year-old man was neglected by his live-in girlfriend, who was supposedly caring for him. He is now recovering in a care facility. Family members allege that the elder had been abused for years before he was recently removed from his home into a care facility, when someone witnessed the abuse. Police was called for welfare checks on few occasions but at each of those check-ups the elder told the police officer that he wanted to stay at home and there wasn’t anything the police could do. Family members also allege that the girlfriend stole money, tied the elder to a bed when she left the home, and did not let family members inside the home. Once allowed inside the home, family members described “animal feces, caged animals, dirty walls and soiled furniture packed the house.” An overpowering smell permeated the home as Animal Control found the carass of a dead cat. For more on the story, read Woman accused of abusing 90-year-old WWII vet.
If you see warning signs of elder abuse, call for intervention. Feel free to contact our office. Elder abuse often results from the elder’s lack of capacity or being unduly influenced. Information on undue influence and lack of capacity can be found at Mental Capacity To Create A Will, Mental Capacity To Create A Trust, and Beneficiaries Disinherited From Estate Plans Created By Undue Influence.