The elderly are particularly vulnerable to attack from family members, neighbors, or other caregivers. Unfortunately, many seniors are not aware that abuse is happening, or that they are being held against their will.
If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, it’s important to report it, whether it involves physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. The rights of the elderly are protected by federal and state laws. These laws dictate how and when you can report abuse, and your rights to compensation if you are the victim. An elder abuse attorney in San Diego can help you understand more.
Most people won’t consider the possibility until it happens to them. But elder abuse happens a lot more often than you might think. In fact, the statistics are startling. One out of three adults over 65 has experienced some form of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And the problem is only going to get worse. One of the biggest dangers is financial exploitation.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is a harsh reality. According to the Administration on Aging, elder abuse is defined as “any abuse, mistreatment, or neglect of an older person that is threatening or endangers his or her well-being.” Elder abuse can take many forms. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and emotional or mental abuse. And, unfortunately, many cases of elder abuse go unreported.
Elder abuse is any mistreatment or neglect of an older adult. It can occur in almost any setting, such as at home, in the community, and in long-term care facilities. It’s common for abusers to abuse many people at once, and the abuse is often hidden from view by family members and caregivers.
Categories of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is any mistreatment, neglect, or exploitation of an older adult by a caregiver, family member, or any other person in a position of trust or authority. It can occur on a community, state, or national level.
Let’s take a look at the three main categories of elder abuse.
1. Domestic Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a systemic societal problem that exists throughout the United States and in every sector of the population regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, or religion. The abuse of elders by caregivers is the most common type of abuse in America. Elder abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse of an older person.
Domestic elder abuse is abuse that occurs in a domestic context, perpetrated by a perpetrator who is in some type of domestic relationship with the victim. The abuse can be physical, emotional, mental, sexual, or financial in nature. In the United States, a person is considered an elderly person at age 65 or older, while in the United Kingdom, a person is considered an elderly person at age 65 or older.
2. Institutional Elder Abuse
Institutional elder abuse is a form of elder abuse that occurs in an institutional setting. This form of abuse is sometimes referred to as “institutional neglect,” “institutionalized elder abuse,” or “elder abuse in a residential setting.”
With the increase of the elderly population in America, together with the increased number of nursing homes, care centers, and other residential settings, elder abuse in institutional settings is emerging as a serious problem. The emergence of this problem has created a movement to educate the public and professionals about the issues surrounding elder abuse in care settings. The purpose of this movement is to develop new ways of preventing, recognizing, and responding to elder abuse in institutions.
Institutional elder abuse generally takes on the form of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, or neglect. It can be perpetrated by anyone working in the elder’s environment (a home, a facility, a system, etc.). It is not limited to physical contact. It can also be financial exploitation, theft, or other forms of fraud. Institutional abuse can be subtle or overt. It can take place in a variety of settings, such as a care facility, a family home, or an agency.
3. Self-neglect Elder Abuse
Self-neglect Elder Abuse – is an umbrella term that includes any case where a person ages 18 or older has experienced physical or psychological harm resulting from the failure of an individual to seek or get the minimal maintenance and support necessary for health or safety.
Self-neglect elder abuse is a form of elder abuse in which the abuser/felon is the victim. This can include allowing an elder to remain in an unsafe environment, failing to provide necessary health care, or neglecting the elder’s personal hygiene or mental health.
Federal Laws on Elder Abuse
As the number of elderly Americans continues to grow, so does the number of cases of elder abuse. When compared to other types of crimes, such as robbery and assault, elder abuse receives less attention from law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.
However, current statistics suggest that there are about 2.6 million cases of elder abuse, including neglect, financial exploitation, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. These crimes can damage the physical and emotional health of victims, and they can have long-lasting effects on victims’ physical, financial, and emotional well-being.
Here are the common federal laws that protect against elderly abuse.
Elder Justice Act
The Elder Justice Act (EJA) was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on March 23, 2010. It is the first piece of federal legislation enacted to address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The EJA authorized the creation of a Working Group on Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (WGEANE). It was charged with developing a plan to address this issue. In December 2011, the WGEANE presented the Elder Justice Roadmap to address both abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The roadmap also addressed how to promote the development of a comprehensive system to prevent, detect and respond to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The Older Americans Act
The Older Americans Act is a federal program. It provides funding for home-delivered meals, congregate meals, and caregiver support. It also provides funding for employment and training to older adults and adults with disabilities. It was reauthorized in 2016 and the latest reauthorization extends funding until 2021.
This legislation was passed in 1965 and has undergone several revisions since then. The latest update grants money to the state to provide home-delivered meals to low-income seniors. While most people assume that the Older Americans Act funds programs aimed at seniors, the legislation also includes measures that help disabled and other disadvantaged adults.
Elder abuse can include physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can sometimes occur in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Adults and their families need to be aware of the signs of abuse. If they believe abuse has occurred, they should report their suspicions to the authorities including an elder abuse attorney in San Diego. The reporting of abuse is confidential and should be made to Adult Protective Services.