Studies estimate that more than 2.5 million older people each year are injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection, with 90% of the abuse committed by a perpetrator known to the elderly victim.
If you find those estimates horrifying, you’ll find reality even more chilling:
• For every 1 case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to authorities, about five more go unreported.
• In the year 2000, estimates put the overall reporting of financial exploitation at only 1 in 25 cases, suggesting that there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year. The numbers are certainly higher today.
• Data of domestic elder abuse suggests that only 1 in 14 incidents excluding (excluding self neglect) come to the attention of authorities.
Elder abuse doesn’t discriminate;
If you work with elders or special needs clients, the chances are excellent that one or more of your clients are being abused. The abuser may be a family member or hired caregiver who exercises power and control over your physically frail or cognitively impaired client or loved one. Your loved one’s or clients’ cries for help may go unheard if they are unable to communicate effectively. They also may fear harsher abuse or abandonment by her caretaker—in other words, they may feel trapped and powerless.
Society, backed by federal and state legislation, is now paying more attention to this heinous crime. Although there is still no federal law protecting elders from abuse, all states have adopted laws specifically targeting elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and many states have adopted clear criminal penalties for elder abuse.
If your business model has been to steer clear of involvement in domestic and healthcare issues, it’s time to reconsider:
• Most states have statutes mandating reporting of suspected abuse. “Mandated Reporters” include financial, legal, healthcare, and other professionals and advisors, as well as Caregivers.
• As a Mandated Reporter, you risk your license, your reputation, and your assets by not understanding the law and assisting clients who are in danger. If you participate in the abuse, you risk prosecution and imprisonment.
The Most Prevalent Types of Elder Abuse 5
Elder Abuse is a broad description for any knowing, deliberate, or careless act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older person.
• Physical Abuse (15.7%): Use of force to threaten or physically injure an elder
• Emotional abuse (7.3%): Use of verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, demeaning acts that cause mental anguish, physical and emotional decline
• Financial Exploitation (12.3%): Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of “undue influence” as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property.
• Sexual (0.04%): Forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced sexual contact from elders or anyone who is unable to grant consent
For a list of Elder Abuse warning signs, click here: http://www.preferredlifestyleservices.com/
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