Why Elder Abuse Is Everyone’s Problem
One story: Prosecutors in Seattle charged Christopher Wise with the murder of his mother, Ruby. His crime? Letting her rot to death with eight huge pressure sores, several to the bone, while he played Internet poker and lived off her pension. His excuse? She didn’t want to go to a nursing home or a doctor; he was just respecting her wishes. This is only one example of elder abuse.
REPORT ELDER ABUSE – IT’S A CRIME!
Call: 1-800-962-2873 | Online at: ReportAbuse.dcf.state.fl.us
MISSION of Dept of Children and Families in Florida: We are dedicated to protecting vulnerable adults from further abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect and enabling adults with disabilities to remain in the community.
Florida law requires the reporting of known or suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults (elderly or disabled). The Florida Abuse Hotline receives reports 24 hours a day. call 1-800-962-2873 or 1-800-96-ABUSE. report online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us. If you suspect or know of a vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.
America’s growing elderly population is a contributing factor. U.S. Census Bureau data show that the number of seniors aged 65 and over will double, from 44.7 million in 2013 to 88.5 million in 2050. With the projected growth in the elderly population, the prevalence and incidence of elder abuse will likely increase.
The goal is to prevent abuse, not catch it.
Elder neglect is the most common type of abuse.
In a domestic setting, neglect is the most common type of abuse (55%), followed by physical abuse (14.6%), financial and material exploitation (12.3 percent), emotional abuse (7.7 %), sexual abuse (less than 1 percent), and other types of abuse (6.1 percent), as reported by NCEA, the National Center for Elder Abuse.
Elder abuse is usually perpetrated by someone the victim knows and trusts.
Family members were the perpetrators in about 90% of cases of domestic elder abuse and neglect, according to The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study.
Adult children are most often the perpetrators of elder abuse, followed by other family members and spouses, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Forty-two percent of murder victims over 60 were killed by their offspring, while 24 percent were killed by their spouses, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report.
Recognizing who is at risk.
Women are at greater risk to become an elder abuse victim during their lifetime, according to The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study.
Study results also found that women were the victims in 76.3% of cases of emotional or psychological abuse, 71.4 of physical abuse, 63% of financial/material exploitation, and 60% of neglect. Men were the majority of victims (62.2%) of abandonment.
The older people are, the higher their risk. Other at-risk groups include people who are socially isolated; people who need a lot of help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom; people with disabilities; people who live with someone with mental illness or substance abuse issues; and people with mental impairments or dementia.
The Resources: It Takes A Village. In Alachua County
Department of Elder Affairs
Victim Advocate Unit at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. (352) 384-3317
The Unit includes four full-time Victim Advocates. The program offers advocacy and services to victims who report their crimes to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Those served include victims of child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, DUI crashes, domestic violence, elder abuse, survivors of homicide victims, stalking victims, robbery victims, and assault victims. Services offered to victims include:
- Information on case status
- Information regarding the judicial process and victim’s rights throughout this process
- Community resource information and referral services
- Accompaniment and support through criminal proceedings
- Ongoing emotional support to victims and their families
- Assistance filing an Injunction for Protection
- Assistance in filing for Crime Victim Compensation
All services are free and available whether or not an arrest has been made.
The Miller Elder Law Firm is committed to stopping and preventing elder abuse. Firm founder Shannon Miller, ESQ has been instrumental in elder abuse law development in Florida. She is an expert in the exploitation of the elderly and is the only Board Certified Elder Law Attorney in the 8th Judicial Circuit.
How The Miller Elder Law Firm Can Help