Elder Abuse Concerns on the Rise in West Michigan
Elder abuse and neglect is an egregious offense. It’s often difficult to imagine that it occurs with such frequency. For some communities around the U.S., it’s a growing reality. According to a recent article in MLive.com, the small West Michigan town of Kalamazoo is taking measures to combat elder abuse, especially one of its lesser-recognized forms – financial abuse.
According to Judy Sivak, the county’s Area Agency on Aging director, who is quoted in the article:
“We definitely are getting more calls that we are referring to Adult Protective Services. I think that financial exploitation, in particular, is on the rise and is expected to increase with the increase in the (elder) population.”
In March 2013, elder care advocates and officials from the City’s law enforcement office created the Kalamazoo County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition. The coalition was formed to help combat a growing problem that requires as much attention and available resources as possible. So far, the coalition has found various needs within the community, such as training professionals such as law enforcement officials on how to recognize elder abuse.
With nearly two-thirds of all Michigan jobs paying less than $20/hour, and 24 percent of Kalamazoo County’s households living above the poverty line but below cost-of-living levels, it’s easy to see why officials might be especially concerned with financial abuse as it relates to seniors. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting told MLive his office is making elder abuse a priority. New elder abuse legislation aimed at protecting seniors and increasing punishments was issued in June 2012. It enhanced penalties for those who abuse the elderly and is aiding prosecutors with their cases.
If you suspect an elderly family member or someone else is a victim of financial exploitation or abuse, contact the elder abuse lawyers of Garcia & Artigliere immediately at 800-281-8515.