Reports of Elder Abuse on the Rise
Sadly, the elderly are tempting targets for abusers. The abuse can take many forms: physical, psychological, sexual or financial. Neglect is another common form of elder abuse. Any elderly person is at risk of being abused, but those who live in nursing homes have the highest risk of becoming an abuser’s victim.
Reports of Elder Abuse Are Increasing
The number of elderly people is increasing dramatically in the United States and throughout the world. With the increase in the elderly population comes an increase in the reports of elder abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
The numbers are staggering. For example, in California, more than 196,000 incidents of abuse are reported to Adult Protective Services each year. But the reality of the extent of elder abuse is actually much worse than that because so many cases go unreported.
Most Elder Abuse Is Never Reported to Authorities
Incidents of elder abuse that are reported to authorities are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of incidents are never reported. In California, only about one in 24 cases of elder abuse gets reported to Adult Protective Services. When you look at just financial abuse, the percentage reported is even lower – only one in 44 cases ever gets reported, according to official estimates.
What Can Be Done to Stop Elder Abuse?
Some communities are trying to raise awareness of this pressing problem. In Visalia, California, people placed thousands of purple flags on the lawn of Government Plaza during a recent World Elder Abuse Awareness Month event. Each flag represented a report of elder abuse within the county.
Law enforcement, medical professionals, and institutions that treat the elderly all have a role to play in preventing elder abuse. Help from individuals is crucial as well. If you have an elderly loved one, stay alert for signs of abuse. If you suspect abuse, you should report it to authorities and seek legal help from an experienced elder abuse lawyer.
When You Need Legal Help
Our mission at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby is to protect the rights of the vulnerable elderly to live a safe and dignified life. We are national leaders in elder abuse litigation. Call us at (800) 281-8515 for a free case consultation and to find out more about how we can fight to protect your loved one’s rights.