The “baby boomer” generation is aging, which means the number of elders in the United States is rapidly growing to historic proportions. According to The National Center on Elder Abuse, Americans aged 65 and older will comprise 20% or more of the total US population by 2050. Thanks to aging baby boomers and advancements in medical technology, those aged 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of the US population.
What all this means is that the potential for elder abuse is rapidly growing right alongside the elder population. A recent study has shown that as many as 1 in 10 elders have experienced some form of elder abuse. This ratio does not account for financial exploitation, which means that more than 10 percent of elderly people experience some form of abuse.
We owe it to our seniors to protect them from those who take advantage of them and everyone has a responsibility to report elder exploitation. Numerous occupations in Florida are mandated by law to report any suspicion of elder including health professionals, bank employees, and social workers.
Believe it or not, family members commit elder exploitation and abuse 90% of the time. Below are some of the elder abuse warning signs to watch for:
Signs of physical abuse
- unexplained injuries, bruises, burns, etc
- hesitance to be left alone with particular people
- unexplained STD’s
Signs of neglect
- poor hygiene
- extreme weight loss or lack of food in the home
- unlivable home conditions/lack of facilities
- lack of supervision in cases of dementia or mental disability
- bed sores
Signs of financial exploitation
- making odd or uncharacteristic financial decisions
- odd or sudden changes to will
- unexpected ATM withdrawals
- lack of affordable amenities like food or hygiene products
- making financial decisions they do not understand or are mentally unsuited to handle
Other signs of elder abuse and exploitation
- extreme changes in mood and demeanor (depression, lashing out, etc)
- verbal abuse or derision by a caregiver
- elder is forced to give up Power of Attorney
- missing belongings
- not getting treatment for medical issues (whether by choice or not)
- elder lies or is seemingly hiding something
Our elders deserve to spend their twilight years in comfort. You can fight back against elder exploitation if you know what to look for. Watch out for the above warning signs and if you suspect elder abuse contact adult protective services immediately. Trembly Law has the knowledge and experience to fight for the rights and protections of our senior citizens. Contact us to learn more.