Communities Combating Elder Abuse Issues In Texas
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 22, 2013 - Statewide, there were close to 60,000 victims of elder abuse, exploitation or neglect in 2012.
There are more than 2.4 million Texans age 65 and older. Investigations found that 40 percent of the individuals abusing, neglecting or financially exploiting the elderly were the victims’ adult children.
According to Ross Jackson, the regional director for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Region 7, many of the cases included neglectful self-care, elderly individuals who were locked inside and unable to get out, and bed-ridden elders who were not properly cared for. Elder abuse and neglect runs the gamut from overt physical abuse to general neglect, said Jackson.
There were at least 3,000 suspected cases of elder neglect or abuse in Travis County last year. After investigations were completed, almost 2,000 cases were confirmed. But the number of abuse cases in Williamson County are lower than average, in large part, Jackson says, because the number of higher-income households means more elderly people can afford to pay for outside care services, and because of the concerted community efforts of law enforcement and elder advocates.
"Elder abuse is widespread throughout the state, as well as the country, but generally varies by income level," stated John Hale, a Dallas elder law attorney. "Communities with more funds include more funds for senior support and outreach."
In Williamson County, there were a little more than 700 suspected cases of elder neglect or abuse. More than 540 of those cases were later confirmed, said officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Jackson applauds the anti-elder abuse efforts of the Williamson County law enforcement and government leaders.
The assistant commissioner for Adult Protective Services at DFPS, Beth Engelking, stated that the signs of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation should be recognizable to everyone so that they can report them. But more commonly, Engelking added, are situations where disabled or elderly individuals are not able to adequately care for themselves and need support.
Communities successfully combating elder abuse issues typically put the same basic systems in place, including: developing a local Adult Protective Services group; publicizing services for the elderly and disabled such as meal delivery, transportation, pet and yard care; and encouraging neighbors to get to know each other, especially cross-generational neighbors, through annual block parties and other outreach efforts.
John Hale is a Dallas elder law attorney and Dallas estate planning lawyer with The Hale Law Firm. To learn more visit http://www.thehalelawfirm.com.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
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