» Elder Abuse A Widespread And Underreported Problem

Elder Abuse A Widespread And Underreported Problem

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 30, 2013 – June 15, 2013 was designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by the United Nations.

The day was set aside to encourage a wider recognition of elder abuse in communities and as a call for countries to work on policies that support respect for the elderly.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 6 percent of the elderly population experiences some form of abuse; the numbers are unclear, as the abuse, more often than not, goes unreported. Elder researchers say that abuse of the elderly is one of the biggest issues facing senior citizens throughout the world.

“Elder abuse here in California is legally defined as the mistreatment of someone age 65 or older,” stated Palo Alto estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix. “Elder abuse is not restricted to the occasional ‘bad’ nursing home or unstable home environment. It can and does happen in all types of care settings and even the best institutional care facility.”

Elder abuse may include one or all of the following: abandonment; abduction; physical abuse; sexual abuse; psychological abuse; financial abuse; neglect; and isolation. Elder abuse has wide-ranging consequences; elderly individuals who have been abused are twice as likely to need hospitalization as those who have not suffered abuse; as much as three times more likely to die as non-victims and four times likely as non-victims to need nursing home care. As many as 5 million elderly people are neglected or abused yearly in the United States, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. Elder care researchers state that at least one in ten elders may experience abuse, but only one in every 23 cases is reported.

Elder care advocates are pushing for members of the public to be better informed about elder abuse warning signs, and urge that people contact local police or Adult Protective Services in their area if they suspect that abuse may be occurring.

Signs of possible abuse include an elderly person who becomes socially withdrawn, who has unexplained bruises or other injuries, who uncharacteristically stops caring about personal hygiene, unusual banking withdrawals or changes to a will or other estate planning changes, and loss of property.

The best defense is a carefully considered, sophisticated estate plan. Such a plan includes a living trust, a Durable Power of Attorney, and an Advance Directive. Each document names a trusted person to take over management of assets and health care if a person becomes fragile. Care must be taken to choose individuals who are truly trustworthy, and to sometimes build in oversight by a third party.

Facebook: Like Us!

  • Talking to Dad about his driving: the surprising side of difficult conversations
    Do you think it will be tough to ask Dad to hand over the keys?  Surprisingly, a recent study from Liberty Mutual showed that 84 percent of seniors are open to talking about the safety of their driving, but that only six percent have actually had the discussion. As Liberty Mutual put it, “Seniors are […]
  • Setting up a special needs trust: three reasons to start sooner
    When preparing for the future of a child or family member with a disability, many parents and guardians plan to set up a special needs trust.  This unique kind of trust can provide for many of the supplemental needs of a disabled person without jeopardizing that person’s eligibility for vital government benefits, including Medi-Cal and […]
  • Michael Gilfix discusses Medi-Cal asset seizure in Mercury News
    A growing number of older Californians are concerned about Medi-Cal asset seizure, according to a new article from the San Jose Mercury News. The California State Assembly recently passed a new bill designed to limit Medi-Cal’s ability to recover assets from the estates of deceased Medi-Cal beneficiaries. As the law stands currently, Medi-Cal can seize […]
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Options Abound, As Do Complications
    Long-term care insurance has become a critical topic as health care costs continue to rise.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the average annual cost of U.S. nursing home care to be $74,820. But in California, the Department of Health Care Services estimates that cost to be $91,250.  Recently, public debate about […]
  • Gilfix discusses Medi-Cal planning in the San Francisco Chronicle
    In the August 24, 2014 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter Kathleen Pender wrote about Medi-Cal reimbursement or “estate claims” that are imposed on a person’s estate if they receive Medi-Cal and after they pass. The article makes the point that the state could seek “an unlimited amount” from an individual’s estate when “Medi-Cal […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required