When it comes to elder abuse, many would immediately think of the kind of abuse and neglect that is often seen in nursing homes. While that does happen, most often, elder abuse is perpetrated by a family member, a friend, a trusted person in the senior’s life.
Currently, the federal government cannot do much about elder abuse. Elder abuse is generally considered a state or a local problem. The one step the federal government can take is defining the problem. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to launch a data collection program that will help to assist those combating elderly exploitation.
One of the largest types of exploitation is financial exploitation. Losses to our seniors are estimated to be at $36.5 billion dollars. That amount is growing.
Beginning early next year, the HHS will launch the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS). It will be the first comprehensive national reporting system for Adult Protective Services programs.
The aim is to establish data collection that will include information from investigations into the mistreatment of older adults and adults with disabilities.
During the hearing to establish the reporting system, stories from those who were abused came to light.
An 82-year-old WWII veteran who had suffered from two strokes and was confined to a wheelchair and homebound purchased a trailer and invited his daughter to live with him. He named her his power of attorney and added her to the title of her home and his bank accounts. The daughter took complete control over the money, leaving him with just $15 when he believed he had about $20,000.
Another story involved a niece caring for her 83-year-old aunt. She used the woman’s money for personal expenses, including purchasing a pickup truck for a friend and a $350 pair of sunglasses. She was ordered to repay more than $32,000 and sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Financial elder abuse is a growing problem and the establishment of a national database to collect information will be just the tip of the iceberg according to some experts.
If you or a loved one believe you have been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, don’t fight alone. Call the offices of Schenk Smith. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.