Elder Law refers to the area of legal practice pertaining to issues that affect older people (usually those over 60 years of age). The three primary focuses of elder law include estate planning; medicaid, disability and long-term care; and guardianship.
The elderly have the inherent right to life, dignity, and the integrity of their persons, which shall be protected by law. The elderly have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The elderly have the right to be free from discrimination.
Definition of Financial Abuse or Exploitation (per the CDC): “The illegal , unauthorized, or improper use of an older individual’s resources by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship, for the benefit of someone other than the older individual.
Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult , their financial exploitation, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care.
Supporting Adult Protective Services (APS) – APS is a social services program provided by state and local governments nationwide serving older adults and adults with disabilities facing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. ACL is working to support these systems.
The National Center on Elder Abuse distinguishes between seven different types of elder abuse. These include physical abuse , sexual abuse , emotional abuse , financial/material exploitation, neglect , abandonment, and self – neglect .
The beginning of old age is mostly recognized as 70 years by men and as 75 years by women. In addition, people aged over 90 years can be classified as oldest‐ old or super‐ old .
To prove there was a breach by the fiduciary or someone else, one or more of the following must be proven: Extensive withdrawal from monetary accounts. Increased or changed spending habits. Someone added to the senior’s financial accounts. Unpaid health care costs or no health care. Changes in the senior’s estate.
Sixteen factors have been identified in caregivers that have been associated with increased likelihood for elder abuse and neglect: 1) responsibility for an elderly individual over the age of 75; 2) living constantly with the elderly dependent; 3) inexperience or unwillingness to provide care; 4) suffering a
If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud , contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
However if the victim so chooses, and criminal charges are filed, financial elder abuse can lead to misdemeanor and felony charges. Misdemeanor convictions can lead to up to a year in jail , and a $1,000 fine. Felony convictions can result in up to four years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
But while state law requires that elder abuse be reported, the high level of proof needed for criminal charges is often elusive. If an abuser has legal documents such as power of attorney, it is especially hard to prove that a victim has been defrauded or stolen from.
Exploitation refers to the act or process of taking advantage of an elderly person by another person or caretaker whether for monetary, personal or other benefit , gain or profit.
If you want to report elder financial abuse , contact your local county APS Office (PDF). Abuse reports may also be made to you local law enforcement agency.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 was passed with the aim of protecting vulnerable adults and children from sexual abuse and exploitation.