I have noticed that my mother’s generation believed in silence. Today’s generation share too much information via social media. It would be wonderful if we were all more forthcoming about reporting elder abuse.
It is estimated that 84% of elder abuse incidents go unreported. Think about it. Eighty-four percent of incidents go unreported. Many view it as a family matter or the classic, “it’s none of my business.” I have news for you. It is all of our business.
Elder abuse is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. In 2012, $2.9 billion was the estimated loss of the elderly as a result of financial fraud.
The reality is that many know of incidents of the mistreatment of the elderly and refuse to report it. I find it irritating when those who witnessed incidents relay details of the incidents after it is too late.
Families keep quiet about it but become proactive when it relates to loss of an inheritance. I can tell you firsthand that the authorities will not invest time in investigating a claim of financial exploitation after the senior has passed. It requires a lot of time investigating and many of the law enforcement officers are not trained in elder abuse investigation, particularly elder financial abuse.The result of not taking action has resulted in loss of homes, cars, and money. A detective serving in the elder abuse unit in Delaware County, Pennsylvania said that it makes his job difficult trying to convince his superiors to pursue a case when the victim is deceased. For a detective who cares, this is frustrating.
There are also social consequences as well. The message that is sent to the younger generation is one that allows tolerance of the mistreatment of the elderly. This should strike fear in the baby boomers who are raising a generation that many feel are probably the most disrespectful, irresponsible and feel a great sense of entitlement.
There are also physical consequences as well. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “for older people, the consequences of abuse can be especially serious because their bones are more brittle and convalescence takes them longer. Even a relatively minor injury can cause serious and permanent damage.”
As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.