Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ending elder abuse starts with being present

Ohio law recently expanded the number of individuals required to report suspicion of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.

An 85-year-old woman has lived alone for nearly five years since her husband died. She has two children who have busy lives and children of their own.

They visit only on special occasions or holidays. They don’t call very often in between working full time and transporting the kids to soccer practice and music lessons.

An 83-year-old woman has lived alone for 5 years. One of her two adult children visits once a week and calls to check on her each morning.

Though the two descriptions are similar, one of the women is more at risk to becoming a victim of elder abuse.

Stark County Probate Judge Dixie Park said isolation is the biggest factor that puts an elderly person at risk for abuse or financial exploitation. For at least eight years, Park has been raising awareness about elder abuse and encouraging local law enforcement and community leaders to protect the elderly.

At the end of September, Ohio law expanded the number of individuals required to report suspicion of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Some examples include pharmacists, dialysis technicians, firefighters, first responders, bank employees and financial planners.

“I’ve seen some really hideous things happening to elderly people,” Park said. “That’s one of the reasons I feel so strongly about raising awareness to elder abuse and people with disabilities.”

A growing issue

Since Park took office in 2004, she has seen the number of guardianship cases rise from nearly 1,200 in 2004 to more than 1,800 this year. Many cases are filed as a result of the elderly person being exploited.

Park recalled a case where a woman was taken advantage of by someone living with her who claimed to be doing construction on her home. Instead, he swindled her out of nearly $200,000.

Though Park does what she can to help, many times the damage has already been done by the time the case reaches her in probate court. To help educate others in the community, Park coordinated a seminar last month to discuss the importance of protecting the elderly and signs of abuse and financial exploitation.

“It’s a community issue, and that’s why we’ve been trying to raise awareness to it,” she said. “It continues to grow. There’s a high percentage that goes unreported. We need to keep track of one another and protect one another.”

Stark County Judge Frank Forchione said he has seen the number of elder abuse cases rise within the past four or five years, parallel to the opioid epidemic. It is common in cases involving elderly victims that a younger family member steals money, credit cards or jewelry to help fuel a drug habit.

Many of these cases go unreported because the victim feels ashamed or embarrassed they were duped, or because they are afraid to report it. Some fear being placed in a nursing home if the abuse is reported, or fear no one will be around to take care of them if they speak out.

The demographics of the United States account for another reason elder abuse cases ae up — there are simply more elderly now. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65 by 2030. By 2035, there will be 78 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.  (Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Ending elder abuse starts with being present

4 comments:

StandUp said...

So true. But many elderly people have outlived their friends and family. Or their family has taken advantage of them. What about them?

Boston Angel said...

There are also cases where the appointed guardian becomes the biggest threat and the greatest abuser of the elderly. A false accusation of some kind of exploitation/abuse is made. The family member is then railroaded by probate court and NEVER allowed to present proof of the falsehood! A guardian is appointed based on this provably false accusation. The guardian then forces their elderly ward out of their home into a substandard facility, essentially kidnapping the person! They then deny family members visitation and access to their elderly loved one. The guardian then finds a way to steal/deplete all of their assets. The ward is given substandard or sometimes even no care because the guardian just doesn't care!!! They are also given unnecessary medication to keep them quiet and docile! The ward is confused and heartbroken because they are being denied the comfort and care of those they love! They die from neglect and isolation! The solution to a problem - guardianship being the solution - often times becomes the biggest form of abuse. ISOLATE, MEDICATE, STEAL THE ESTATE! It happens to thousands of elderly across the country. My mother was a victim! I just buried her today. When I knew sonething was wrong, the Nursing Home with the blessing of the guardian banned me from seeing her. My pleas to get her help went unanswered. It took them 8 weeks to allow an UNTREATED UTI to cause sepsis and kill her! Because I was banned from seeing her, she died alone, without me there to hold her hand, to comfort her. Of course if I had had access they NEVER would have been able to allow the infection to kill her. ISOLATION IS ABUSE. GUARDIANSHIP IS ABUSE. GUARDIANSHIP CAN KILL

Gretch said...

Kindred hospital doing this to my Mom since the death of my Dad. He did not require a tracheostomy, but his was installed by Kindred's business partner hospital. It was then supposed to be removed in three days. It has never been removed nor has my Dad been given the required decanulation tests. It became permanent and he was repeated deprived of oxygen after they extracted maximum reimbursement from Medicare. Billing my Mom now for $6600.00 per day for 2.5 yrs. Reporting to CMS, Adult Protective Services, and all the other agencies did nothing. Everyone, even lawyers are getting kickbacks. A good introdction to this is Billie Mintz's documentary: The Guardians. The word needs to get out. This is the beginning of another holocaust, because unnecessary hospice and death is involved too.

Elaine Renoire said...

Gretch,

Did your Mom have a lawyer who was supposed to be representing her? And did you have a laywer during the guardianship nightmare?

Please consider joining NASGA. Members can submit a profile of their loved one's case for publication on our Victims page. We get a lot of visits from media and also governmentals on our Victims page.

We hope you'll join us!