Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thousands of elder abuse cases reported every year

There are thousands of elder abuse cases every year, with even more going unreported.

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow investigators to record testimonies of victims over 75. Officials say this will help prosecute suspects, even if a victim passes away before trial.

Elder abuse can happen anywhere. For institutions like nursing homes, there are statutes and laws specifically designed to protect the elderly.

Elder abuse can also happen at home, when an older person is victimized by family, friends or paid caregivers. Maybe their money is stolen, or they are manipulated to pay for things. There's physical abuse that happens too. It's estimated that 10 percent of seniors are abused and only one in 24 cases is even reported.

There were 7,000 claims from crime victims over the age of 60 from 2013-2015. Genesee County had 67, Orleans County 9, Ontario County 11, Livingston County 5 and Wayne County had 26. Monroe County had 407.

When abuse is suspected, Lifespan can send a social worker to step in because often times the elderly person in too embarrassed or ashamed to help themselves. Sometimes family members have to be prosecuted, and when money goes missing, the state does have a compensation fund for victims. Last year, almost $20 million was paid out from fines and surcharges collected by the court system.

There are signs friends or neighbors can look for that might indicate that abuse is happening. Experts say to be on the lookout for any bruises or bone fractures, weight loss or unexplained fear in the senior. Also, watch for unexplained withdrawals of money.

If you need help you can call life-span at 585-244-8400. More information is available on the Monroe County elder resource webpage.

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Thousands of elder abuse cases reported every year

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