Legislators look at abuse of the elderly

About 90 of those who abuse the elderly are family members of the victim, either children or grandchildren, followed by caregivers and professional con artists who have targeted older adults, according to statics presented to a joint House-Senate Committee on abuse of senior citizens that met last week.

From WTVT-TV’s report:

“I call it early inheritance syndrome that we deal with with these abusers,” Attorney David Callahan told the task force. “They just cannot wait to get their money out of their inheritance, and so they take steps to intervene with the natural order of things and obtain their inheritance early.”

Callahan has been an estate planner who explained how he sees the fallout from the financial abuse of the elderly almost daily now.

And while two thirds of the victims have been women, 60% of the abusers were men between the ages of 30 and 59.

…”Elder abuse is more closely associated to child abuse than any other thing else. It has some additional challenges that aren’t faced in child abuse cases that make them even harder to detect and harder to rectify,” Callahan described.

He told the committee the problem was that the elderly all too often, rarely leave their homes and have little contact with the outside world where someone might be able to help them.

And Beverly Patnaik with the Council on Aging told the task force that especially when family members have been the abusers, there are many reasons, victims don’t report it.

“They’re ashamed that their family members are behaving that way towards them. They’re in denial. They blame themselves. Their fear of the abuser. Retaliation. Being forced to leave their home. Fear of losing their independence. ‘Mom, if you don’t give me your social security check, I’m going to put you in a nursing home.’ We hear that so many times,” she shared.