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Estate and Elder Law

It Has Come to This – We Now Need Shelters to Protect Our Grandparents

 Hey, trusted loved one, stop abusing your elderly mother, father, aunt or uncle!

Of course, your abuse doesn't depend on you being a loved one, and the victim doesn't have to be a relative - just a senior who trusts you to treat him or her compassionately. And it might not be physical abuse - you might not be punching or beating. It might be financial abuse, which can be just as painful and just as damaging as a bloody lip or bruised arm.

Two weeks ago, Andrea Lee Negroni recounted the story of a daughter financially abusing her elderly mother and an Iowa court's saving grace in voiding the mother's mortgage. A week later, there was a report on Virginia's legislative response to the financial exploitation of the elderly. And few cases of elder abuse have been as public as the Brooke Astor case, in which Astor's son and an attorney attempted to manipulate the socialite/philanthropist's multi-million dollar estate. That case resulted in criminal convictions, and in April of last year, Astor's estate was finally settled

Yesterday, Fox News reported on the elderly abuse epidemic and the increasing availability of shelters for abuse victims. In New York, the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention lists itself as the "nation's first comprehensive regional elder abuse shelter, serving eligible seniors who are 60-years and older." Similar services are offered in other areas - like Cincinnati's Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, which provides a safe harbor for abused older adults.

Elder abuse comes in multiple forms, including:

  • Financial
  • Physical;
  • Sexual;
  • Emotional;
  • Neglect; and
  • Abandonment.

According to the University of California, Irvine's Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect, elder abuse affects about 5 million Americans each year - 1 in 10 - with as few as one in 23 cases being reported. The Fox News report goes on to note that Americans 65 and over will nearly double by 2030, with the number of people 85 and over increasing at an even faster rate. 


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