Elder Abuse Archives

Nursing Home Residents have Legal Rights

State and federal laws protect the legal rights of residents in nursing homes and other elder facilities. In addition to the "Residents' Bill of Rights," there are several other laws designed to prevent and correct instances of abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly, and provide support services.

Estate Planning and Elder Abuse

One type of elder abuse is in the area of financial planning - specifically estate planning. This can include wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, life insurance beneficiaries and other important parts of an elderly person's estate. Any or all of these could be at risk if a manipulative individual succeeds at exerting "undue influence" over a vulnerable person.

Common Financial Scams of the Elderly

Telemarketing Fraud: According to the US Dept. of Justice, telemarketing fraud accounts for $40 billion in fake transactions per year - 80% of the victims are 50 and older! These scams are perpetrated by phone calls promising lottery winnings, discount sales of bogus goods and services, 'free trips,' investment opportunities, and other deals that are literally 'too good to be true.'

How to avoid power of attorney elder abuse

Often elderly individuals need assistance managing their affairs, specifically financial matters. This can be accomplished by a "power of attorney" document, which gives one person (the agent) the written legal authorization to act for another (the principal). Clearly this requires choosing an agent who will make all decisions and take all actions with loyalty and the utmost good faith.

Elder Abuse - Power of Attorney Scams

The ABA defines a power of attorney as "a written document in which a competent adult individual (the "principal") appoints another competent adult individual (the "attorney-in-fact" [or "agent"]) to act on the principal's behalf. In general, an attorney-in-fact [agent] may perform any legal function or task which the principal has a legal right to do for him/herself."

Adult Protective Services - Help for elder abuse

The National Adult Protective Services states, "APS helps by assessing each individual's unique needs, then developing a service plan to maintain his/her safety, health and independence." This organizational group oversees many social services for the elderly (as well as disabled adults of any age), including responding to and investigating elder abuse.

How common is Elder Abuse?

Older adults have a high level of vulnerability due to their dependence on others for care. Yet, many elderly and their caregivers are hesitant to report elder abuse. This makes it very difficult to answer the question of how often it occurs.

Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home

The latest data from the CDC indicates that there are almost 2 million elderly residents in US nursing homes. These individuals, 65 and older, do not always receive the care they deserve! They are vulnerable to neglect and/or abuse.