The statistics are alarming. Financial or other abuse of elders is quite common. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the most likely perpetrator is a family member, and most likely a son or daughter. Further, the vast majority of elder law abuse cases are “silent”, in the sense that they are never reported, never investigated, but rather serve as “unspoken abuse”.
Why is this under reported? There are many reasons. First, and probably most likely, people are simply embarrassed, intimidated, or unwilling to admit that a loved one is taking advantage of them.
In addition, the method and means of inflicting elder abuse are varied, and ill defined. Many of us “know it when we see it”, but beyond that it’s difficult to define.
Additionally, statistics are dependent upon reporting, and across the country there is no uniform reporting system or methodology of tracking reports.
Finally, there is no comprehensive nationwide system of collecting the data.
However, what the statistics do seem to say are as follows:
- Somewhere between 1 million and 2 million Americans over age 65 have been either personally or financially abused each year.
- This may amount to as much as 10% of our population.
- Only approximately 1 out of 14 incidents are ever reported or investigated.
- Probably only 1 out of 25 cases of financial abuse is ever reported or investigated, meaning that there may be as many as 5 million financial abuse victims each year.
In the next articles we will talk about warning signs that either personal or financial abuse may be occurring, as well as steps that you or a loved one can take, if you are the victim of abuse.
If you would like more information of any of these issues, feel free to contact our office and arrange an appointment to discuss your situation.
Attorney Peter E. Grosskopf
1324 W. Clairemont Ave. Suite 10
Eau Claire, WI 54701