Sometimes you have to see elder abuse with your own eyes before appreciating the many ways that seniors are mistreated in our community each and every day. Sadly, there are virtually no limits to the manner in which others exploit vulnerable elders (often their own relatives) for their own personal gain. Living out one’s golden years in comfort should not be a privilege only for a certain few. However, for far too many, their last years are filled with pain, sadness, and neglect.
Some seniors are even forced to spend their time working bizarrely for other’s gain. For example, a community was shocked recently when a video made its way onto YouTube suggesting that a man was forcing his elderly mother to panhandle at a mall for hours on end day after day.
Elder Abuse Video Spreads
According to an ABC report on the situation, the YouTube video actually shows a confrontation between the cameraman and the adult son. Apparently the cameraman taped the elderly woman being picked up at the end of the day in a car by her son. It suggests that the senior was panhandling at the behest of her son. The senior woman claimed that she was homeless and asked passersby for donations. She was forced to sit there begging for hours, even on cold winter days.
The videographer who grew suspicious of the situation confronted the adult son. However, the man drove away with his mother without answering any questions about the situation. He did become very agitated by the questions, and made accusations of the man shooting the video. Others have reported seeing the elderly woman at the same location for many years. She apparently makes the same claims about being homeless and pleading for help.
The video subsequently received thousands of hits online. At some point the video drew the attention of local law enforcement officials. Representatives for the agency explain that they are conducting an investigation into the matter. However, they did concede that the conduct on the video was not actually criminal. After all, it is not a crime to talk to others at a public location–even if you are asking for money–and it is not a crime to pick one up in a car. Of course, the specific conduct in the video is likely just a hint at the relationship between this elderly woman and her son.
This incident a reminder of the need for vulnerable seniors in the community to be aware of their options. Far too many elderly residents are living in the worst nursing homes or in at-home setting where they are neglected. Even if they appreciate that they are not receiving proper treatment, many may tolerate the situation without speaking up, because they believe that they have no other options.
Each Chicago elder abuse attorney at our firm urges others not to remain silent when senior mistreatment is suspected. Staying silent only means that a vulnerable individual will be forced to remain in place and live another day in poor conditions. Seniors must be made aware that options are available and they are entitled to a reasonable level of care no matter what.
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