In our area (and throughout the country) cases of Illinois elder abuse that involve physical harm usually gain more public attention than other forms of abuse, such as financial exploitation. However, all forms of senior abuse and neglect can have life-altering consequences on the victims. And in all cases, the mistreatment is allowed to occur or perpetrated specifically because of the unique vulnerabilities of the victims. That is why it must be stood up against at all times and in all places.
Recently a new comprehensive report was issued entitled, “The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse” that examined all aspects of the elder financial abuse problem. The review included a comprehensive summary of professional literature in the field and related news developments to provide information about the problem of elder financial abuse nationwide. The overall study provides a great primer for those interested in getting a complete picture of the current problem. It also provides handy insights sharing certain aspects of the issues. For example, as demonstrated in the report, current estimates suggest that elder financial abuse costs area seniors nearly $3 billion last year-a staggering sum of stolen money. The perpetrators of the abuse include a wide range of individuals, including supposed friends and family, businesspeople, strangers, caregivers, and others.
There are clear gender differences in the abuse. Elderly women are nearly two times more likely to be victimized than men. This likely represents the criminals’ targeting of those who appear to be the most vulnerable. Seniors in the 80s were the most likely victims, with chances of exploitation rising among those who lived alone and needed some level of health care or home maintenance aid.
Interestingly, the report found that the holiday season was the likely the time of the year when the most abuse occurred. Not only was the abuse higher during this time, but the percentage of exploitation perpetrated by family members increased in November and December. This suggests that the financial pressures of the holiday season have led many to stoop to stealing money from those vulnerable around them. This makes it particular important for those in a position to help area seniors to ensure that they are not targeting over the course of the next two months.
Chicago nursing home abuse is a prevalent problem throughout our area, and our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers are proud to spend each day helping its victims. However, the various forms of abuse and mistreatment that occur inside the nursing home can also occur outside of it. In the case of financial abuse, the mistreatment is actually more likely to occur when a senior lives on their own or with a specific caregiver. That is why it remains vital for all community members to take a moment to ensure that the seniors they interact with on a daily basis are not showing signs of neglect. Far too many observers stay silent when they are faced with indictors of mistreatment, which allows the mistreatment to continue unabated. Please be sure to step in, stop the abuse, and contact proper professionals so that the wrongdoers can be held accountable for their conduct.
In Other News: Two of our companion blogs–The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.
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