Sadly vulnerable older Americans are among the easiest targets for abuse, especially those who are women or have disabilities and rely on others for care.
In a recent independent study, based on 16 key metrics ranging from “elder abuse, gross-neglect, and exploitation complaints” to “financial elder-abuse laws,” personal-finance website WalletHub rated New Jersey as the worst state for protection against elder abuse. Some of the metrics included exploitation complaints, estimated elder fraud rate, financial elder abuse laws, and quality of nursing homes. This news is not such a surprise, as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been continuously under fire for their mistreatment of their senior care residents amid the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Abuse is non-discriminatory of its victims. Abuse can happen in an older person’s home or a family member’s house, not just an assisted living facility or a nursing home. As we have previously written on this site, “many suffer in silence from Elder Abuse in their golden years” at the hands of family members, strangers, health care providers, caregivers, or friends.
Are you or do you know an elderly adult who’s being abused, neglected, or exploited financially? If you believe that an elder adult in your life may be experiencing the results of neglect or mistreatment by someone who has been entrusted with their care, you can protect their rights, their safety, and their well-being by retaining an experienced and caring legal advocate. Do not delay in taking action.
At The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have decades of experience supporting elderly clients and their families in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all legal matters, including protection of their financial and physical wellbeing.
What is the Long-Term Effect of Elder Abuse or Neglect?
Physical wounds and personal injuries can heal over time. Still, elder abuse can lead to early death, harm to physical and psychological health, destroy social and family ties, resulting in devastating financial loss, and more.
Any negligence or mistreatment, or abandonment can leave the abused person feeling fearful and depressed and thinking the abuse is their fault. Adult protective service agencies can suggest support groups and counseling to help the abused person heal the emotional wounds.
- New Jersey Adult Protective Service Providers – (609) 588-6501 After Hrs: 911 or local police
- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services – Statewide Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-800-490-8505 (24 hours a day)
What are Some of the Ways to Protect Against Elder Abuse?
New Jersey has laws and procedures, such as the Prevention of Domestic Violence PDVA Act of 1991 and the Adult Protective Services Act, all of which serve to protect the interests and safety of vulnerable populations.
Elder abuse will not stop on its own, which means someone else needs to step in and take action. Understandably many older adults may be too afraid or ashamed to report mistreatment, or they worry that reporting the abuse will make the situation worse.
Once the abuse has started, time is against you, and your options may be limited. If you think or suspect someone is physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially abused or neglected, speak with them alone and let them know that you think something is wrong and you’re worried. Offer to take them to get help, for instance, at a local adult protective services (APS) agency.
Other proactive measures you can take to help prevent or reduce the impact of financial abuse or fraud may include:
- creating a joint account so you can monitor financial transactions and detect fraud or financial abuse faster
- using direct deposit, so your elderly loved one’s social security or recurring payments are guaranteed to directly deposited into their bank account
- executing a Power of Attorney with specific provisions to reduce risk of abuse, and whereby yourself or a trustworthy individual assures that all activities, medical care, and financial transactions are done on behalf of and in the best interest of this elderly person
Whether physical, psychological, sexual, or financial, an injury to an older person can be catastrophic, destroying their quality of life, and possibly even result in their death – so the individuals responsible must be held accountable.
Contact a Mercer County Elder Abuse Attorney Today
Wherever it occurs, elder mistreatment is a serious matter in New Jersey. If you or a loved one, unfortunately, experienced elder abuse of any kind, you have rights that we can validate and claim for you.
Contact The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson, serving all Mercer County families and communities, by calling (609) 528-2596 to speak with an attorney regarding your particular elder abuse matter. If your suspicions are confirmed, you could very well save a life.