The nightmare is real for the defenseless. Tens of thousands suffer physical and emotional abuse, abandonment and neglect. They face life-threatening infection (sepsis) from sores left unattended in a pool of human waste, and are intentionally over- sedated through the use of psychotropic drugs as a means to silence their despair, confusion and agony. In a great many cases, these are the conditions paid for in full by your tax dollars. It is a climate of terror in which institutional administrators and corporate leaders of long-term care facilities (nursing homes) profit enormously, while ignoring federal and state law without shame or fear of prosecution.
Experts say elder financial abuse will be the "crime of the 21st century" as the growing senior population becomes a target. Regrettably, many seniors are victimized by their own relatives or caregivers — people they generally trust. Financial exploitation takes many forms. Some seniors are "befriended" by con artists who make their living preying on others. Some are deceived by bogus sweepstakes, lotteries and telemarketers whose products are worthless, overpriced or non-existent. Others are pressured into giving "gifts." Seniors may risk losing their homes through unfair or misleading home equity agreements or fall prey to unscrupulous home repair contractors, trust mills, or sales of inappropriate financial products and services.
Many times an elder is suffering under several types which may have serious effects. The mistreatment can be by a nursing home, caregiver or even a relative. Continue Reading to learn to spot the signs of emotional physical abuse as well as the warning signs in your loved ones behavior.
At the beginning of the year, the state of California amended its statutory definition of “undue influence” in section 15610.70 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. California Civil Code Section 1575 describes undue influence as “The use, by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another, or who holds a real or apparent authority over him or her, of such confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage over him or her; Taking an unfair advantage of another’s weaker state of mind; or Taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress.”
According to a government report, One-in-three patients in skilled nursing facilities suffered a medication error, infection or some other type of harm related to their treatment. The majority Fifty-nine percent of errors and injuries to patients were preventable. At an estimated cost of $208 million for the month studied (which is about 2 percent of Medicare’s total impatient spending), more than half of those harmed had to be re-hospitalized. Physicians who reviewed the patient records found that much of the preventable harm was due to “substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care.”
According to a federal consumer activist, professor of elder law, and representatives from the AARP, financial abuse of elders could grow worse.
Currently, Florida is ranked number one in the country in the number of all fraud complaints which has a high senior population. With more than 500,000 elderly in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, the area is a prime target.
A recent study has determined that financial abuse of seniors has reached epidemic proportions.
Three defendants charged with eight counts of abusing elderly patients at Kern Valley Hospital waited quietly outside Kern County Superior Court Friday.
Los Angeles-based attorney Donald Etra, representing Dr. Hoshang Pormir, predicted, “This will be a lengthy trial. With three defendants charged with eight counts each, there will be a lot of motions.” Pormir, former staff physician at Kern Valley Hospital, who served as medical director of the skilled nursing facility, declined comment saying, “I’m not allowed to (talk to the press.”)
On July 29, 2010 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3040, the Senior Financial Empowerment Act.
Annuities are complex financial products with widely varying fees, costs and features and many brokers/salespersons target the elderly which is a form of elder abuse.