It’s a sad fact that family members, “carers” and others take advantage of elderly people in our society today, targeting the assets of lonely or vulnerable senior citizens. Elder abuse is a broad category of crime that takes many forms and occurs all too frequently. Chances are, you know an elderly person who has or currently is being subjected to abuse. For a better understanding of what elder abuse is and how it occurs, read on for 5 shocking facts about elder abuse:
A central characteristic of elder abuse (particularly financial abuse) is that it is perpetrated by somebody in a position of trust – surprisingly, this is quite often the child of the elderly victim. This is because family members have greater ease of access to the sensitive financial information of victims. Evidently, figures compiled by the National Ageing Research Institute of Seniors Rights Victoria show that 92.3% of abuse is perpetrated by persons related to the older person or those in a de facto relationship with the victim, while 66.8% of abuse is perpetrated by a child of the older person.
Because it is such a broad category of crime, elder abuse can occur in many forms and the implications of each case can vary wildly. Besides the mismanagement of finances, elder abuse can take the form of neglect or physical, sexual, social, and psychological abuse at the hands of trusted individuals who have a duty of care that they are supposed to uphold. Different types of elder abuse also frequently co-occur; psychological and financial abuse are often inflicted together, for example.
While there isn’t currently an established measurement of the prevalence of elder abuse across Australia, international indications suggest that anywhere between 2% and 15.7% of elderly people (aged 65+) are subjected to elder abuse. The true number likely exceeds these estimates because many cases of elder abuse go unreported. Furthermore, the number of cases are more than likely to increase in countries like Australia, where the population is ageing rapidly.
Given that much elder abuse occurs at the hands of somebody close with the victim, they may view the situation through rose tinted glasses or even flat-out refuse to accept that this person is betraying their trust and abusing them. On the other hand, a perpetrator may fail to recognise that their behaviour is intimidating the elderly person or that they have become neglectful to their needs. Caregivers can also become prone to abusing elderly people due to frustration and high stress levels associated with their work. Emotional disconnectedness and a short temper contribute to lots of cases of elder abuse at the hands of professional caregivers.
If you want to learn more about a person who has become involved with your parent, information can often be uncovered through a background check, which could reveal whether the subject has a history of similar activity or engages in criminal behaviour generally. Forensic analysis of handwriting and signatures can reveal whether a will has been forged, and an investigator can prove or disprove claims or allegations being made by a party when there is a dispute over an estate in a family provision claim for example. If an elderly person has gone missing for one reason or another, a private eye can endeavour to locate him or her through searches. If you are suspicious of a carer, family member, or any person for that matter, an investigator can place him or her under surveillance to obtain evidence of any wrongdoing.