Elder Abuse—the Financial Exploitation of Seniors and Nursing Home Residents

In a recent Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect blog post, our lawyers discussed the Mickey Rooney’s recent role as elder abuse advocate, in his passionate testimonial before Congress last month, sharing his own experiences of elder abuse, and how the 90-year old was left without food, medication and had $400,000 of his life savings embezzled by a stepson and stepdaughter.

As Rooney told the Senate subcommittee, elderly financial abuse is a huge problem that happens to 3.5 million Americans every year, including him. According to MSNBC, a 2009 study performed by MetLife Mature Market Institute estimated that financial losses from elder abuses across the country are around $2.6 billion annually at the least. The study found that financial abuse of seniors is a hugely under reported problem with only one in six cases ever reported.

Elder financial abuse can take place anywhere—at a nursing home or healthcare facility, where a nurse or staff member abuses a resident by gaining money, jewelry, personal possessions or even power of attorney, or within families, where certain members feel they have entitlement to their parents, or grandparents’ money and estate and find opportunities to take control of it. Older and vulnerable people are also often taken advantage of financially by complete strangers, or con artists who befriend older people through random contacts, the Internet, or even over the phone.

According to Paul Greenwood, the head of San Diego County District Attorney’s Office-elder abuse prosecutions unit, elder abuse takes place in every community and could get worse in the next five to ten years as the baby boomer generation ages. Greenwood claims that in order to find out about abusers in the community, it requires important people like bankers, healthcare providers and church members to step up and report any suspected abuse that might indicate the financial exploitation of an elderly person or nursing home resident.

If you are worried that a friend or loved one staying at a nursing home in Maryland or the Washington D.C. is suffering from elder financial abuse, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC so we can help protect their nursing home rights.

Financial abuse costs elderly billions, MSNBC.com,

Related Web Resources:

What is Abuse: Why Should I Care About Elder Abuse?, National Center on Elder Abuse, NCEA
What is Elder Abuse?, Department of Health & Human Services: Administration on Aging
Frequently Asked Questions, National Center on Elder Abuse, NCEA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Related Blog Posts:

Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney Testifies in Congress About Elder Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2011
Types of Elder Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2011

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