New York Forum Focuses on Elder Abuse

There is a silent epidemic of abuse affecting older adults. Elder abuse comes in many forms, and much of it goes undetected. Part of the fight against elder abuse is promoting awareness, reporting, and detection.

Recently, the Clinton County Domestic Violence Task Force hosted an elder abuse forum in Plattsburgh. The even focused on prevention, detection, and intervention in elder abuse cases. Part of the problem in fighting elder abuse is there is no uniform system of reporting. Abuse statistics can vary from state to state, but the best estimate from the National Center on Elder abuse is that between one and two million Americans age 65 or older have been mistreated or injured by a caregiver. However, for each case of elder abuse that is reported, about five more cases are never reported.

Elder abuse can include neglect, and physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse. Just as the forms of the abuse can come in several forms, so can the abusers. Abusers can be friends, family members, volunteers, or paid workers and healthcare practitioners.

New York has one of the nation's largest populations of senior citizens, but there is very little data or tracking of elder abuse cases. Too often abuse cases fall through the cracks, and abuse victims and their families may feel as though they have no way of protecting themselves.

An especially egregious form of elder abuse is nursing home abuse. We entrust nursing homes to treat our loved ones with the best quality care. However, all too often, residents of nursing homes are neglected or mistreated. There is no excuse for a nursing home patient to be riddled with bed-sores or assaulted by staff members. If a loved one has been abused in a home, an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.

Source: Forum focuses on elder-abuse prevention; Stephen Bartlett, 11/7/2010


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