As Georgia elder abuse lawyers, we have heard all kinds of tragic stories of our older and vulnerable family members and neighbors being taken advantage of by all kinds of unscrupulous people. The World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/elder_abuse/en/) defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”, and unfortunately it happens in societies across the globe.
Many people think of elder abuse as only occurring in nursing homes. Abuse in nursing homes is part of the problem (see a previous post). However, Georgia’s state senators have recently been looking into the growing problem of elder abuse statewide according to news reports, both at nursing homes and in other types of situations. Perhaps even more tragic, and more uncomfortable to think about and confront, is that a lot of elder abuse occurs in our own homes and communities by family members or other trusted people close to the elderly victim.
And it can happen in different ways, too. The abuse is not always physical or even neglectful, sometimes it is financial. Another recent Georgia news story talked about an 80-year-old man suffering from dementia and the couple accused of duping him out of $500,000 in Centerville. Elderly people often suffer from these types of mental illnesses or are simply weaker and more dependent on others to help them, leaving them vulnerable.
Recent statistics have shown that elder abuse complaints are up 22 percent in Georgia since 2007. Yearly complaints are up from 9,000 to 11,000 annually. Much of this growth is due to the increasing number of baby boomers retiring, though, and is not necessarily indicative of a growth in abuse. Still, complaints are rising and Georgia’s government agencies, like the Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging Services and the Department of Community Health, have to deal with more incidents. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement agencies are also receiving training on how to deal with and investigate elder abuse cases.
The Senate committee looking into this issue is meeting at the end of this month and the chairwoman, Senator Renee Unterman, noted that there are several bills coming for consideration to strengthen Georgia’s elder abuse laws. They are working on legislation that could be introduced in January when the General Assembly’s session starts, including the challenges elderly Georgians face particularly in rural areas.
Atlanta Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse, whether at a nursing home or care facility or in any other circumstance, contact the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your case and possible ways to move forward. Please call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.