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.