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My life is a crazy, unpredictable, jumbled mess of fun. Each day creating adventures and stories that will last a lifetime 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Elderly Abuse

Elderly Abuse and why we should be ashamed.
Mama & Grandma out to eat

Many states are still working through their laws - some only have physical and sexual abuse to an elderly. Other's abuse is confined to care centers. This is very important, please check your state laws and see how well they protect their elders.

My state, thankfully, will go after ANYONE who will try to harm or exploit an elderly person, even intimidation of an elderly person is illegal here - not only illegal, but you can be tried and found guilty of it.
After reading through many different state laws, I have to say that I am proud of my state!

My sister, Grandmother and myself
1. What is Elderly Abuse?

Elderly abuse can be anything from physical abuse, emotional abuse to taking advantage of trust to steal from them.
Visit NCEA home - National Center on Elder Abuse
If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation,  Click Here for state reporting numbers, or telephone
the Eldercare Locator at
1-800-677-1116.

2. Who can turn in an Abuser?

Someone who knows either the Elderly person OR the Abuser. Family members, medical personal, clergy, social workers... anyone.

3. Can you be sued for turning someone in for Elderly Abuse?

NO. On the website listed, it clearly states that you need to report SUSPECTED abuse. They investigate and will determine whether or not its worth pursuing. You do not need concrete evidence to call in. This means you are not at fault if they are proven innocent.
In fact in a few states NOT reporting suspected elderly abuse is itself a Crime.

4. What is the punishment for Elderly Abuse?

This to me is kind of fun. A person found guilty of Elderly Abuse will be tried for whatever they are found guilty of - physical abuse, theft, embezzlement PLUS taking advantage of an elderly person.

By Utah State Laws - Terms and Definitions.

Exploitation:
(iii) unjustly or improperly uses or manages the resources of a vulnerable adult for the profit or advantage of someone other than the vulnerable adult;
     (iv) unjustly or improperly uses a vulnerable adult's power of attorney or guardianship for the profit or advantage of someone other than the vulnerable adult; or
     (v) involves a vulnerable adult who lacks the capacity to consent in the facilitation or furtherance of any criminal activity.
     (b) A person is guilty of the offense of exploitation of a vulnerable adult as follows:
     (i) if done intentionally or knowingly and the aggregate value of the resources used or the profit made is or exceeds $5,000, the offense is a second degree felony;
     (ii) if done intentionally or knowingly and the aggregate value of the resources used or the profit made is less than $5,000 or cannot be determined, the offense is a third degree felony;

Intimidation:
means communication conveyed through verbal or nonverbal conduct which threatens deprivation of money, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, social interaction, supervision, health care, or companionship, or which threatens isolation or harm.
If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a second degree felony.

Harm: 
means pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, hurt, physical or psychological damage, physical injury, suffering, or distress inflicted knowingly or intentionally.
Same fines and laws as stated above apply.

Deception means:
     (i) a misrepresentation or concealment:
     (A) of a material fact relating to services rendered, disposition of property, or use of property intended to benefit a vulnerable adult;
     (B) of the terms of a contract or agreement entered into with a vulnerable adult; or
     (C) relating to the existing or preexisting condition of any property involved in a contract or agreement entered into with a vulnerable adult; or
     (ii) the use or employment of any misrepresentation, false pretense, or false promise in order to induce, encourage, or solicit a vulnerable adult to enter into a contract or agreement.

These are just a few of the terms and fines as laid out in the Utah State Law.

Why should we be ashamed?

Ask any adult about elder abuse. Financial exploitation and they can tell you of at least one person who they KNOW to have exploited or have been exploited.

In my family we (the family) allowed "minor" emotional exploitation of my grandmother. I am very deeply ashamed that it went unreported for years.
Why? Because my grandmother started a cycle that we didn't know when or how to break.
She wanted her family to come to her for help.
Two people took advantage of this.
Her daughter and her daughter's daughter.
It started out as grandma helping because she could - because she wanted to.
It ended with her being pressured to change her will.
There are ways to protect yourself or your family member when the times comes - power of attorney is one way, but it has to be complete.
My uncle had power of attorney and yet my cousin was still able to get my grandmother to change her will without his knowledge - this is where you need to make sure to have all your T's crossed and your I's dotted.
Found out that she (grandma) left the money in a hidden trust before my uncle was made her executor.

My grandmother after her stroke
Why did we allow it to continue after it reached unhealthy and emotional levels?
Because my cousin and my aunt were leaches - they sucked small amounts from her. Nothing "worth" going to the police over. Nothing that would put my grandmothers financial future in danger.
Still the fact remains that grandma was taken from and pressured from those two to often to count. The rest of family treated my grandmother with respect and love.
Does this sound like Placating?
Good because it was and I am ashamed.

The fact is that we never want to prosecute family. We never want to have to step in and say ENOUGH.
We want it to magically work out. It doesn't.
Take a stand, get informed, protect yourself and your loved ones.

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