Elder abuse is reaching an all-time high across the nation. Adult Protective Services received more than 60,000 reports of different types of elder abuse in 2018—a sharp increase from the 48,000 reports they received in 2017. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) believes this sharp increase is caused by the number of baby boomers now retiring. However, these numbers are likely an underestimation as only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported. Globally, the number of reported elder abuse cases is projected to increase due to rapidly aging populations of many countries whose needs may not be fully met due to resource constraints.
Elder abuse is defined 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.2Adult abuse can come in many forms including neglect, financial exploitation, or physical and emotional abuse.
Financial exploitation is the most common type of adult abuse. In 2017, DSHS conducted over 10,000 investigations related to financial exploitation, nearly double the number of investigations conducted in 2012. It now accounts for more than 25 percent of all inquiries. Signs of financial abuse include adding additional names on bank signature cards; unauthorized withdrawal of funds using an ATM card; abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; bills unpaid despite having sufficient funds; forging a signature on financial transactions or for the titles of possessions; sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to a vulnerable adult’s possessions; or unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family.
Signs of physical and emotional abuse include suspicious or unexplained bruises, sores or weight loss; a sudden change in personality; neglect of hygiene, clothing, home, medicine or food; personal belongings going missing; verbal aggression; no longer attending social functions or regular activities, and losing contact with family and friends.
If you or a loved one are a victim of elder abuse, contact Forester Haynie at www.foresthaynie.com or give us a call at 214-210-2100.