Senior Matters – Elder Abuse
The definition of elder abuse in Tennessee is broad…and it includes physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial crimes. We could also add–exploitation, neglect and abandonment. These days the focus seems to be shifting to taking away an elderly person’s financial support.
Some of us grew up watching the legendary stage and screen performer Mickey Rooney. His last few years were difficult.
MICKEY ROONEY, PERFORMER “Even with the success, my monetary things, called money…was stolen from me. Stolen by someone close.”
It can happen to anyone–even the rich and famous. But most of the abuse of older Americans comes at the hands of family members and trusted friends.
BERGEN ALDAHIR, PARTNERSHIP OF FAMILIES, CHILDREN AND ADULTS “it’s serious. it’s really serious. I’ve seen reports that say elder abuse over the past few years hasd increased by 20%. ”
And, with people living longer, there are more opportunities to deny them safety and comfort they worked for in later years.
BERGEN ” What’s horrible is that this is somebody who this person not only depends on but often times loves and trusts. And the betrayal on top of that is just heinous.”
Not all of the victims of abuse, especially financial abuse, are willing or able to report it. But friends and family can be their first line of defense.
BERGEN ” if you suspect that your family member is being abused, or that something..er..you see something that doesn’t seem right–we hear a lot right now…see something, say something. And that’s what we’re advocating. So you can call our crisis hotline 24 hours a day, seven days as week, 365 days a year.”
More about reporting in a moment, but those who exploit seniors need to know that it’s a crime. Its covered under the Tennessee program called VOCA, victims of crime act.
Keep in mind, if you are a senior, you can help yourself.
BERGEN “don’t give out your personal information. Don’t give out your bank accounty information. Even if this is some one you love more than anyone in the world and you feel that you can trust them completely. It’s also better to be safe than to be hurt and then betrayed in that way.”