Monday, March 3, 2008

Many Choose Not to Report Elder Abuse

Colorado Springs,USA .- Gazette.Com by Lance Benzel

For one elderly man in Colorado Springs, the problem wasn’t the beatings he occasionally suffered at the hands of his grown sons.

It was the prospect they’d go to jail, and he’d end up in a nursing home. Crippled by poor health and financial hardship, he had no one else to look after him, no place to go and a powerful aversion to losing independence.

In the end, he opted to stay home with his sons and endure the violence.

“These are the kinds of dilemmas that we run into,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Doug Miles, who recounted the man’s case as an example of the challenges involved in stopping the abuse and exploitation of the elderly.

The crimes involve victims who are unable or unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement, abusers who double as caretakers, and social needs that the criminal justice system can’t address.

And, authorities say, crimes against the elderly are underreported and likely on the rise.

Now, with the help of a broad coalition of service groups and government agencies — and a $420,000 federal grant received in November — Colorado Springs police are redoubling efforts to prevent elder abuse.

“These people were raised in the generation that when you went to a nursing home, you went there to die,” she said. “They will go kicking and screaming. They will rather put up with the abuse than go.”

-- Data on elder abuse suggest that 1 in 14 incidents come to the attention of authorities. Only 1 in 25 cases of financial exploitation come to light.

-- For every case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect, about five more go unreported.


Of all the horror stories you hear about people losing their civil rights and being taken to the cleaners, plus my own experience and that of my friends who have chosen to report Elder Financial Abuse , being suspect , villified,crucified and constantly intimidated, without ever having done anything but look after my family , can you really blame the 24 incidents of elder financial abuse that happen for every one that is reported! That is indeed a very sad state of affairs that our elders find themselves in and with no one to turn to for help.

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