According the Department of Health Services’s National Institute of Aging, there are hundreds of thousands of senior citizens every year who are abused, neglected and financially exploited.
The crime may take place in the person’s home, an assisted living facility, nursing home or family member’s house. Gabriel Kory, a partner with Miller Weber Kory LLP, says most abuse will be inflicted by a family member. However, his law firm deals mostly with neglect found in assisted living facilities.
Kory mentions a few reasons why more senior citizens are having to be placed in homes. The average person is living longer, and with that comes the need for more care than many families are able to provide. The senior citizen age group is also becoming larger as the baby boomers get older, so this is being seen on both the national and local levels.
“The vast majority of abuse is occurring when someone needs additional care at home,” Kory says. “That care is supposed to be provided by a family member, but then the family member is either ill equipped to provide that level of care, or in some instances taking financial advantage of their loved one while they’re in their home.”
One of the services offered by his firm is teaching medical students what to do if they are suspicious of abuse. Kory says that it will often be the physician or care provider who sounds the first alarm. It’s not easy to know when a senior citizen is being taken advantage of when they’re living with a family member, but it’s not impossible. He says that medical professionals are under an obligation to report suspected neglect and abuse when they come across it.
It is a problem that needs to be addressed more frequently as more people are having to be admitted to assisted living. Kory says that those seeking help aren’t limited to one ethnicity or group. He says in his personal experience, he has seen more Hispanic families putting their loved ones into homes because they don’t have the means to care for them.