Undetected or Unreported?
For all types of elder abuse: for every reported case, there are 23.5 unreported cases.
For financial exploitation: for every reported case, there are 43.9 unreported ones.
For neglect cases: for every case undergoing investigation, there 57.2 unreported cases.
The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study was the second-largest study ever conducted on elder abuse and the first one conducted on a statewide scope. Although the studys contents have not yet been released by New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the grim figures above were presented during a recent conference.
Scarier still, is the implication that the incidences of abuse may actually be even higher since the study excluded older persons who were unable to participate in telephone surveys.
Surprisingly, the most commonly reported was emotional abuse, followed by physical abuse; however, financial exploitation seemed to be the most prevalent form of elder mistreatment.
If previously undetected, how do we know if its occurring at all? And what can you do to stop it?
Monitor Financial Activity. Look for these things:
Unusual activity based on ability, e.g. ATM use by a physically impaired person
Unexpected new withdrawals in round numbers ($50, $100, $1,000, etc.)
Withdrawals from a savings account or from checking accounts despite of penalties
Increased financial activity on bank statements
Requests to change account beneficiaries or issuance of authorizations
Elder showing signs of confusion related to finances
Property title changes or re-financing reports
Monitor Inheritance and Wills. Watch out for:
Changes in Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney
Will or trust modifications when the elderly is incapable of requesting changes
Requesting will or trust changes that are in favor of a much younger friend
Caregivers should take note of these unusual behaviors:
Avoidance of discussion of financial matters that were once routine
Elderly showing signs of depression
Caregiver says the elderly wants to avoid calls and visits
Caregiver seeming to be overly concerned with financial matters
Caregiver speaking for the elder even when the elder is around
Perform background check if the caregiver has other means of support other than the elders income
Where to Get Support
For more resources related to elder abuse, you can contact the APS Network. You can find the appropriate contact numbers to call by clicking on the Report Abuse button on their website and then choosing your state.
If you require immediate legal assistance, you can contact local attorneys with years of expertise in elder law. For example, in Indianapolis City, you can reach out to Applegate-Harden Law Firm.