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Elder Abuse Happens Far More than People Know: Do Not Ever Ignore or Disbelieve

Elder Abuse Happens Far More than People Know: Do Not Ever Ignore or Disbelieve

Elder abuse. Unfortunately, it happens far more than people know.

In a society which professes kind-heartedness and family values, it’s a topic most of us would rather ignore or disbelieve.

But a new series of community presentations, sponsored through Senior Rights Assistance, shows it does happen, but there is help.

A handbook, “Elder Abuse: A Guide for Reporting,” significantly subtitled published by the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the booklet is a gold mine of information for elders, their families and care-givers, and for professionals in the medical, social-work, health-care and legal fields.

Its contents are divided into five major areas:

— What is elder abuse?

— What should a person do?

— Substitute decision making.

— Court interventions.

— Long-term care service definitions.

Elder abuse is in four general categories: physical abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment.

An older person dependent on others may not speak out about these problems because of confusion, illness, fear, embarrassment or lack of awareness that there is help says California Elder law Attorney Steven C. Peck.

The handbook outlines how to recognize abuse if you suspect someone is at risk, how to report concerns, and what happens when you do.

Laws are cited, which state that “vulnerable adults who are victims of emotional or physical abuse, or financial exploitation, can petition the court for an order of protection from their abuser, without needing to file any other action. A vulnerable adult is defined as someone 60 years or older with functional, mental or physical inability to care for him/herself.”

Adults under age 60, such as developmentally disabled or others who cannot fully care for themselves, also can be assisted.

About the Author

Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.

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