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June 20, 2011

Raising Awareness of and Preventing Elder Abuse (USA)

By Michael David Schulman
For the Times Herald-Record
06/19/1

It's common knowledge that the Orange County population is growing older. According to the 2009 census, more than 37,000 of its residents were 65 or older, and more than 4,600 were 85 or older.
While those 65 and older make up 10 percent of the Orange County population, a full 30 percent of all fraud and abuse cases, including identity theft, are committed against them.
Wednesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an event organized by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse to raise awareness of this important problem.
Knowledge of the types and symptoms of abuse and fraud will become an integral component of dealing with older adults who are dependent, financially or otherwise, on others.

Shorter life expectancy

Victims of fraud and abuse have been shown to have a shorter life expectancy than the nonabused. In addition to shorter life spans, victims suffer from the loss of their dignity, independence, homes, life savings, health and security. Just ask the victims of Bernie Madoff.
Here are a couple of examples of the varying forms elder abuse may take:
--Thelma, 83, wears sunglasses to hide the bruises on her face from the driver who delivers her noon meal.
The driver notices a tear coming from under the glasses.
"What's the matter, Thelma?" he asks.
Thelma begins sobbing and closes the door. She explains that she financially supports her 62-year-old alcoholic brother who lives with her. He regularly threatens to put her in a nursing home if she doesn't give him money. Although she feels trapped in her home, she can't make her own brother leave. Yesterday, in a drunken rage, he demanded money, then slapped her when she refused. She gave him the money.
--Warren, 68, gets a call from a woman identifying herself as being "from the bank."
She explains that there has been a computer error at the bank, and she wants to verify Warren's personal information. Warren gives the caller his date of birth, Social Security number and bank account numbers. Within hours, his accounts are emptied.
If you suspect that an adult is being abused, call Adult Protective Services, located in the local Department of Human Services. If you feel that the older person is in immediate danger, or you're not sure who to call, call your police or sheriff's office, or 911.
Michael David Schulman is the principal of Schulman CPA in Central Valley. He can be reached at 928-7336.

SOURCE:      RecordOnline
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