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July 2, 2011

N.J. has One of Highest Rates of Elder Abuse in Country (NJ. USA)


N.J. has one of highest rates of elder abuse in country
01 JULY 2011 05:59
BY CAROL ABAYA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
Elder abuse nationwide is increasing at an alarming rate, according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). For every reported case (more than 1 million in 2010), there are five unreported cases. According to the NCPC, every five seconds an elder is abused.
While New Jersey does not have the highest number of reported cases, the state has one of the highest percentages in relation to the senior population. New Jersey has 1.6 million seniors (17 percent of the state’s total population) and had 176,000 reported cases in 2010. This is 11 percent, one of the highest in the country.
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that an alarming rate of between 1 and 2 million people 65 and older are being injured, exploited or mistreated by someone caring for the senior, often a relative.
Mickey Rooney, veteran 90-year-old actor, in a March statement to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said, “Elder abuse comes in many different forms - physical, emotional and financial. Each is devastating in its own right. What other people see as generosity may, in reality, be the exploitation, manipulation and sadly, emotional blackmail of older, more vulnerable members of the American public. I know because it happened to me.”
NCPC as well as those in New Jersey involved with seniors encourages seniors, family members, friends, caregivers and medical providers to be attentive to the warning signs of abuse and report it to the authorities.
Warning signs include:
·         Financial abuse/Exploitation: Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as ‘loans’ or ‘gifts’, and loss of property.
·         Physical abuse: Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks (particular on the very old), and certain types of burns or blister, e.g. cigarette burns.
·         Emotional Abuse: Frequent arguments between caregiver and the senior, unexplained changes in alertness or other unusual behavioral changes. This is one of the most unreported kind of abuse.
·         Sexual abuse: Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases. Physicians need to be particular alert for this.
ALERT: There is a substantial difference between elder harassment and abuse, under the law, especially in New Jersey.
In a recent New Jersey court case, an 88-year-old woman filed suit and initially got a restraining order against her 56-year-old son. The woman claimed that the son called her “a senile bitch” and had taken her car keys and money from her wallet. In one instance, the son locked his mother out of the house.
While a lower court issued the restraining order, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey overturned the restraining order, finding that the son’s behavior did not constitute harassment.
If the mother had filed an abuse suit, the results would probably have been different.
More information on elder abuse and tips to detect and prevent abuse is available on NCPC’s website www.ncpc.org or by calling             202-261-4120 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            202-261-4120      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      



SOURCE:     The New Jersey Newsroom
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