Unfortunately, elder abuse is often perpetrated by those individuals closest to the victim. As Saul Friedman of Newsday recounts in his June 18, 2009 article, an elderly woman on Long Island attempted to protect her assets from Medicaid by providing her daughter with a life estate to her home (the right to live in the house during the mother’s lifetime). However, her son-in-law used this life estate to banish the woman to the basement. Without a familiarity of her own rights, the woman did not seek assistance of an attorney and lived out the rest of her life as a prisoner in her own home.
The article also cites a joint study conducted by Virginia Polytechnical Institute and Adult Protective Services. The results of the study indicate that the recession has increased the vulnerability of older people, many of whom fail to report the abuse. Family members and caregivers are the perpetrators of the abuse in 55 percent of the instances. The typical victim, the report said, “is between 70 and 89, white, female, frail and cognitively impaired. She is trusting of others and may be lonely or isolated.”
The elderly: financially exploited by families, Newsday, Saul Friedman, June 18, 2009.