Mind Your Body TV Episode 12 with Cristi Dugger.
How elder abuse crimes may start: “If you don’t help me and give me money, you won’t be a good mom. If you don’t help me, I’ll put you in a home. No one will believe you, you crazy old bat.”
The preceding is unfortunately brought to you by the ugliness of elder abuse—both verbal and emotional. Their other sibling, financial abuse, is being called the “Crime of the 21st Century”.
Welcome to Part II of my series on elder abuse crimes, this episode featuring the lovely and knowledgeable social worker and advocate, Cristi Dugger of Orange County California’s Safe Options for Seniors program. It’s one program (of many) within the larger nonprofit of Human Options, whose mission is to break the cycle of violence. Safe Options, committed to elder abuse prevention, uniquely provides:
- Counseling (in-home if needed)
- Legal advocacy
- Case management
- Social service referrals
- Presentations to community organizations
- Support groups
If you need help to stop elder abuse crimes, chances are good there’s a resource like this near you.
Elder abuse crimes statistics
In June of this year, global insurance provider MetLife released “The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders.” Here are edited key findings that underscore once again why this is such a devastating problem for elders. Please take time to read this troubling, yet well researched and enlightening report.
The annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion dollars, a 12% increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008. Additionally, the survey results showed:
* Who’s abusing elders?
- fraud by strangers: 51%
- financial abuse by family, friends and neighbors: 34%
- exploitation within the business sector: 12%
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud: 4%
* Women were nearly twice as likely to be victims of elder financial abuse as men.
* Nearly 60% of perpetrators were males.
* New research indicates that the instances of elder financial abuse are far higher than previously reported.
* Elder financial abuse appears to fall into three types of crimes: occasion, desperation, and predation.
What you can do
Any statistics pertaining to elder abuse crimes are too many. If you haven’t already watched my first elder abuse installment with Mary Twomey, co-director of the University of California Irvine’s renowned Center of Elder Abuse & Neglect, please do.
In October, the U.S. Administration on Aging designated UC Irvine as the National Center on Elder Abuse, a clearinghouse for practical information supporting federal, state and local efforts to prevent, identify and effectively respond to elder abuse. The agency will provide funding of $561,000 annually for three years. Congratulations to Mary and her co-director, Dr. Laura Mosqueda. As Dr. Mosqueda says, for each incident reported, at least five more go unreported. If you suspect something’s awry with an elder close to you, it probably is. You can help.