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Monday, January 16, 2012

SENIOR POWER… The crime of the 21st century. Category: Columns from The Berkeley Daily Planet


By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday January 12, 2012 - 07:32:00 PM

Many of the nation's fast-growing, elderly population are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional. Concern among the elderly and their advocates mounts as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer. The Cedar Village Retirement Community in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason has opened a long-term care facility to victims of abuse. It is the first elder abuse shelter in Ohio and one of only a half-dozen in the country. All are funded by non-profit groups.

Elder abuse crimes usually fall into 4 main categories:

  • Physical abuse, including assaults, batteries, sexual assaults, false imprisonment and endangerment;
  • Physical neglect by a caregiver, including withholding medical services or hygiene that exposes the elderly person to the risk of serious harm;
  • Psychological (mental) abuse, including making threats or the infliction of emotional harm; and
  • Financial (fiduciary) abuse, which includes theft of such personal items as cash, investments, real property and jewelry.
In slanguage, a fraudulent business scheme or swindle is a scam, often an example of elder abuse. Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they are considered "the crime of the 21st century." Financial scams often go unreported; they can be difficult to prosecute and are considered “low-risk” crime.

Wealthy seniors and low-income older adults are at risk of financial abuse, not always by strangers. Seniors are assumed by many to have significant amounts of money sitting in their accounts. Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by a person’s own family members, most often adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. The National Council on Aging and the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement have identified the top scams targeting seniors and ways to protect yourself from them.

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SENIOR POWER… The crime of the 21st century. Category: Columns from The Berkeley Daily Planet

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