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Illinois elders are not immune to elder abuse


According to the National Center for Elder Abuse, studies have shown that anywhere from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of elderly people have experienced some kind of elder abuse. Abusers tend to be caregivers and also family members such as adult children. Furthermore, a research article published in the Journal of Aging Research a couple of years ago reported that elders with cognitive degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's are more likely to suffer elder abuse.

Reading about such statistics and studies is alarming, and many Illinois residents may think that it will not happen to them or their loved one. But, the reality is that elder abuse can happen to anyone. In fact, a Woodstock, IL woman who had to make the difficult choice of putting her 87-year-old mother in a nursing home thought that she was doing the right thing only to find herself in a situation where she was dealing with caregivers who financially exploited her elderly mother. The 87-year-old mother's caregivers befriended the elderly woman then drained her of her financial resources by having her write checks, taking her money, other valuables and having her draft a new will. In this case, though, the caregivers who allegedly financially exploited the 87-year-old woman were not charged with a crime. But her daughter pursed the matter in civil court and succeeded in getting some of her mother's property back.

According to Senior Services Associates, a non-profit that investigates allegations of abuse against the elderly and people with disabilities in Illinois, financial exploitation is far too common. Furthermore, elders who are emotionally abused by their caregivers, may be neglected both actively and passively. A caregiver may knowingly and willfully deprive an elder of care. Or a caregiver may passively deprive the elder the necessary care they need.

It is important to recognize signs of elder abuse such as injuries or sudden loss in weight. If a person is concerned about an elder in their family or community, they may want to contact a state agency charged with investigating elder abuse. Furthermore, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer familiar with elder and nursing home abuse cases.

Source: Northwest Herald, "Elder abuse is a problem in McHenry County, experts say," Emily Coleman, July 28, 2015

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