In a report issued on International Elder Abuse Awareness Day, state officials from Texas stated that only an estimated ten percent of elder abuse cases ultimately are reported. Officials seek to use these sobering statistics, as well as the annual elder abuse awareness approach, as a means to shed light on an ongoing and rarely addressed topic.
While cases of malevolent and intentional abuse and exploitation of the elderly in the state of Texas do abound, individuals with decades of experience working with the elderly and those tasked with their care report that many cases simply are the result of ignorance by otherwise well-meaning care providers. In this sense, education could be the key to reducing the number of instances of elder abuse. For those tasked with working with elderly populations, practical experience shows that younger caregivers or family members simply do not know where to seek out help, medical services, or how to cater to vulnerable elderly family members in the state of Texas. If left unaddressed, officials note that unsafe situations have a propensity to develop for elderly populations, which would otherwise probably not be so for young groups of people.
The Smith County Adult Protective Services Board also issued statements regarding elder abuse in their county, indicating that nationally speaking, elder abuse and neglect, whether intentional or unintentional, remains a societal problem lacking a voice of change. Of the nearly one thousand investigations opened in Smith County, Texas last year for elder abuse and neglect, nearly 78% were confirmed by the Board, with similar rates being found in Gregg County, Texas.
Problems or criminal acts associated with elder abuse cases in the state of Texas and across the nation feature the same patterns of abuse, which are relatively difficult to detect or stop given the marginalized nature of most elderly individuals in today’s society. Those common instances of abuse found by Texas investigators include:
- Financial exploitation of the elderly, by both acquaintances, businesses, and even immediate family members
- Sexual abuse by caregivers and others close to the elderly person
- Emotional abuse perpetrated by hired and volunteer caregivers, as well as by family members and friends
- Physical abuse, including cases of neglect resulting in commonly scene instances of bedsores, untreated infections, and unsafe living conditions causing harm to the elderly individual
If you suspect elder abuse is ongoing with someone that you know, it is your legal obligation to report these suspicions to the appropriate Texas officials. Moreover, if you or a loved one has been harmed in a case of elder abuse, legal remedies and compensation for losses can be pursued with the help an elder abuse law attorney in Texas.