Exploitation includes the illegal use by a caregiver of an elderly person's resources for monetary or personal gain, gain, or benefit. Older people may need help with their finances, but unless they hand over control to someone else, they have the same right as anyone else to receive, spend, invest, save, or give away their money. A family member, friend, or nursing home cannot take control of an elderly person's money without that person's permission. Finally, the NEAIS report found that 83 percent of the corroborated APS reports and 92.4 percent of the sentinel reports of financial abuse involved white victims (whites constituted 84 percent of the national elderly population in 199 (National Center on Elder Abuse, 199.Since there were already laws that mandatory reporting of child abuse and the service systems in place to remedy such abuse When elder abuse was “discovered,” many states considered it appropriate to apply the same model to elder abuse as well (Anetzberger, 2000).
While establishing a guardianship or conservatorship can be a useful mechanism for carrying out the financial affairs of older persons who lack decision-making capacity and can help protect their assets from abuse or be used to recover lost assets (Heisler and Quinn, 199, has been associated with this mechanism, and is a remedy that many older people fear. However, the number of APS elder abuse reports increased substantially over the past 10 years, an increase that outpaced the growth of the elderly population during this period (National Center on Elder Abuse, 199.Alternatively, a law enforcement agency that has received an elder abuse report may also conduct an investigation and then refer the matter for prosecution. Examples of elder abuse provided in government reports often show a combination of financial abuse and physical or psychological abuse or neglect (Association of County Welfare Directors, 1988; U. They can generally take steps to protect the older person from further abuse, including obtaining protective orders and initiating a guardianship to place the older person's assets in the hands of a guardian (Capezuti et al.
Businesses that routinely provide services to older people can also help minimize the possibility of financial abuse of older people. In addition, behaviors that began in the best interests of the older person may become abusive over time, such as when perpetrators initially provide helpful advice on financial investments, but gain greater control and ultimately misappropriate funds for themselves as they decrease the cognitive abilities of the elderly person (, 2000). Perpetrators may also recognize that older people in very poor health may not survive long enough to carry out lengthy legal interventions (Central California Legal Services, 2001; National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 200) or that they will not make convincing witnesses (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 200) or that they will not make convincing witnesses (National Committee for elder abuse prevention, 200. The Texas Legislature recently enacted a new law that criminalizes financial abuse of the elderly.
Elder advocates complain that the federal government has inappropriately reduced the financial assistance it provides to states to develop and maintain protective services for the elderly and should be more actively involved (AARP, 2001; Moskowitz, 1998b; Otto, 2000). It has also been observed that little is known about the close links that naturally develop between older people and their caregivers, particularly when services are provided to older people within their homes, and what leads to financial abuse (Quinn, 2000). Although conceptualizations of what elder abuse encompasses vary considerably, the National Center on Elder Abuse (200) identifies six main categories of elder abuse. There are two general categories of criminal laws that states use to punish people who financially abuse the elderly (Dessin, 2000).