What is elder abuse law?

THE ELDER JUSTICE INITIATIVE All Texans Have an Obligation to Report Suspected Elder Abuse or Neglect. The law requires anyone who believes that a child, a person 65 years of age or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited to report the circumstances. Elders have the right to be free from physical and mental abuse. Physical abuse includes corporal punishment, as well as physical or chemical restraints used to “discipline a person”, or used for the convenience of a person providing services.

Restrictions are only allowed in very specific circumstances, such as when authorized by a doctor, in an emergency, or in certain circumstances when the court-appointed guardian of a person with an intellectual disability has given informed consent. In most cases, nonviolent forms of elder abuse can be punishable by fines, probation, and the loss of a job and license. However, if a case of financial abuse or theft becomes very serious, the result could be jail time or imprisonment. Illinois passed the Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act in 1988, which includes provisions to help law enforcement and social workers better respond to complaints of elder abuse.

While federal law does not specifically address elder abuse (although federal law funds the National Center on Elder Abuse, or NCEA), all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer APS programs for victims. The NCEA provides a state-by-state directory of elder abuse resources, such as hotlines, prevention resources, applicable elder abuse laws, and links to state APS websites. Most state laws that specifically address elder abuse establish reporting requirements (including penalties for mandatory first responders who do not report abuse); describe procedures for investigating complaints; and provide emergency protection, guardianship, medical care, and other services vital. In addition, failure to provide adequate care and care to an elderly person who is confined to a hospital or care facility may constitute elder abuse.

The Texas Legislature recently enacted a new law that criminalizes financial abuse of the elderly. While older people are generally defined as people 60 (or 6 years or older), most laws that address elder abuse also apply to adults of any age and are similar to child abuse laws. Talk to an Elder Law attorney to learn about your options and determine when you should take action against abuse. Neglect occurs when someone knowingly denies an elderly person proper care that results in physical or emotional harm.

Failure to perform a fiduciary duty, including, but not limited to, misuse of a power of attorney, trust, or guardianship appointment, that results in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the elderly person or vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the elderly person or the vulnerable adult; and (c). In addition to the protections enjoyed by all Texans, state law provides special rights and protections for seniors, including people 60 and older. No one has the right to restrict visits to an elderly person, or force an elderly person to receive a visitor they do not want to see. Texas residents are required by law to report known elder abuse to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Family members, caregivers, or anyone else who has access to an elderly person's property and uses it for personal gain without the elder's consent are guilty of exploitation. However, if an older person has a court-appointed guardian, the guardian will manage the person's money in accordance with the Probate Code and other applicable laws. .

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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