The unlawful mistreatment of older Americans manifests in a variety of different ways. Depending on the severity of the conduct in question, offenders who engage in abuse, neglect or exploitation may face civil and/or criminal consequences. Yet, such mistreatment too often is allowed to progress in an unaddressed manner because victims and their loved ones alike are unsure of whether what is happening is legally actionable.
For example, the exploitation of older Americans often involves real estate transfers. Yet, even though such mistreatment occurs frequently, it is rarely discussed because it is not a well-understood phenomenon.
Most of the time, elder abuse related to real estate involves the transfer of someone’s property via coercion, fraud, deceit or other unlawful means. This kind of misconduct frequently serves as grounds upon which loved ones may file estate litigation if the conduct in question is not discovered broadly until after an older adult has passed away.
Putting this understanding to good use
By gaining a broader understanding of what kinds of scenarios constitute elder abuse, both older adults and those who love them can become empowered in two specific ways. First, they can be empowered to prevent certain kinds of unlawful mistreatment. Second, they can be empowered to seek legal guidance in the event that unlawful mistreatment has occurred or they suspect that it might be occurring.
In short, it is very important to understand the broad range of ways that older adults are mistreated in the U.S. in order to prevent, identify and respond to these realities. In doing so, both individual older adults and the elderly population as a whole stand to benefit. After all, knowledge truly is power.