The woman was charged with one count of 4th-degree vulnerable adult abuse for neglecting to adhere to the care plan for an 89-year-old resident at a Bloomfield Hills nursing home, by not assisting her into a wheelchair. She fell and was injured as a result.
The Oakland Press’ recent article entitled “Michigan among top states with best elder-abuse protections” reports that the lady pleaded no contest to the charges and was fined and placed on probation six months.
At that time, it was the ninth case of elder abuse brought by the attorney general’s office that year. The AG’s office has since been backing a package of 18 bills to strengthen Michigan laws against elder abuse.
Vulnerable older Americans are some of the easiest targets for this kind of misconduct, especially those who are women, have disabilities and rely on others for assistance.
More than 73,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse every year. That number has increased since 2019, to nearly 100,000. Texas is home to nearly 2.5 million elderly residents, and tens of thousands of elderly abuse cases are reported each year. The number is increasing all over the country. Seniors can experience physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, or neglect. The symptoms and treatment of abuse against the elderly population are complex and demand a concerted effort to tackle what is an often unrecognized and unreported social problem.
Elder abuse is a general term that includes several kinds of harm inflicted on older or vulnerable adults, who are unable to protect themselves due to a mental or physical impairment or advanced age. Those that commit these crimes can be the victim’s children, other family members, spouses, caregivers and staff at care facilities.
Statistics show that about one in 10 Americans age 65 and over experience some form of elder abuse. Some estimates go as high as five million seniors who are abused each year, according to the National Council on Aging (NCA). One study estimated that only one in 14 cases of abuse are reported to law enforcement.
The U.S. Census Bureau anticipates that the nation’s elderly population will grow from 43.1 million to 85.7 million in 2050, in large part to the baby boomers, who started turning 65 in 2011.
Many states are working to strengthen elder abuse protections, both through its state legislature and through their attorney general’s enforcement efforts when incidents are discovered. Unless states take action to prevent further abuse, the problem will grow as America becomes an increasingly aging nation. Fortunately, states recognize that elder abuse is a real and growing issue. But sadly, only some are fighting hard enough to stop it. WalletHub.com compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 16 key indicators of elder-abuse protection in 3 overall categories. Their data set ranges from “share of elder-abuse, gross-neglect and exploitation complaints” to “financial elder-abuse laws.”
The top states were Massachusetts (score of 59.91), Wisconsin (58.38), Rhode Island (56.15), Michigan (55.37) and Iowa (54.34). On the end, New Jersey (28.05) was ranked among the states having the worst protection against elder abuse followed by South Carolina (29.35), California (29.92), Montana (32.46) and Nevada (35.86). Texas ranked #12.
Reference: Oakland Press (Feb. 23, 2020) “Michigan among top states with best elder-abuse protections”