August 9, 2011

Steve Papadimos Discusses Common Elder Abusers

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:58 am by Steve Papadimos

Contrary to what many individuals would guess, relatives prove to be the most common elder abusers. The type of abuse varies widely according to the relationship between the elder individual and the perpetrator. Children of the victim tend to seek monetary gain, often justifying their actions as simply obtaining an early inheritance. Spouses may continue former patterns of abuse or take advantage of a situation due to unexpressed anger or resentment. Often, spouses unintentionally harm each other by refusing help assistance as they attempt to take care of each other. Relatives with a history of substance abuse or those dealing with especially difficult situations show a greater likelihood of exploiting the elderly.

Virtually anyone can become an elder abuser, from neighbors or volunteer workers to practitioners. While some predators seek out individuals in vulnerable positions to deprive them of their resources, many elder abusers feel justified in their actions or do not understand the harm that they cause. Abusers generally assume a position of trust or authority, whether through a familial tie or a friendship. Those elderly who live alone and have no relatives living in the immediate vicinity prove especially vulnerable to abuse at the hands of supposed friends and neighbors.

Abuse may also happen in paid care environments, especially if employees do not receive adequate training, lack support from other staff members, have insufficient supplies, or lie about their previous experience. Some institutions do not have the infrastructure and organization required for adequate care, making in imperative that individuals thoroughly research different homes before settling on one for an elderly family member. Some perpetrators actually have a history of elder abuse, making it important that individuals elders’ caregivers inquire about employee screenings and any systems that have put in place to ensure adequate care and proper treatment.

Elder abuse remains a growing problem, especially as the baby boomers begin to retire and the older population increases, making it important that individuals become aware of the signs of elder abuse and take measures to prevent it.

About the Author

Both Lucas County and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association have honored Steve Papadimos for his contributions as Chief of Civil Division at the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office. In this position, he oversees all phases of public sector law, including the county’s senior protection unit. Steve Papadimos holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo School of Law.