Post-Sandy Elder Abuse Draws Attention to Growing Problem
January 30, 2013
Just a few short weeks after Hurricane Sandy blew through New York City, tales of elder abuse are emerging in its wake.
Staten Island social worker Jeanne Zieff has dealt with several such cases. In one such case, an 88-year old woman sought help when her children and adult grandchildren demanded that she give them the $8,000 FEMA check she had just received. Zieff paid a visit to the woman’s home, “I told the abuser the check was made out to her mom, and it’s her money to do with what she wants.”
Even without post-Sandy instances of abuse, Zieff and her coworkers at the Community Agency for Senior Citizens have seen a growing number of elder abuse cases, including “financial exploitation, physical neglect, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and a range of verbal and emotional mistreatment.” Zieff and others like her are dealing with budgets that continue to shrink, and caseloads that continue to grow.
Elder abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes, because it is mostly perpetuated by children, and parents don’t want to recognize or admit that their children are abusing them. The most common form of elder abuse is financial exploitation. According to experts, the growing number of financial exploitations cases have been fueled by the rough economy.
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