New York, NY – After 34,000 Cases of Elder Abuse New Effort to Track & Treat Problem

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    New York, NY – Her son’s verbal and emotional abuse was too much for 84-year-old Helen M.

    Mary’s son wanted to dump her in a “depressing, terrible” place to live. He wouldn’t listen to what Mary wanted.
    Fortunately, she found shelter from the abuse.

    And “Herbie” – not his real name – , 64, incapacitated and unable to work since a serious car accident at 23, had his life savings drained by a younger wife. He, too, found shelter from the abuse.

    Calling elder abuse “the silent epidemic among us,” state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx-Westchester) released a report citing more than 34,000 cases of abuse in New York State in 2008.

    At the same time, Klein called on the Assembly to pass his elder abuse tracking and reporting bill, which passed the Senate 56 to 0 in July.

    Although the term has been in use for several years now, there is no clear definition of elder abuse, and no clear consensus on at what age people become “elderly.”

    The abuse itself, according to Klein’s report, can take the form of physical, sexual, and financial exploitation, as in Herbie’s case; emotional abuse, as in Mary’s, or neglect and abandonment.

    Currently, there are seven agencies in New York that track elder abuse in some manner. Klein’s bill would have all tracking go through the state Office of Children and Family Services, which umbrellas the city’s Adult Protective Services Program.

    “At this point in our older citizens’ lives, we should be saying thank you for what they’ve done,” Klein said at a press conference at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale.
    Instead, the report reveals that an alarming 74% of elder abuse is at the hand of a family member.

    The shelter where Herbie and Mary live is the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home, the first of its kind in New York and one of only two such shelters in the state for elderly victims of abuse.

    The shelter’s director, Joy Solomon, pointed out that the justice system is not friendly to elder-abuse cases by its very nature: long waits and hard seats.

    The new report, she said, puts a spotlight on elder abuse – “It is like where domestic violence was 15 years ago.”

    Klein’s history with this issue goes back to his work on the subcommittee on crimes against the elderly and scams targeting the elderly, uncovered during the passage of the Do Not Call registry law.

    “We can’t begin to crack down until we know what the problem is,” he said, explaining what the bill will do.”We have to codify first, then educate, then criminalize.”

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. A sad commentary on the human race.
      B’H now I might understand a little more why we have/need the mitzvah/commandment of respecting our parents/elders.

    2. Dealing with such cases 1st hand, I can say, its heartbreaking to see those people suffer.

      The same law protecting the youn children should protect these weak unprotected Zeidis & Bubbys who went through enough in their life & deserve some naches & peace at their old age!

    3. Even when elders are not abused, there are so many whose needs go unmet. Whether its money to pay for medicine, food or heat, or someone to help with trips to the doctors or to the grocery store. It’s truly heartbreaking.

    4. Under Obama -health-care, this would be no problem. There would be no medical or government help for elderly or disabled people.They would cease to exist.

    5. I’m sure Senator Klien would love to know how the UCP in the Bronx abuses its disabled consumers. Perhaps he should clean his own house before he looks at the rest of the state.

    6. That’s why it’s good to have ten children so that if one of them wants to abuse their vulnerable and helpless parent. There are another nine to check the actions of the one. Pity is on the parent who gives all powers to only one child and then becomes helpless. If that child turn out to be a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” it then becomes too late to turn back the clock and they suffer to the grave.

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