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Abuse of the Elderly

Abuse of the Elderly 

Mistreatment of the elderly is nothing new. It is an issue that has been hounding civilizations throughout the ages and from the beginning of time. In the Bible's Book of Kings, David, the King of lsrael, complains on his death bed about his son, Absalom. Shakespeare writes in King Lear about a Celtic king betrayed by his two elderly daughters. In the Ballad of Narayama, the Japanese practice of "ubasute" is inspected, which involved the laking of elderly women to remote locations to die of starvation and exposure.

In our country, there arc famous cases of elder abuse, that include celebrity victims like Brooke Astor and Mickey Rooney who recently testified at a Senate hearing on the subject.

Elder abuse can run the gamete from mere neglect to crime, and can be both financial and physical. And it seems that there is no central force pushing the cause correction of forward, but rather diverse programs, in small towns and large cities, where leadership is diffused. We all know of problems effecting the elderly. They exist in our neighborhoods and are often reported in local papers.

A recent General Accounting Office report dealing with the problem has stated, "federal leadership in this area has been lacking." Clearly the Federal Government has not provided the funds necessary to attack the problem. In fiscal year 2009, total federal funding for elder related problems amounted to 11 .9 million. That same year, federal funding for child abuse prevention programs amounted to 130 million, which by the way, is not nearly enough. Child welfare received a total of 8.3 billion in 2009. We spent more money in this country to prevent animal abuse, 21.5 million in 2009, than we did to address elder justice cases that year.

At a time in life when seniors should be honored, too often they are taken advantage of, their money stolen and their dignity destroyed. A concerted effort must be put forth now to stem the tide and ultimately to win the battle. Our parents and grandparents, in their final years of life, deserve nothing less. What can we all do? Call your Congressman, write your Senator, ask them what they are doing about the abuse of the elderly and ask them to do more!

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law