One of the biggest problems that we have in our society is how we treat older adults. There are a number of them in nursing homes, and some of those homes do not give them the best care that they could have. Sadly, in some cases, there are older adults who are being cared for by family members, only to find out later on that they are being swindled or other issues may be going on in their lives as well. On top of that, businesses and organizations like to prey upon older adults as well, and some of them end up losing a lot of their life’s savings because of it.
Why do people do this to their loved ones? Why do they take advantage and hurt them? And why do businesses go after them too? Mainly, because they believe that they can get away with it. Many elders who are dealing with elder abuse won’t tell anyone that they’re going against something terrible, and sometimes, they don’t even realize exactly what is going on with the whole situation. In short, the experience is stressful, scary, and hard to work through, and because of that, people try to take advantage because they think that elders will keep their mouths closed about it. When the information does get out, it’s too late or a lot of damage has been done that has to be worked through.
Illinois decided that it was time for something to happen so that the elderly could be protected. They passed a law that was called Perry’s Law, which was named after an elderly gentleman with dementia who had lost everything because his guardian, one of his grandsons, had wiped out his accounts and sold his homes. The only reason anyone noticed what was going on is because his nephew saw that the money was gone and he stepped in to try and stop the fraud from getting worse. The law was named after Perry because it took forever to try and get everything straightened out. Perry eventually got a lot back, but not until a legal fight went on. Now, with this law in place, it will be harder for other people to try to pull the same thing on older adults.
There are other states that have passed similar laws to try to deal with the issue as well. Some of them deal with elder abuse, others deal with finances, and others deal with housing. There are so many facets to the whole thing, however, that it’s hard to try and ensure that any and all loopholes have been sealed tightly so that you don’t have people trying to get around them. There have been a number of people who campaign on the national front about the issue as well, but like many things at the national level, the process of getting these laws into place has been slow and arduous, and hopefully we can get to a point where we get something in place that helps to protect the older adults who are in our midst.
What other actions could be taken in order to prevent these sorts of problems from happening? How can we protect older adults from those who are supposed to be taking care of them, but are instead abusing their power and hurting those who they claimed to love at one point in their lives? This is a fine balance, but the conversation needs to be explored and the answers need to be found so that our older adults can live out their last years safely and comfortably.