For those of us that have parents in nursing homes and independent living facilities, our worst fear is elder abuse. After all, our parents took care of us for decades and helped make us who we are today. So, it is natural that we want to make sure that same love and care is given to our parents when they transition to the next stage of their lives. This brings up the question of the state of elder abuse protections in our country.
An underreported issue
Most elder abuse goes unreported. In fact, according to reports, it may be as much as 13 out of every 14 incidents of elder abuse are unreported. And, it is important to understand that elder abuse is not just physical, sexual abuse and emotional and psychological abuse. It also includes neglect and abandonment, along with financial exploitation.
Ranking elder abuse protections by state
The financial website, WalletHub released a report on the states with the best elder-abuse protections. They compared all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, looking at elder abuse protections. Massachusetts topped the WalletHub list. Wisconsin, Vermont, Michigan and West Virginia all scored top spots as well.
Georgia did not score so well. Our state ranks near the bottom at 41. In fact, our state spends the least on elder abuse prevention, along with Hawaii, Washington, Louisiana and Montana.
What to do if it happens to a loved one
For Atlanta, Georgia, residents who have experienced elder abuse or have family members who experienced elder abuse, call an attorney immediately. Do not rely on simply reporting the incident to the provider or to police. While doing either may stop the immediate abuse, it may not stop ongoing abuse of other residents, and it likely will not result in just compensation for that abuse. This is why contacting an attorney is so important. They can walk families through the process of seeking justice.