Georgia has laws on the books that are designed to protect especially vulnerable people from abuse. These include protections for disabled adults who reside in care homes. There are also laws that are particularly designed to protect people over 65 from abuse. Elder abuse can take a number of forms. Sometimes it’s physical. Other times, elder abuse is financial in nature. Neglect can also be a form of elder abuse.
Understanding financial abuse and elders
As people age, they may start to face cognitive decline. Often, they also find themselves limited to a fixed income. Elderly people may also find themselves increasingly socially isolated. Many no longer work. They may also become lonely as their friends pass away or move in with their family members. So, in effect, many elderly people start to be targeted by abusers at the time when they’re most vulnerable. They are targets at a time when they have the fewest resources with which to defend themselves from financial abuse.
Financial abuse is often a feature of both domestic and institutional elder abuse situations. Nursing home neglect can happen even inexpensive, well-kept facilities. Financial abuse in the elderly can include situations where someone forces a senior to sign the power of attorney or guardianship documents without explaining what they are. Other examples include stealing a Social Security check. Some caregivers or relatives will even forge a senior relative’s signature. Exploitation like preying on seniors for charitable donations to fabricated causes also occurs.
Anyone who suspects financial abuse or exploitation of the elderly is happening should contact Georgia’s Office of Adult Protective Services. Calling the police is also an option. Laws designed to prevent financial abuse in the state of Georgia include the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, passed in 2017.