There is a misconception that elder abuse is a phenomenon that always results in physical marks on an individual. While there is no question that engaging in intentional physical aggression towards an older adult is almost always an act of abuse, there are other ways in which individuals of advanced age suffer abuse at the hands of caregivers, relatives and others.
For example, many adults suffer as a result of neglect. Others have their identities stolen or are the targets of sexual abuse or emotional trauma. Additionally, financial exploitation is a form of abuse that can manifest in a host of ways. From outright stealing from an elderly person to exercising undue influence to gain access to their personal information, accounts or assets, this kind of abuse has become disturbingly common in recent years.
Real estate thefts are an under-discussed issue
One manifestation of elder abuse that is finally being discussed more frequently in American culture involves real estate, fraudulent intentions and ownership interests. Although these scenarios play out differently under varying circumstances, they often involve a loved one who is struggling financially. This loved one either convinces an older adult whose mental capacity may be compromised to sign over papers or completes a real estate transaction in their name by fraudulent means.
It isn’t always an unscrupulous paid caregiver or a scam artist who takes advantage of an older adult’s finances. Sometimes, it is a loved one. As a result, other loved ones who are concerned about a particular transaction – especially if they are closely related and may have had an interest in the property after the original owner passed away – may need to seek legal guidance concerning both elder abuse and property rights.