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The average person doesn’t really know much about or understand a lot about “Elderly Abuse” unless it has happened to them or a loved one…but it doesn’t make it any less prevalent in our society today. Approximately 10% of people over 65 are victims of “Elderly Abuse” in the country today!

There is terrific article in The New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights,” that is a must read for anyone who is in their 60’s or older and their children. It’s a long article, you will need more like a pot of coffee than a cup to get through the article…but it will be worth it. It might scare you…it might shock you…it might make you feel ill after reading it…but it will certainly change your perspective on what goes on in our system against the elderly.

If you don’t have the time to read it right now, allow me to give you a quick highlight of some of the key points in advance of you reading the article or to save you some time if you don’t want to read the entire article.

  • Courts can assign “guardians” to any senior that they deem to be incompetent to control their lives and their assets. Because there are so many, there are many “guardianship agencies” that do nothing more than seek to gain guardianship over senior with the intent of using (selling) their assets for profits while placing the seniors in less than desirable situations. And this is legal…it happens all the time throughout the country. This is a story of a few couples and their experiences with these guardian agencies and just how messed up this can get.
  • Often time’s guardianship is granted to an agency without the seniors even knowing they have been assigned a guardian. The agencies know the right people in the right positions to push this through and get custody of the senior’s assets. Of course they target those with higher amounts of assets to make this a very lucrative business.
  • Assets get sold or transferred and there is little to no recourse to ever recover these even if the decision is reversed at some point. In the U.S. there are a million and a half adults under the care of guardians…either family members or these professional agencies. And they control $270 billion in assets…that makes this a very lucrative scam for these agencies and individuals.
  • This story takes place in Las Vegas…where anyone (who isn’t a felon) can take one course and become a guardian. It’s an easy field to enter. And once they have set up the right doctors, attorneys, and even judges, the system is like printing money for those that abuse their control as someone’s guardian.
  • The cases they discussed happened when the couple had capable living children. They pulled it off behind their back and without them knowing what was going on…until it was too late. The daughter in one example showed up at her parents’ house and couldn’t find them because they had been evicted within a few hours and they told no one where they went or where they were going to live. It all happened fast and was over quickly without anyone really knowing the details.
  • In this story, one of the agency owners was guardian to well over a hundred couples…in complete control of their assets, medical care, and housing. They ended up drugged up to a point where they didn’t care or know what was going on while their assets were being liquidated.
  • Fortunately for a few couples in the story, they escaped. They got out of this vice held by the guardian ship agency and while they still lost everything, they were able to survive and live a more normal life with their family. But it took a tremendous amount of work and effort to make this happen.

It’s sad…it’s despicable…but it happens all around us. After reading this article, I personally vowed to use my position as an attorney to help educate everyone I can about this situation and how prevalent it is…even when we don’t think it is happening, it is happening.  I would strongly encourage everyone reading this to share it with anyone they know that is over 60 and their children. The more people that are aware this is going on the better chance we have of helping stop it. Education is a powerful tool…but we have to help each other if we are going to eradicate senior (and other) abuse.

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