Astor case shows need for Elder Justice Act, op-ed

Opinion piece published in The Hill, © 2009 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

Opinion piece published in The Hill, © 2009 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

By Jenefer Duane, October 15, 2009

The conviction of 85-year-old Anthony Marshall for bilking millions from his philanthropist mother Brooke Astor gives a glimpse of a tragedy national in scope: elder abuse and neglect, which affects an estimated 5 million elderly people annually. In nearly 90 percent of all abuse cases, the perpetrator is a family member, two-thirds of whom are spouses or adult children.

But most financial elder abuse cases don’t have the tabloid drama of the rich and famous. It goes on quietly in towns and cities throughout the country where adult children tire of caring for sick parents, or caregivers resent or feel entitled to the relative wealth of the elder whom they bathe and feed. Elder financial abuse straddles all socioeconomic classes at a cost of $2.6 billion to our nation’s seniors annually — with family, friends, neighbors and caregivers as the perpetrators in 55 percent of cases. Read the full article about why we need the Elder Justice Act.

Get the facts:  Elder Abuse Fact Sheet produced by National Council on Aging (NCOA) and WITNESS, an international human rights organization that uses video to affect change, supporting the 573-member Elder Justice Coalition to urge Congress to pass the bill this year.

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