Many community members visit our New York elder law attorneys to ensure that they will have the financial resources necessary to obtain appropriate senior care when the time comes. Unfortunately, without prior preparation many local residents are not able to acquire high-quality assistance to maintain their preferred quality of life as they age. This weekend the Carroll Gardens Patch interviewed Assemblywoman Joan Millman about these and similar struggles that many area seniors face.
Assemblywoman Millman was recently appointed the new Chairperson of the New York Assembly Committee on Aging. She explained how her role requires her to be a funding advocate, because there are significant financial questions when it comes to state aid to help area seniors. She described how “they threaten every year to close centers, and that’s of real concern to the seniors who use them.”
Besides working to provide as many resources as possible to help area seniors, the Assemblywoman mentioned that she also works to raise awareness about the prevalence of New York elder abuse. She explained how the abuse includes both physical acts as well as financial exploitation. Consumer Reports recently noted that elderly financial abuse affects as many as one million seniors every year. Often the abuse is perpetrated by family members or close friends who take advantage of vulnerabilities for their own gain. As Assemblywoman Millman shared, “we get cases in this office where a son and daughter-in-law convince the mother to sign over the brownstone to them, and now the woman is convinced the daughter is going to sell the house from under her and now she doesn’t have any place to live.”
One of the main problems with catching cases of this abuse is the reluctance of many victims to come forward. She explained how many seniors feel that “there’s so much shame and embarrassment, they can’t tell anybody. Because how do you tell somebody that your own child is stealing from you or threatens you.”
There remains far too little awareness of elder abuse and neglect in our area. While law enforcement officials are working on the problem, quite frequently wrongdoers are never held accountable for their conduct. One of the best ways for community members to ensure that they do not fall victim to abuse and neglect is to put a New York elder care plan in place to have access to the quality assistance when necessary. Preparation is often the difference between having a choice of acceptable living options and being forced into a mediocre facility. In addition, by contacting a local elder law estate planning attorney, residents will know that trained professionals are aware of their monetary situation which may prevent possible elder financial abuse or exploitation.
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