- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I would like to commend Laurie Edwards-Tate for bringing to attention a problem that has affected nearly 1 in 10 aging Americans, according to statistics published by the National Center on Elder Abuse (“Stamping out financial elder abuse despite Jerry Brown’s veto,” Web, Oct. 19).

Financial exploitation of elders falls under the category of elder abuse, along with emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment and even self-neglect. Many Americans are unaware of the vast, complex web of issues that affect the aging population every day. The plights of the aging population across the country often go unnoticed, frequently garnering mention only after the fact, such as the case of Bette Isenberg in Ms. Edwards-Tate’s article.

The author presents a list of helpful “warning signs” of financial elder abuse, but it is not enough for caretakers, guardians and others to simply take passive stances in the well-being of elders. Every day we must be on guard for those who can’t stand guard for themselves. Preventing elder abuse is a task in which the nation must address one community at a time, beginning with tasks as simple as keeping in contact with elders. Many communities have a host of nonprofit organizations to support senior citizens, such as Ombudsman, AARP, senior citizen centers and advocacy groups.

In addition, social service departments often house special divisions to deal with reports of elder abuse. Researching these valuable services should be a priority of anyone who has elders in his life, as well as those who are committed to keeping America a safe place for both the young and old.


Winston-Salem, N.C.