One of the saddest realities of today’s society is the ever-increasing incidents of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Part of the issue that society is facing is that with longer life-spans, mental incapacity is increasing and many of our elderly suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and become easy prey for unscrupulous individuals or family members. Whether suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, no elderly adult should be subjected to abuse or exploitation by those responsible for caring for them.
Often, the elderly adult is unaware of or embarrassed by the abuse to the extent that they are in denial and refuse to recognize the reality of the situation until their assets are depleted and they cannot care for themselves anymore.
So, how does South Carolina rank in elder abuse and elder protections? Not very high. In a recent (Dec 2017) article by Cynthia Rolden of “The State” newspaper, with contributions by the Associated Press, South Carolina ranks 50th in states having the best elder-abuse protections; 49th in complaints for elder-abuse, exploitation and neglect; 48th for how much the State spends on elder-abuse prevention – even while acknowledging a senior population expected to double by 2020!
What can be done? Be proactive – if you are elderly or have elderly parents here in the Palmetto State, advise them to seek the assistance of a good elder law attorney who can evaluate their living situation; revamp their estate plan (as needed); make sure their Advance Directives are in proper order; and, provide counselling on guardianships, should that become necessary.
As a family member, sometimes it becomes apparent that your elderly parent can no longer take care of themselves or their finances. In this case, it may be time to seek a Guardianship and / or Conservatorship. These steps should not be taken lightly! Guardianship proceedings strip the elderly person for whom they are sought of some very fundamental civil rights. The Firm helps clients determine if a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary or warranted and provides legal representation needed to fully understand and navigate the Guardianship and Conservatorship proceedings.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A., is proud of its history of providing services to the elderly and their families to help avoid elder exploitation, neglect and abuse.
If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, please call the SC Adult Protective Services office in the county where the abuse is occurring: