Abuse of elder Tennesseans vastly underreported

Jun 16, 2016

Credit coamidtn.org/

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  An advocate for Tennessee seniors says the vast majority of cases of elder abuse are not being reported.

Grace Smith heads the Council on Aging for Middle Tennessee. She says only about 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, Smith says family members are the ones most likely to abuse a senior citizen.

‘”Typically an adult child or a spouse, and very often someone who is financially dependent on the elder.”

Smith says one of the fastest growing areas of senior abuse involves a con-artist scamming the elderly.

“People posing as contractors or as IRS workers and then basically extorting money from an older adult for services that are never rendered telling them that in order to avoid problems or fines from the IRS they have to pay a penalty fee to this con-man. These are the types of things we’re seeing more and more.”

Smith reminds all Tennesseans that they have a legal obligation to report any suspicion of elder abuse.

She says red flags include unexplained bruises, broken bones, abrasions, burns, or simply a dramatic change in the elder’s usual disposition.

To learn more about elder abuse, visit the Council on Aging website.