On October 18, 2017, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act became law. Among other things the law requires that the United States Department of Justice establish best practices for data collection on elder abuse and collection and publish data on elder abuse cases and investigations. The "sense of the Senate" expresses that: "(1) elder abuse involves exploitation of potentially vulnerable individuals; (2) combatting elder abuse requires support for victims and prevention; and (3) the Senate supports a multipronged approach to prevent elder abuse, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators of elder abuse crimes."
Many legal theorists believe that law follows economic and social changes. We are in the midst of such economic and social changes. Almost 14% of California's population is 65 or older. It is estimated that California currently has 590,000 residents with Alzheimer's. These numbers are expected to increase by 42% to 840,000 in 2025. People with dementia and Alzheimer's are at higher risk for elder financial abuse. Given the growing population of people with Alzheimer's, it is clear that law will follow the economic and social changes necessary for assisting those who cannot assist themselves.
Most Americans now live into old age, when dementia becomes increasingly common. Life expectancy for American men is currently 76.5 years and 81.2 years for women. Life expectancy when I was born in 1950 was 65.6 years for men and 71.1 years for women. We live longer, and it is natural that we become more dependent as we age. Society is challenged by this change. None of us want our elders to become invisible to their communities, isolated, alone, and vulnerable to predators. Yet these are very real dangers.
Increasingly laws and policies will need to address these needs and provide better protection to our seniors. In the meantime, law firms with experience in prosecuting elder financial abuse claims in California's Superior Courts will continue to represent the growing needs of those vulnerable to abuse.
If you have encountered a case of elder financial abuse, you can call us at Hackard Law. We serve clients throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda and Santa Clara, and our main mission is protecting families wronged by exploitation. Our number is 916-313-3030. We look forward to seeing how we can help you.