Elderly people in Colorado are unfortunately susceptible to abuse of many different types. They are sometimes seen as easy targets for fraudsters – over 60 percent of abuse cases involving the elderly involve the exploitation of their finances. For example, an elderly Fort Collins couple was duped out of $16,000 by a person pretending to be their granddaughter. The woman claimed she needed bail money to get out of a jail in Peru. In another case, an elderly Fort Collins woman was employing a caregiver who eventually stole over $45,000 from her. Both of these incidents happened just this year.
It’s not always possible for families of senior citizens to help keep an eye on their elderly loved one’s assets. Getting an attorney to help administer an elderly person’s estate and finances can be a great tool. In July of 2014, however, the state of Colorado will be enacting further steps to help stop the abuse.
The new law will require professionals such as social workers, health care workers and clergy to notify police within 24 hours if they have any suspicion of elder abuse. The mandate requires notification when the victim is 70 years old or older. However, Adult Protection Services in Larimer County, which expects a large increase in calls after the law takes effect, stated that they will still be aiding younger and disabled people.
A representative from the Colorado Coalition for Elder Rights and Prevention stated that the law will be putting Colorado on the same level as other states. Currently, there are only three states that don’t have mandatory requirements for reporting suspected elder abuse – one of which is Colorado. When these changes next summer, it may prevent some elderly Colorado residents from being taken advantage of. While successfully prosecuting any suspects might prove difficult, many believe that this law will be a step in right direction for defending the elderly.
Source: coloradoan.com, “Elder abuse: Seniors swindled out of $2.9 billion each year” Sarah Jane Kyle, Nov. 23, 2013