Lawmakers contemplate ways to protect the elderly from abuse

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The Senate is considering extra safeguards to protect the elderly from abuse. The Florida Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services Program wants that change to include prevention. Program Deputy Director Leann Kelly-Christensen says the potential for the elderly to sustain physical, mental and financial abuse is high.

“We see exploitation across all sorts of ways. They can be threatened with ‘I’m not going to take care of you, you’re going to be put in a nursing home if you don’t give me this money.’ Neglect goes hand-in-hand with it because they can’t afford their medications,” Kelly-Christensen said.

“Obviously there’s an emotional bond there, and any time you’re in a position of trust and confidence, there’s an emotional bond there, so it’s very hard for the elder or vulnerable or the victim in these types of situations to speak out against them [the abuser],” she added.

She says the elderly population is rapidly growing in the state and safeguards need to equally grow to match.

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