Guest post by Julie Nauman, Executive Officer, California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
After the death of her husband, eighty-six-year-old Mrs. Jones was befriended by Nancy, a local nurse. Since Mrs. Jones’s only family was out of state, Nancy began helping Mrs. Jones run small errands, such as grocery shopping and trips to the bank. Before long, Nancy had convinced Mrs. Jones to let her move in to help take care of her. Nancy began recommending expensive home improvements, ensuring Mrs. Jones that they were best for her. She even suggested that Mrs. Jones buy an expensive new sports car, an item Mrs. Jones had no interest in. Sometimes Nancy would lose her temper with Mrs. Jones and hit her or tell her she was useless.
Mrs. Jones’s case is a prime example of elder abuse. There are several different types of elder abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, neglect and abandonment. Unfortunately, these cases often go unreported by the victim because he or she is fearful, incapable or ashamed to ask for help. Like Mrs. Jones, a victim may not even be aware that abuse is taking place.
Elderly victims who are physically or emotionally abused can seek financial assistance from the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP), which provides compensation to victims of violent crime. CalVCP provides assistance with medical and dental treatment, mental health services, income loss, funeral and burial expenses, home security, crime-scene cleanup and other crime-related expenses. If you are a victim of elder abuse or would like more information about CalVCP, you can visit www.calvcp.ca.gov.
In addition, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) lists several ways to get involved in the prevention of elder abuse and instructions on how to report it. Learn more about how you can help, at www.ncea.aoa.gov.
In 2050, it is estimated that 20% of the United States’ population will be over 65 years old, a 17% increase from 2010. This means 17% more people will be vulnerable to elder abuse. Please help to keep our elderly community safe by spreading the word and reporting abuse.
Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State. The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) provides compensation for victims of violent crime. CalVCP provides eligible victims with reimbursement for many crime-related expenses. Funding comes from restitution paid by criminal offenders through fines, orders, penalty assessments and federal matching funds.