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New Grant Money Aids Resources for Elder Abuse Victims in Maine

Helping Grandmother WalkMaine’s Family Crisis Services, serving Cumberland County, is one of nine national recipients awarded the Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant by the U.S. Department of Justice. This grant will build on prior services cultivated by the community that support victims and survivors of elder abuse in Maine.

The Family Crisis Services Elder Program partnered with the Portland Police Department, the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and the Cumberland County Superior Court and District Attorney’s Office for a kickoff event last week to celebrate the grant money which will hopefully improve elder safety and enhance community training and response to senior victims of physical, emotional or financial abuse.

Elder abuse in Maine a growing problem

Elder abuse can happen in a nursing home or assisted living facility, in the community or at home, and affects up to 11 percent of older individuals, according to statistics from the National Research Council. However, research suggests that only 1 in 14 cases involving abuse or neglect are ever reported to authorities. This may be partly due to the fact that perpetrators are frequently family members, trusted caregivers or victims’ partners who deftly avoid responsibility or justify their actions by pointing to the elder’s erratic or troublesome behavior.

In other cases, especially those where the victim suffers from dementia or cognitive impairment, they may not even be cognizant of the extent of the abuse or exploitation.

In Maine, which is currently the oldest state in the country, with a median age of 43.5, elder abuse remains a huge problem and source of concern. Recognizing signs of elder abuse in one of the first steps in preventing serious harm, but for those who have already been subjected to physical abuse, lack of basic medical care, neglect, sexual advances or even financial exploitation, the law affords remedies.

When evidence of elder abuse is apparent, victims and their loved ones may pursue legal compensation through the courts. The court will determine whether there is a contractual relationship between the elder victim and the purported neglecter, whether that is a paid caregiver in a facility, or a relative who moved in and assumed the role of providing day-to-day care for the senior.

A successful elder abuse lawsuit can recoup compensation for all past and future medical expenses, lost income while attending to the elder’s needs, emotional distress and pain and suffering.

An experienced lawyer may also pursue punitive damages, reach often reach into the millions of dollars, if evidence demonstrates the defendant’s conduct was reckless and showed wanton disregard for the victim’s safety.

Hardy, Wolf & Downing Maine injury lawyers

When it comes to incidents of elder or nursing home abuse, you may have two viable claims: one for medical malpractice and another for negligence. If you believe a loved one has been injured, contact an elder abuse lawyer at Hardy, Wolf and Downing, serving the Bangor, Lewiston and Portland areas for more than three decades. Call 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free case review today.

  1. Portland Press Herald, Maine Voices: Family Crisis Services Elder Program aims to enhance victim safety http://www.pressherald.com/2015/09/09/maine-voices-agencys-new-program-to-enhance-education-awareness-on-elder-abuse/
  2. American Bar, Neglect of Older Persons: An Introduction to Legal Issues Related to Caregiver Duty and Liability http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/aging/about/pdfs/neglect_of_older_persons.authcheckdam.pdf