There are new protections against elder abuse in Florida. Two elder abuse bills called Protection of Elderly Persons and Disabled Adults were signed into law in July. The bills make it easier for state officials to investigate suspected elder abuse and prosecute individuals who are abusing the elderly.
Laws are now tougher on elder abuse that is financially motivated
Until recently, state courts didn’t have the authority to remove an individual who was convicted of elder abuse from the victim’s will or estate documents. Now, an abusive person will not be able to benefit financially from neglecting or abusing an elderly person. If a caregiver is found guilty of elder abuse, they will be barred from receiving any inheritance or benefits after the victim’s death.
Real life cases
Legislators who worked on the new bills said that lessons from real life cases in Florida were the impetus for the legislation, and some newsworthy cases have brought up the issue of financial motivation. While nursing home negligence is often a part of elder abuse, in many cases there are close family members involved as well.
For example, one elder abuse case in Orlando involved the death of a 75-year-old man. The man’s legal guardian had signed a “do not resuscitate” order for the man, despite the fact that the man and his daughter objected to it. The man died in a Tampa hospital while on a feeding tube, and his guardian was later accused of abuse and neglect.
Elder abuse may be committed by people close to the victim
Sadly, elder abuse is often committed by people who have a close relationship with their victims. These negligent caregivers usually stand to gain financially in some way. With the new legislation, however, elderly people have more protection from abusive caregivers.