Report on elder abuse by the New Mexico State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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Report on elder abuse by the New Mexico State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is proud to announce the release of a report on elder abuse by our New Mexico state Advisory Committee.

The Committee identified five dynamics in the state that increase the risk of abuse for elders:

• Widespread poverty and lack of affordable services available to elders and caregivers;
• Underreporting suspicion of abuse by caretakers, providers, and elders themselves;
•  Structural weaknesses in the healthcare system that allow abuse to go undetected;
• Lack of enforcement of existing laws and regulations designed to protect elders; and
•  Financial exploitation to prey upon elders and steal or appropriate financial and property resources.

Among the Committee’s recommendations to improve protections for elders:

•  State and federal agencies need to bolster requirements for reporting and surveillance of cases;
•  Creation of opportunities for mediation where there is a concern about an elder’s capacity to control finances;
•  Increased transparency in process of determining the need for court-appointed individuals or agencies;
•   Review of existing legislation and regulations to determine if sufficient to protect the rights of elders;
•  Bolstering or enacting statutes that protect elders from financial exploitation;
• In cases of alleged financial exploitation, a presumption of undue influence should be established;
•  Court costs, attorney’s fees, and double or triple damages should be available in cases of willful coercion;
•  The maximum number of judgments related to elder financial abuse should be enforced and collected.

We invite you to view the report at: https://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2018/09-27-NM-Elder-Abuse.pdf.