Seniors are often isolated, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Loss of mobility, mental capacity, family, and financial independence all contribute to a higher risk of mistreatment. Roughly 1 in 10 people aged 60 and older who live at home experience elder abuse according to the CDC. Family members and caregivers of the elderly are most likely to commit elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Elder abuse is a growing problem that comes in many forms. Some seniors will face emotional abuse from people they trust and others will fall prey to scams.
To help address this issue in the Commonwealth, LABG now hosts an Elder Law Fellow through the Equal Justice Works Program. The fellow, Andrew Lakin, accepts cases through our intake system and considers a wide range of actions for victimized clients. These actions range from modifying power of attorney, wills, and other legal documents, helping deal with the aftermath of identity theft including negotiating with creditors, and recouping lost funds if our client has been the victim of financial exploitation. Our program also helps victims of elder abuse by connecting our clients with other services, non-profits, and government agencies that are suited to address their needs. In addition, Lakin is developing training modules for program staff to enhance our service to elder victims, coordinating with our data teams to develop a geographic legal plan to provide elder victim services.
LABG’s Elder Justice Program serves all 33 counties in our service area. Lakin has been LABG’s Elder Justice Fellow since the program was launched in August of last year. He works on the Elder Justice Program out of his passion for helping others. “I got into the legal profession and joined Legal Aid to help people. This lets me help some of the people who need it most.”
For those looking to stand up against elder abuse in your community, there are several ways to help. One way is by getting in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). These agencies offer a range of assistance to older adults within and beyond our service area. LABG also works with local Community Action associations as a part of the Elder Justice Program. AAAs and Community Action associations offer a variety of volunteer opportunities and ways to help within your community.
If you believe you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, please contact our intake line at (859)431-8200. Kentucky law requires mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults who have a physical or mental disability and are unable to protect themselves. You can report anomalously by calling (502) 564-7043.