Protecting Elders: A Case Study of Elder Exploitation and Self-Neglect
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Elder financial exploitation and self-neglect are the two most reported incidences of elder abuse reported to Washington State's Adult Protective Services. This capstone explores the evolving procedural and legislative interventions to respond and address these forms of elder abuse. Financial exploitation and self-neglect cases are increasing reflecting societal and economic shifts. There is a relationship between these forms of abuse--preventing and decreasing them involves strategic policies including the following: targeted interventions by the current Washington State Adult Protective Services (APS); honing statutes governing and supporting the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS); and increasing the enforcement and penalties for these crimes. Each of these strategic policies reflects the complexity of responding to these issues and the changing needs of the elderly as family and society evolves. The present capstone details a case study of Washington State’s passage of financial exploitation legislation to create a new elder abuse crime and creation of programmatic changes for the management of elder self-neglect. To examine the issue of self-neglect, the attitudes DSHS Adult Protective Service investigators have toward increasing workloads and programmatic changes are highlighted in interviews with staff, publicly accessible memos, and an attitudinal survey of APS staff. The formative phase of a legislative process is briefly summarized describing a proposed Long Term Care Trust Act. The societal impacts and implications are validated through data, research and media reports at the national and state levels. Storytelling is used to personalize and humanize the issue, and highlight the variety that these forms of abuse can take.
- MA in Policy Studies