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What types of elder abuse commonly occur in the U.S.?

Buzz Aldrin, the famed American astronaut who became the second man to walk on the moon, recently filed a claim in Florida against two family members and his former business manager alleging elder exploitation. Aldrin, who is now 88, seeks to retain control of his business Buzz Aldrin Enterprises and his not-for-profit organization, ShareSpace Foundation. The suit comes months after Aldrin’s family filed a request to be appointed as legal guardians. Our Tampa elder law attorney explores the facts surrounding the Aldrin elder exploitation case and the varied instances of elder abuse across the nation below.

Aldrin Claims His Family Is Attempting to Gain Control of His Assets

Aldrin’s family stated in their suit for guardianship that Aldrin was suffering from cognitive decline as well as confusion and paranoia. Aldrin has issued a strong response, countering that he is mentally fit and the guardianship move constitutes elder exploitation because Aldrin’s family is attempting to gain control and access to his finances.

Already, Aldrin claims that two of his three children have taken access to his credit cards, bank accounts, trust monies, and more. The two children have transferred roughly half a million dollars from Aldrin’s savings account to the foundation, for their own benefit. Aldrin further alleges that the children have used claims of Alzheimer’s to slander Aldrin, while also bullying all personal relationships he has had.

Aldrin is classified as a vulnerable adult per Florida statutes, and as such his children and others could be liable for knowingly and through deception or intimidation attempting to deprive him of his finances and property.

Types of Elder Abuse

Financial exploitation is just one recognized type of elder abuse. Other common forms of abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment

Sadly, it is the relatives of the elderly that most often commit abuse. Any elderly individual who believes they are being financially exploited or otherwise abused should contact an elder law attorney for assistance. Elder abuse could lead to both criminal and civil penalties, with the exploited elderly potentially receiving financial compensation.