Historically, Florida has a large elder population most of whom are over the age of 65 and become susceptible to elder abuse.
As many retirees grow older, they suffer from diminished capacity and become susceptible to elder abuse. Florida has two statutes designed to protect those people at risk. This article is limited to focusing on aging as the cause of susceptibility rather than other disabilities that may affect a person.
Chapter 415 of the Florida Statutes is titled “Adult Protective Services”. This statute does not specifically deal with age classifications but protects “vulnerable adults”. A vulnerable adult is defined as “a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.”
Chapter 825 of the Florida Statutes is titled “Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Elderly Persons and Disabled Adults”. This statute defines an elderly person as someone 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age or organic brain damage, or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person’s own care or protection is impaired. This is a criminal statute but Florida Statute 772.11 provides a civil remedy for a violation of Chapter 825.
Both statutes speak of an adult being “impaired”. Chapter 415 tries to further define being “impaired” as when an adult “does not have the ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection” because of the “infirmities of aging. This is a wide-open definition which should not be a high hurdle to overcome.
To continue reading about elder abuse, click this PDF link: Exploitation of the Elderly.
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