Introduction to the Law on Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation in New Jersey
Introduction to the Law on Elder Abuse
Getting old is hard.
Few of my elderly clients say life gets easier as they age. But age moves forward and with an aging population, claims of elder abuse are on the rise.
Many elders are frail and dependent on their abusers for basic and/or advanced care. They are reluctant to complain because they don’t know how they will survive outside of their dependent condition. They suffer in silence and anxiety.
They are often isolated, fearful, and ashamed because of their limitations. Many are mentally incapacitated and are not able to articulate pain, hunger, thirst, neglect, and abandonment. The problem is widespread, and protection is needed! It’s so sad.
In 1965, Congress began to investigate the extent of elder abuse and financial exploitation under the Federal Older Americans Act.
Later the law required each State to create an Ombudsman program to investigate and prevent elder abuse, elder neglect and elder financial exploitation. Today, elder abuse is still under-reported and the perpetrators are under prosecuted.
Information and Resources
I’ve written this Elder Abuse page to provide you with information and resources to (1) identify elder abuse (2) set forth the laws in New Jersey that address Elder Abuse and (3) provide guidance on what can be done legally to protect an abused person. Read through the pages I’ve written and watch the informative videos I’ve prepared with you in mind. I’m confident you’ll find the time spent here well worth it. When you’re finished, if you feel I can be of assistance, just call me or reach out to me by email.
He looks forward to speaking with you soon.
Learn the Protective Actions You Can Take to Prevent or Minimize Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation
I’m not sure if you recall, but you met myself and my brother back in March in reference to my elderly father Callis Bridgers. We met with you late on a Saturday evening at your office with very heavy hearts. What led us to your firm was that my stepmother had taken my elderly father to PA and admitted him to an assisted living facility on the sly. We came to you wearing our hearts on our sleeves not knowing if there was anything we could do as his children to protect his best interests or more importantly bring him back home to NJ. His dementia left him unaware of what had happened to him or that he was being tossed aside due to inconvenience and greed.
Within a few days, I received a call from Bonnie Wright, a person I have come to call friend. You see, the purpose of this email is to thank you and to tell you what a wonderful person you have in your midst. Although I have only met Bonnie once, I will never forget her face. The face of the angel that helped myself and my brothers fight for a man that could not fight for himself……Bonnie became our beacon in the dark.
She helped us secure a co-guardianship agreement with my stepmother that allows for me to watch over my father and participate in decisions about his future. In addition, the agreement gives me the ability to closely watch his finances to ensure he is never taken advantage of again. And one day, he will come back home to NJ.
Bonnie gave us hope when it seemed so far out of reach. It has been a long nine months but worth all the heart ache. She is truly a gem and deserves recognition for all the hard work she did to secure some piece of mind in a senseless situation. Not only is she a wonderful lawyer but also a compassionate person. Again, I call her “friend” as she has been my rock and given me encouragement through all the tears and uncertain moments.
I thank the Lord and yourself for bringing her light to our dark situation. God Bless.
Elizabeth Havens – Columbus, NJ
When I use the term “Elder Abuse”, I’m including both physical as well as financial abuse and exploitation.
There are seven basic categories of elder abuse:
- Domestic elder abuse which is the abuse of an elderly person by someone who has a special relationship with the person ( a spouse, sibling, child, friend, caregiver or fiduciary relationship, i.e. Power of Attorney or Guardian), that occurs in the elder’s home, or in the home of a caregiver.
- Institutional elder abuse generally refers to abuse that occurs in residential facilities for older persons (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living residences, residential healthcare facilities, or rooming board and care facilities).
- Self-neglect or self-abuse is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person to him or herself that threatens his/her own health or safety. Self-neglect is generally found as a refusal (or failure) to carry out one or more activities of daily living (commonly referred to as ADL’s), including bathing, showering, dressing, getting in or out of bed or a chair, using the toilet, eating, taking medication (when indicated), and observing safety precautions. Self-Abuse is the intentional or unintentional harm the elderly person inflicts upon himself or herself whether voluntary or unknowing. Self-Abuse is often found among our most disturbed elderly family members, neighbors and acquaintances.
- Physical abuse is the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse includes but is not limited to such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shackling, slapping, kicking, pinching, spitting at, and burning. In addition, inappropriate use of a chemical (drug) and physical restraints, force- feeding, and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse. Physical abuse may also include forcing a treatment(s) upon an elder who medically is capable of making voluntary healthcare decisions even after the elder has made known his or her voluntary and informed choice regarding such treatment(s) but forcing a treatment(s) that is against their will or is medically inappropriate.
- Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse which is the infliction of mental anguish, pain, or distress through verbal and/or nonverbal actions and communications. It includes, but is not limited to, verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. In addition, treating an elder like an infant; isolating an elder from his/her family, friends, or regular activities; giving the elder the “silent treatment;” and enforced social isolation are examples of emotional/psychological abuse.
- Gross Neglect is a frequent form of abuse and is a term that describes the willful absence and/or withholding of essential services and support which is necessary to maintain a person’s known welfare, health and safety. Gross neglect may also include the failure of a person who has a fiduciary responsibility to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary care). Gross neglect typically means a refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with life necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials.
- Abandonment is the desertion of an elderly person by an individual who has assumed responsibility for providing care for the elderly person, or by a person with physical custody of the elder. This abandonment is generally by a person in an essential life care relationship with the aging person, i.e. a spouse, caregiver, child, or person in a fiduciary relationship.
- Financial Abuse and Exploitation – Elder financial abuse is a type of elder abuse in which misappropriation of financial resources or abusive use of financial control take place when there is a relationship of trust or confidence between and elderly person and another person which results in economic harm to an older person.
Have questions or a case involving suspected or actual elder abuse & financial exploitation in New Jersey?
Contact Fredrick P. Niemann, a NJ Elder Abuse Law Attorney
He looks forward to speaking with you soon.
He will sit and discuss your case and help you evaluate whether an actionable case of elder abuse exists.
I am writing this email to express my gratitude for the moral support you have given me at the time I needed the most. By the time I reached the courthouse all my nervousness had gone, and I was very comfortable. Thank you for the long ride. I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody in your office who have been very kind and supportive. Not worried about the outcome of the case, I thank GOD for placing me in the hands of a team of respectful excellent professionals who truly care. Thank you.
-Anju Aragam, Somerset County, NJ
Early Dementia, Alzheimer’s. My Mom’s health deteriorated to the point she required full-time care. She wanted to live at home but required regular help with the essentials of daily living (i.e. dressing, bathing, etc.). As her caregiver daughter, the responsibilities fell on me to figure out what to do. Thank goodness for Fredrick Niemann and Hanlon Niemann & Wright.
He met with me and explained all my options for my mom, from at home/community care, assisted living, state, county and local programs for the elderly, financial eligibility for benefits, Medicaid qualification, pharmaceutical assistance, utility aid, Medicare and Veteran’s benefits, etc. While I felt overwhelmed by it all, Mr. Niemann clearly was in control of what could be done for Mom. We engaged him to make applications for subsidized at-home care and assistance through available grant programs and as part of his services to us, he is counseling us on a reverse mortgage, income and financial products to enhance Mom’s monthly income and to reduce her expenses. Mom would tell me to let Mr. Niemann make all the decisions although I am her Power of Attorney. I value so much his confident and generally caring manner. If you’re trying to help your Mom, Dad or family member deal with a life changing health condition, call Fredrick Niemann. I’m glad I did and so is Mom.
– Mary Layton – Farmingdale, NJ
I am happy to refer the many families I work with daily to Fred Niemann. He is extremely detailed and able to handle all the aspects of elder law that most families need assistance with. Many of the families will make a point of thanking me for referring them to Fred and are able to refer him to others as well. Therefore, I recommend his services highly to anyone seeking a lawyer with integrity, knowledge of his trade and a good reputation.
– Christine Meyer – Eldercare Advisor at A Place for Mom
Recent Speaking Events by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. You Can View Fred’s Current Schedule by Clicking Here
LOOK WHERE FRED HAS BEEN
OFFICE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION WORKSHOPS
Rutgers State University is pleased to invite Mr. Fred Niemann of Hanlon Niemann to be the guest speaker at their workshops for the Office of Continuing Education.
Mr. Niemann will offer continuing Education courses on “Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation”, “Hidden Secrets of Veterans Benefits”, “Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits 2013”, “Medicaid Changes: The Approaching Storm”, and the “New NJ Comprehensive Waiver Demonstration”.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. was recently asked to speak at the NJ State Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education in New Brunswick, NJ on the essentials of estate planning.
Mr. Niemann addressed attorneys from throughout the state of NJ interested in learning key concepts and principals of NJ estate planning, including such topics as wills, trusts, estate taxations, asset protection, powers of attorney, health care directives, special needs and supplemental needs trusts for disabled and incapacitated individuals, avoiding probate through creative use of beneficiary planning, inheritance taxes, gifting and changes coming to federal estate taxation.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. attended the 46th annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning Conference from January 9th to January 13th at the Orlando World Center sponsored by the Community of Miami School of Law. This weeklong session assembled the nation’s leading authorities to lecture and discuss the latest in estate planning techniques and strategies. Topics analyzed and discussed included 1) elder law; 2) asset protection; 3) statutory case law developments; 4) planning with financial assets including annuities, Roth IRA’s, and life insurance policies; 5) litigation and tax controversies; 6) networking and practice development.
Mercer County Chapter of the New Jersey Society of CPAs
Fredrick P. Niemann spoke before the State Society of CPAs Mercer County Chapter about Estate Planning and Asset Protection Planning for individuals and families. Topics addressed during the 4-hour seminar included hospice planning and asset protection, Veterans Aid & Attendance, planning using a Power of Attorney, Living Will and Healthcare Directive. Attendees at the seminar were eligible to receive 4 hours of professional CEU credits from the State Society.
Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation lawyers serving these New Jersey Counties:
Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Camden County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Bergen County,
Morris County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County
Freehold, Red Bank, Wall, Long Branch, Marlboro, Manalapan, Howell, Jackson, Brick Township, Holmdel, Middletown, Atlantic Highlands, Aberdeen, Toms River, Manahawkin, East Brunswick, Monroe Township, Cranbury, Lyndhurst, Teaneck, Hamilton, Robbinsville, Millstone, Manasquan, Lakewood, Eatontown, West Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Ocean Township, Neptune, Spring Lake, Newark, Hillsborough, Somerset, Hoboken, Jersey City, Parsippany, Edison, Plainfield, South Plainfield, Dumont, Mount Laurel, Vineland, Cherry Hill, Ocean Township, Atlantic City, Camden, Union Township, Kearny, Lambertville