Westchester Elder Law Attorney Anthony J. Enea Offers Insights on Protecting Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

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According to the National Council on Aging, approximately one out of every ten Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Westchester elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, managing member of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP in White Plains and Somers, N.Y., recently addressed the growing problem of elder abuse, outlining common signs and what steps can be taken if elder abuse is suspected.

Elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, managing partner at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP

As people are living longer, their frailties become ripe targets for those seeking to take advantage of them. All too often we find the alleged abuser is someone the senior is dependent upon – either emotionally or physically.

According to the National Council on Aging, approximately one out of every ten Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Westchester elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, managing member of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP in White Plains and Somers, N.Y., recently addressed the growing problem of elder abuse, outlining common signs and what steps can be taken if elder abuse is suspected.

While some studies reveal as many as five million elders are abused each year, the National Council on Aging estimates that only one in fourteen cases are reported to authorities.

“As people are living longer, their frailties become ripe targets for those seeking to take advantage of them,” said Anthony Enea, who has spent three decades protecting the rights of seniors and the disabled. “All too often we find the alleged abuser is someone the senior is dependent upon – either emotionally or physically. Whether it is a home care attendant, the handyman, a child or loved one, there is very often some type of an existing relationship.”

When a senior doesn’t have regular contact with loved ones, the door can more easily be opened for others to take advantage. Consistent contact, including regular phone calls and visits, is critical to identify changes in behavior or cognitive abilities as well as any warning signs of abuse.

“It is not unusual for family members to be in denial about the signs of cognitive decline by attributing the loss of memory and mental acuity to being common to old age,” said Enea. “These signals shouldn’t be trivialized, and in fact should be the impetus for taking affirmative action to ensure that the senior is being properly taken care of both physically and emotionally, and is not left vulnerable to abuse. If a senior has been diagnosed with dementia or observed to have cognitive decline, it is advisable for a loved one to be in a position to handle his or her financial affairs.”

In a 2013 study, the New York State Office for the Aging found the statewide impact of financial exploitation to be at least $1.5 billion and at a rate of 41 per 1,000 older New Yorkers.

Although circumstantial evidence of financial, physical, and emotional abuse may be readily apparent, these signs are often ignored by the senior’s friends and family. There are, however, a number of steps that can – and should – be taken immediately if elder abuse is suspected.

“Start by confronting both the senior and abuser about the alleged abuse,” explained Enea. “Loved ones and friends should also be contacted. Professional help is available through Adult Protective Services and your local District Attorney’s office. I also strongly urge those who suspect financial abuse to contact an attorney who is experienced in guardianship proceedings. A temporary restraining order can be obtained to freeze the senior’s accounts while an investigation is underway.”

Named Westchester County’s Leading Elder Care Attorney at the Above the Bar Awards and Best Lawyers’ 2017 Trusts & Estates “Lawyer of the Year” in White Plains, Mr. Enea is president of the Westchester County Bar Foundation and past chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section. His practice areas include elder law; Medicaid asset protection trusts; Medicaid applications (home care and nursing home); special needs planning; guardianships (Article 81 and 17-A); and wills, trusts and estates.

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is located at 245 Main Street in White Plains, N.Y. with additional offices in Somers, N.Y. Elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea can be reached at 914-948-1500 or a.enea(at)esslawfirm(dot)com. For the latest news, visit Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano online at http://www.esslawfirm.com.

About Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP
Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is an AV preeminent rated elder law firm with offices in White Plains and Somers, N.Y. The practice concentrates on Elder Law; Medicaid Planning; Nursing Home and Home Care Applications; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Guardianships; Estate Litigation; Supplemental Needs Trusts; and Special Needs Planning. Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP serves Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Queens and is committed to providing the highest quality legal services to seniors, the disabled and their families. Visit the firm online at http://www.esslawfirm.com and http://www.westchesterseniors.com.

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Kelly Lee
Co-Communications, Inc.
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