The Bill Applies to Older People

Elder Abuse Perpetrators Are Often Family Members; the Abuse Is Sometimes Fatal.
According to government statistics from Oregon and Washington State, most people who die under their assisted suicide laws are elders, aged 65 or older.[1] This demographic is already an especially at risk group for abuse and financial exploitation. This is true in both the US and Australia.

A.  Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation

Elder abuse and exploitation perpetrators are often family members.[2] They typically start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or to coercing victims to sign over deeds to their homes, to change their wills or to liquidate their assets.[3] Amy Mix, an elder law attorney in the US, explains why older people are especially vulnerable:
The elderly are at an at-risk group for a lot of reasons, including, but not limited to diminished capacity, isolation from family and other caregivers, lack of sophistication when it comes to purchasing property, financing, or using computers . . . .
[D]efendants are family members, lots are friends, often people who befriend a senior through church . . . .  We had a senior victim who had given her life savings away to some scammer who told her that she’d won the lottery and would have to pay the taxes ahead of time. . . .  The scammer found the victim using information in her husband’s obituary.[4]
 B.  Abuse and Financial Exploitation Are Sometimes Fatal

In some cases, elder abuse and financial exploitation are fatal.  More notorious cases include California’s “black widow” murders, in which two women took out life insurance policies on homeless men.[5] Their first victim was 73 year old Paul Vados, whose death was staged to look like a hit and run accident.[6] The women collected $589,124.93.[7]

Consider also, People v. Stuart in which an adult child killed her mother with a pillow, allowing the child to inherit. The Court observed:

Financial considerations [are] an all too common motivation for killing someone.[8]

[1]   Appendix, at A-34 and A-35
[2]  See Met Life Mature Market Institute, Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances,” March 2009 and Facts on Elder Abuse - Australia.
[3]  Metlife supra, at p.14.
[4]  Kathryn Alfisi, “Breaking the Silence on Elder Abuse,” Washington Lawyer, February 2015.
[5]  See People v. Rutterschmidt, 55 Cal.4th 650 (2012) and
[6]  Rutterschmidt, at 652-3.
[7]  Id. at 652.
[8]  67 Cal.Rptr.3d 129, 143 (2007).

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