What Age Does Florida Consider “Elderly”?

Tue, Jan 5, 2016

Elder Law

2473113875_6be6153bae_bThe age at which someone becomes old is up for discussion. I imagine it gets older as you age, wouldn’t you think? It’s always something to consider when talking to others, so make sure you consider their age when you call someone old!

However, at some point there needs to be a determination of what age elderly is for legal reasons. For the most part, Florida considers those over age 60 or over age 65 to be elderly for many legal purposes. These legal purposes would include elder abuse or crimes against the elderly.

For instance, Chapter 825 of the Florida Statutes discusses abuse of elderly persons. There, it says : “Elderly person” means a person 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 dysfunctioning, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person’s own care or protection is impaired.”

However, many crimes in Florida only allow for an increased felony degree for crimes committed against those 65 years of age and older. What does this mean? If someone commits a crime against someone 65 years of age and older, in many cases they could be charged with a more serious crime. This link provides more discussion. Another more direct link to discussing how the degree of the crimes changes is this link to Florida Statute 784.08. You will also find that theft against an elderly person has increased penalties, as discussed here.

Also, another important thing to keep in mind: It doesn’t always matter if you knew the person was considered elderly or not in the eyes of the law, if it turns out they are. Your defense that they didn’t look that old isn’t going to help you if you had any reason to believe they might be, and sometimes it doesn’t matter if you thought that or not. For instance, theft against an elderly person comes with increased penalties no matter what…but even more increased penalties if you had reason to believe the victim was considered elderly in the eyes of the law.

Of course, those senior discounts at stores and the buffet aren’t going to follow Florida’s guidelines about who is elderly. Those circumstances are usually left up to the discretion of the person giving the discount.—so don’t try to cite Florida Statutes as your proof you should get a discount somewhere!

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, family law, real estate, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

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