The Risks of Abuse and Neglect of Elderly Growing
Spotting and Guarding Against Elder Abuse
Each year, over half a million cases of elder abuse are reported nationally and it is expected that millions more go unreported. Often, a senior is unable to report such abuse, and others are fearful to do so. If you do suspect elder abuse, alert the authorities and reach out to elder abuse counsel. The elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. can represent victims suffering from any form of elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, call our elder abuse attorneys today at 415-441-8669, and we can help. We want to share with you some ways to spot and guard against elder abuse. While there is never a complete defense against elder abuse, there are definitely some signs to watch for and some steps you can take to help prevent a senior loved one from elder abuse.
Elder abuse can take various forms: physical, emotional, sexual, financial and neglect. It can take place in an elderly person’s own home or in long-term living facilities or short-term rehabilitation facilities. When we represent an injured senior, we hold all responsible parties accountable. You can help fight elder abuse by educating yourself on the subject and watching out for signs of elder abuse, discussed below. Report suspicions of any abuse to the authorities, but seek counsel in order to pursue all available remedies against those responsible for any abuse. Our lawyers will pursue all remedies available to you. California law provides for extra damages and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs for seniors in bringing certain elder abuse claims. Calif. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15657 and 15657.5.
Watch for signs of possible physical abuse or neglect:
- Bedsores/pressure ulcers or other poor skin conditions;
- Bruises and scratch marks;
- Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness;
- Frequent infections;
- Injuries from wandering off unsupervised (known as elopement);
- Indication of sexual assault, rape, or battery;
- Lack of equipment and supplies;
- Rapid weight loss;
- Abnormal or withdrawn behavior and unusual silence;
- Prolonged sleep or drowsiness;
- Agitation especially when certain caregivers are present or caregivers who do not want the patient to be alone with others;
- Reluctance to speak when staff is nearby;
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions, soiled bed linens and clothes;
- Fear of being touched.
Watch for signs of financial elder abuse too:
- Unexpected changes in wills, trusts or powers of attorney.
- Sale to the senior of an inappropriate annuity or life insurance policy.
- Changes in spending habits and cash withdrawals or different types of spending than the senior normally incurs.
- Sudden or unexplained check cashing, transfers of money or ATM withdrawals or credit card activity.
- Opening of a new bank or brokerage account (or multiple accounts) or changing banks and brokerage firms.
- Unpaid bills.
- Unusual increase in investment activity or change in investment style.
- A senior who is overly reluctant to discuss financial matters perhaps out of fear from retaliation from a caregiver or other abuser.
- Allowing a new friend or trusted acquaintance to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf
- Someone screening the elder’s phone calls or going through their mail
Preventing Elder Abuse
Take steps to prevent elder abuse from occurring in the first place. Keep an eye on a loved one’s financial transactions and any caregiver assigned to the home. Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver. Keep valuables and bank information and checkbooks in a secure place. Drop by unexpectedly and always make sure you speak with your senior loved one alone. Don’t let caregivers or others lurk about when you are with a senior as he or she may be reluctant to let you know what’s really going on when others are around. Accompany them when they go to the bank or have any business meeting such as with an insurance agent or advisor. Seniors are easy prey when they’re alone.
Act quickly if you suspect any kind of elder abuse or neglect. Alert the authorities and reach out to elder abuse counsel. If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.