Elderly May Be Victims Of Various Forms Of Abuse
How You May Be Able To Spot Neglect And Abuse
Protections And Remedies For Victims
The National Council on Aging says up to five million older Americans are abused yearly, and the annual loss by victims of financial elder abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion. (That number could in reality be much higher as much financial elder abuse, like elder abuse generally, goes unreported.) Elder abuse includes not only intentional physical or financial abuse but also neglect or abandonment of a senior. Often neglect goes hand in hand with financial abuse when a dishonest caregiver, for example, is more interested in taking a senior’s money than caring for him or her, or medical and care bills go unpaid because there are insufficient funds after a dishonest caregiver has stolen much of a senior’s monthly income. Parties responsible for any form of abuse and neglect, and those who assist them, may be liable for their actions under California Law. See Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.07 (definition of abuse), 15610.30 (definition of financial abuse including assistance with financial abuse), 15610.57 (definition of neglect), and 15610.63 (definition of physical abuse). If you or an older loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or anywhere in California, call us at (415)441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
It is important for families and loved ones of older persons, especially those under the care of others, to know some of the signs of abuse and neglect:
Signs of neglect
- Lack of basic hygiene, adequate food, or clean and appropriate clothing.
- Missing medical aids or skipped doctor’s appointments.
- The person is often unsupervised.
- The person is confined to a bed without regular care.
- The home is overly cluttered, in disrepair, or fire and safety hazards are present.
- A home without adequate facilities (stove, refrigerator, heating, cooling, plumbing, and electric).
- An untreated pressure wound/ulcer (bed sores).
Signs of financial abuse or exploitation
- Old bank accounts closed and new accounts opened at banks who do not know the senior.
- Lack of amenities the person could typically afford.
- Giving excessive financial reimbursement or gifts for care and companionship.
- The caregiver controls the person’s money but fails to provide for their needs.
- The caregiver is overly concerned about the person spending money.
- Unexpected or unexplainable property transfers such as a power of attorney or a new will.
Signs of psychological and emotional abuse
- Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior. A drastic change in demeanor or a withdrawal from normal activities is a red flag that abuse may be present.
- Unexplained weight loss or appetite changes.
- The caregiver isolates the person from others.
- The caregiver is verbally aggressive, intimidating, uncaring, or demeaning
Signs of physical abuse
- Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores, or burns. Frequent and unexplained injuries are concerning, especially if the individual under care cannot recall daily events easily.
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases. STDs and STIs in older adults under professional care could be a sign of sexual abuse and warrant an investigation to find the root cause.
Protecting Older Loved Ones From Abuse And Neglect
Families and friends of elders and dependent adults residing in any kind of facility or under the care of in-home caregivers need to visit and speak with them as often as possible to make sure they are not at risk of abuse or neglect by their caregivers. If you see any bruises, scratch marks or other indications of physical abuse, alert the administrator of the facility and call counsel. To protect your loved one from financial exploitation, be sure to monitor their bank accounts frequently. Keep cash, checks, ATM cards and cre4dit cards out of reach of caregivers. Never, ever, grant a caregiver a power of attorney or give them a blank check. Ever. Make sure a caregiver does not have access to a loved one’s Social Security number or financial account information. If you suspect something is wrong do something about it right away. Call qualified elder law counsel who can pursue all persons responsible for any sort of abuse, and those who hired and supervise the abusers, including administrators and owners.
Ingrid M. Evans can represent you or an older loved one who has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California. If you need help, call us today at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.