Isolation Primary Risk Factor For Elder Abuse
Perpetrators Exploit Isolated Elderly
How You Can Help Isolated Seniors
The persistence of unintended consequences from the best of intentions has a sad impact on seniors in this pandemic. The very same safety measures put in place to isolate and protect vulnerable seniors from the coronavirus have placed them at greater risk of physical and financial elder abuse and neglect. Isolation also has taken a grave toll on senior emotions and can lead to or exacerbate cognitive decline. In short, COVID-19 has particularly devastated our elder population. If you suspect any type of elder abuse, including financial abuse, of an older loved one in these difficult times, do something about it. While notifying the authorities is important, help from elder law counsel may be more successful in getting stolen property back, illegal contracts undone and justice for injured seniors. The elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent injured seniors and their families here in Napa County and throughout California. If you need help, call us today at (415)441-8669.
Isolation Is A Breeding Ground For Elder Abuse
The top three risk factors for elder abuse victims are social isolation, proximity to abuser (e.g., in-home caregiver or household member facing substance or financial problems) or mild cognitive impairment. Of these, isolation is almost universal to elder abuse cases. Our litigators consistently see cases where an isolated man or woman, often recently widowed or suffering from a trauma such as a stroke, fall victim to a caregiver paid to protect and care for them. Sadly, greedy caregivers can quickly turn their employment from one of care and support to exploitation and theft. Typically, small amounts of money or unauthorized charge card purchases are their first thefts. Then, if the individual sees they are getting away with their theft, the amounts increase and forged checks, online manipulation of accounts and identity theft follow. At the same time, they may ingratiate themselves to an increasingly failing or impaired senior and get Powers of Attorney, Wills, and Trusts all changed for their benefit. Our litigators have seen several cases where the caregiver tried to get the senior’s home deeded over to them.
Prevention and Recourse
The past step towards prevention of abuse is active involvement in a senior’s life to fend off would-be abusers. But physical contact has become dangerous during the pandemic. Families and friends can use technology (think Facetime and Zoom) to stay in touch and monitor bank accounts online. Curbside check-ins may be possible. We know of one set of grandparents who visit their grandchildren through a glass sliding door! Social and religious organizations, churches and synagogues have set up phone chains to check in on seniors. Some communities have placed notes in grocery bags, coordinated with local grocery services, or provided by Meals-on-Wheels or social service. If your older loved one has in-home assistance, always vet the individual (and their agency) before they ever come inside. Call frequently and speak with your older loved one alone; tell them to take your call privately and out of earshot of the caregiver. The senior may be intimidated to speak candidly in front of someone they fear. Never ever let a senior give a caregiver a Power of Attorney.
If you suspect any kind of abuse of a senior loved one here in Napa or elsewhere in California call Ingrid M. Evans and our other elder abuse attorneys today. We will pursue all remedies available to you or your injured senior loved one including getting stolen money back, undoing any trusts or contracts the abuser may have fraudulently created, and an award of the attorneys’ fees and expenses you’ve incurred in bringing your case. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.