Be An Advocate For Older Loved Ones And Neighbors
Act On Any Suspicions Of Abuse
How Counsel Can Help
The pandemic has greatly increased reported incidents of financial elder or dependent adult abuse here in San Francisco and throughout California. Forced isolation as a result of the coronavirus has increased senior vulnerability to abuse from all directions. Seniors need community and family support now more than ever before. As we emerge from the pandemic herein San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area, fully vaccinated families and neighbors can begin to reconnect (following continued safety guidelines) and finally start to check in one-on-one with older persons we have been unable to see face to face for so long. Zooms and Facetime sessions have been life savers but nothing beats the real connection of a personal visit. As you reconnect with older loved ones and neighbors, keep in mind the dangers they’ve faced and continue to face of abuse from those who would exploit their vulnerability, particularly when it comes to money and financial matters. Evans Law Firm. Inc. represent victims of financial abuse from caregivers or other persons, and pursue all persons responsible. Call us today at (415)441-8669 if any senior loved one has suffered any kind of financial elder or dependent adult abuse here in San Francisco, anywhere in the Bay Area, or elsewhere in California.
Types Of Elder Abuse
There are several forms of elder abuse to be aware of:
Physical abuse is when there is injury to the older adult, including cuts, bruises, unexplained injuries, physical restraints, sexual abuse or deprivation of food and water. You may notice the older adult appearing frightened, withdrawn, confused or afraid to speak freely. Physical abuse may even include rape and other sexual assault; dementia patients in nursing homes are most at risk for sexual abuse. Dementia patients are particularly vulnerable since they may not be able to remember what has happened to them or be able to communicate about what they have suffered – or even comprehend it.
Psychological abuse may occur when the older adult is being isolated from others. The person may be prevented from speaking to family or friends, unable to view their own mail or unable to have any contact with concerned people in their life.
Financial abuse may occur when money is stolen or property is taken. Sadly, unscrupulous in-home caregivers steal from the senior they are employed to care for. The crime can range from outright theft of cash, identity or credit cards to more subtle abuse like forcing the senior to make gifts or convincing them to change their estate planning documents. Other forms of financial elder abuse include sales to older persons of unsuitable annuities and other insurance products or inappropriate, high-risk investments promising big returns. Also, financial abuse is a result of scams including romance scams and computer scams. Scams like this can be directly reported to the National Fraud Hotline to report these scams which is 1-833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).
Neglect is a form of abuse that can be perpetrated by a caregiver who is meant to be providing care but is not, causing an unsafe situation, or neglect of a senior in a nursing home. Nursing homes throughout San Francisco and the State of California are increasingly for-profit ventures which sometimes results in understaffing to improve profits. If aides and nurses are overburdened with the number of patients they must care for, some patient needs, like turning and bathing, may be overlooked or not carried out as frequently as warranted. Bed sores/pressure wounds and infections can result from this type of neglect.
Abandonment/Elopement can occur if older patients are abandoned (as has happened in some natural disaster cases like the North Bay fires of a few years ago) or if dementia patients wander away from facilities. This wandering away, also known as elopement, is a common behavior of dementia patients and can be fatal if they wander out into traffic or suffer hypothermia or dehydration if left to wander outside for too long.
What You Can Do If You Suspect Abuse
The best way to detect abuse is to speak directly with an older person and find out what is going on in the life. If you detect any hesitation to speak or notice any bruises or other indications of physical abuse, alert the authorities and contact elder abuse counsel for help. Financial elder abuse is best prevented by family involvement in an isolated senior’s life. Monitor the senior’s credit cards online or close the cards altogether if they are not necessary; unauthorized use of credit cards is a very common form of financial elder abuse. Monitor all of a senior’s retirement, investment and bank accounts online. You also may want to redirect mail to your own address so any caregivers or other strangers in a senior’s home do not have access to mail. Also, make sure that financial information like account numbers and Social Security numbers are kept away from a caregiver’s glance. Never, ever grant a power of attorney to a caregiver. Perhaps most important of all, if you suspect anything wrong, do something about it right away. Call elder abuse counsel who can pursue all remedies available under California law for the older victim, including an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing their case in certain circumstances.
Ingrid M. Evans represents elder and dependent adults here in San Francisco and throughout California who are victims of any kind of financial exploitation or other abuse. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or email us at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.