With many Americans living longer than ever, nursing homes or living with adult children is becoming a common occurrence for many older Americans. Unfortunately, with healthcare costs skyrocketing and the declining health of elderly adults, many have become the victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse can manifest in many ways, including mental, physical, financial, and emotional abuse.
Physical abuse is generally defined as any non-accident use of force against someone that results in physical pain or impairment. Physical abuse is much more than unwanted physical touching but can also encompass improperly administering drugs and the improper use of equipment (i.e., wheelchairs and restraints). Physical abuse can also manifest in the form of neglect, where caretakers fail to adequately care for the individual. Symptoms of neglect might include weight loss, sores on the body, and improper clothing.
This type of behavior can include yelling, making threats, and any type of behavior that seeks to intimidate or cause emotional distress. The failure to act may also constitute emotional abuse if an elderly person is ignored or isolated from others for long periods of time. Take note if there is a change in behavior from the person you suspect is being abused.
Financial fraud against the elderly is becoming a greater problem especially in our technologically advanced world. Identity theft is especially popular. Another aspect of financial fraud is the improper spending by caretakers, usually relatives with the authority to use expenses related to care. There may also be financial firms who fraudulently invest the money of their elderly clients, churning their accounts and incurring high fees for themselves.
Because many caregivers are relatives or low-paid workers, they may experience a lot of stress and burnout in their lives having to deal with overseeing the lives and affairs of others. Signs to watch out for include the inability to cope with stress, depression, substance abuse, and a lack of support for the caregiver.
If you suspect abuse the best thing to do is to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Provide any evidence available, such as first-hand accounts, names of witnesses, medical records, photographs, and documentation. With many instances of abuse, the primary legal theory will be based on negligence, where the caretaker fell below a reasonable standard of care. This standard will vary based on the circumstances and the facts surrounding the case and an attorney will be able to use the appropriate standard.
If you or a loved one suspects abuse of an elderly person, David K. Kremin & Associates has handled many of these cases. This firm and its affiliated law firms have secured millions of dollars for its clients and in some instances have received the highest awards ever for its clients at certain times and in certain jurisdictions. Accordingly, please contact our lawyers who have 20-30 years of experience in this area of the law. Feel free to call us 24/7 for a free consultation at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529. This article is for information only and is not legal advice.