Old age is a time when the body is particularly fragile. Many elderly need someone to take care of them during this difficult period of their lives. Whether cooking a fresh meal, administering medicament, or companionship, they need someone they can trust but unfortunately this is not always the case. It’s important to learn about the warning signs of elder abuse as some elderly may be too scared to speak up. Contact a Ventura County elder abuse attorney to investigate your circumstances.
Define elder abuse
It’s when someone of advanced age is abused by someone responsible for his or her care. Unfortunately, there are over half a million reports of elder abuse every year but many cases go unreported. As the elderly become physically frail, caregivers try to take advantage of the whole situation. Whether financially, physically, or emotionally.
Elder abuse generally occurs in homes or anywhere else the elderly reside. Whether at a long-term care facility or residence, the abuse will take different forms including:
- Physical – This is when the person responsible for the elderly threatens and neglects the older person causing physical injuries, pain and impairment. Administering drugs inappropriately and restrains is also included in this category.
- Emotional – This is psychological abuse where the older person is treated in a way that causes emotional pain. Whether through ignoring the elderly person, humiliating him or her, menacing, isolating and terrorizing, this abusive behavior should be reported.
- Sexual abuse – This type of abuse is also common. An older person, even when frail, has a right to his or her body and nobody should touch them in an unwelcome manner.
- Neglect – This is one of the most common categories of elder abuse. Caregivers simply fail to fulfill their obligations.
- Financial abuse – Some older people have many assets and property they have accumulated through the years. It belongs to them and nobody should touch their estate unless legally authorized. Caregivers sometimes misuse the elderly’s credit cards, accounts, and so on. They also like to steal cash and forge signatures. Charities, investment fraud are very common types of financial elder abuse.
- Healthcare fraud – This is also another common type of elder abuse where nurses and doctors join forces to withhold healthcare from the elderly patient, overmedicating or undeemecating, suggest procedures that are not needed or required.
The signs of elder abuse are not always that evident since they are similar to symptoms for other conditions. Caregivers will find many excuses for their inappropriate behavior. They generally blame it on either the elder’s mental stability or frailty. Some signs that may suggest elder abuse occurred include:
- When the caregiver and the elderly person are always arguing.
- Unstable behavior or personality change.
- Unexplained injuries and bruises.
- Drug overdose or not administering medicine regularly.
- The caregiver showing a controlling or threatening behavior.
- Poor hygiene.
- Deserting the elderly person
- Bills going unpaid and lack of medical attention.
- Requesting unnecessary services or medical treatment.
- The care facility is poorly kept, having unlicensed staff, etc.
Unfortunately, the caregiver is the most common source of elder abuse. It’s important you hire a Ventura County elder abuse attorney to find out if you have a case and gather the required evidentiary support to prove the abusive behavior. Call us today and schedule your initial consultation.