Wednesday, August 17

Simple Steps You Can Use to Prove Elder Abuse and Neglect of Your Aging Loved One

Do you suspect that your elderly loved one may be neglected or abused? You need to take action fast. Unfortunately, proving it can be difficult. Elder abuse can be sexual, physical, emotional, or financial. Unfortunately, over half a million cases of elder abuse are reported in the United States every year. Millions more go unreported. 

As adults get older, they become physically frail. They may be unable to take care of themselves. This makes them more susceptible to bullying and abuse. Their reduced cognitive abilities make it difficult for them to be in full awareness of the environment.

Elder neglect and abuse mostly happen where they live. It may be caused by their children, caregivers, spouses, and other family members. It may even happen in the institutions where they live. Here are a few tips to identify and prove it.

1.Look Out for Warning Signs

Stay keen and look out for signs of abuse. Your loved one may not be able to tell you that they are facing difficulties, especially if they have dementia or other mental health issues. In fact, many signs of abuse and neglect are similar to the signs of mental deterioration.

One of the most obvious signs is a change in personality and behavior. If your loved one suddenly seems withdrawn, irritable, or combative, it may be a sign of abuse.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Broken frames or eyeglasses
  •  Unexplained scars, bruises, and injuries
  • Rope marks on their wrists or other signs of being restrained
  •  Reports of drug overdose
  • Dislocations, broken bones, and sprains
  • Bedsores

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Stained or torn underwear
  • Bruises around the genitals or breasts
  • Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Behaviors that mimic dementia, which includes mumbling, rocking, and sucking
  • Controlling, threatening, or controlling behavior by the caregiver
  • Social withdrawal and depression
  • Bad and unexpected reaction to physical contact
  • Unwillingness or inability to speak and self-doubt

Signs of Financial Exploitation

  • Added names to your loved one’s signature card
  • Major withdrawals to their accounts
  • Missing cash or items
  • A sudden change in their financial situation
  • Unexplained changes to your loved one’s titles, policies, wills, and power of attorney

Signs of Neglect

  • Untreated physical issues
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Dehydration
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
  • Wearing unsuitable clothes for the weather.

2. Get Legal Help

Consider bringing in a lawyer if you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected. According to Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, a good lawyer will help you gather evidence for your case. They can help you prove it in court. There are many forms of elder abuse and your lawyer will help you understand them. They will work with you to pursue compensation for any harm inflicted. You shouldn’t allow anyone to rob your loved one of their dignity or hard-earned money.

3. Ask Them

If possible, ask your loved ones if they are comfortable and well cared for. Ask what they think about their living conditions and caretakers. You may be surprised at what they tell you. The signs of abuse and neglect are not always apparent. You may not find out anything is wrong if you never ask.

4. Confront the Caretakers

Most abuse of the elderly is by caretakers. If you suspect that your loved one may be facing neglect or abuse, one of the simplest ways to prove it is by asking questions. According to the American Psychological Association, the most common perpetrators of abuse are adult children and spouses. Even though nursing homes have strict regulations, some caregivers may still abuse or neglect your elderly loved one. Instead of making direct accusations, confront your suspects and speak about your concerns calmly. They are likely to tell you the truth if they think you already know.

5.  Nanny Cams

Nanny cams are not just for protecting your kids. You can use them to monitor the caretakers of your elderly loved one. Hide your cam in plain sight to avoid suspicion. At the end of the day, you will have proof of everything that goes on when you aren’t around. It is legal and wise to record everything that happens within your home.

Nanny cams are especially important when your loved one is very old or incapable of talking to you about their concerns.

In conclusion, elder abuse may present all sorts of issues for your loved one. It causes poor cognitive function, increased physical dependency, and decline in economic status. Most seniors are prone to accidents and falls. Because of medication and diseases that come with old age, they may have changing behaviors. Without proper care, they may get worse. If you notice any signs of abuse or neglect, record them and report to the authorities as soon as you can.

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