As our population ages, and as more people live longer, elder abuse has become a true problem. It is estimated to that for every case of elder abuse and neglect which is reported to the authorities, there may be as many as five cases or more which remain unreported and therefore not part of the statistics. Research has shown that those who are abused not only suffer greatly, but also tend to die earlier than those who are not abused, even in cases where no serious conditions are factor. Abuse simply creates a terrible emotional and physical burden that can lead to illness and death. Of course, abuse can also lead to life-threatening conditions and injuries, including brain injuries, broken limbs, burn injuries, and other trauma.
Many people mistakenly believe that elder abuse is mainly a problem in elder care facilities and nursing homes. This is not the case. Recent studies show that much elder abuse and neglect takes place in the home. In most cases, elderly persons know their abusers, who tend to be household members, family members, or paid caregivers in the home. Since the vast majority of the elderly live either on their own or in a home with family, elder abuse by family and in-home caregivers is in fact quite prevalent.
One problem with elder abuse that makes it so difficult to stop and prevent is the fact that elder abuse is not always as obvious and as clear-cut as people assume. In many cases, the abuse is subtle, and the elderly person may not even be aware that abuse is taking place. In fact, in many cases, even abusers themselves do not realize that abuse is taking place. As caregivers and family take care of an elderly person, stress levels may rise to extreme levels, especially if caregivers are responsible for other family members as well. Subtle forms of abuse may take place, and it may be difficult to distinguish between stress and abuse.
In some cases, elder abuse takes place because an elderly person moving in with an existing family, creating new stresses within the family. In other cases, elder abuse is part of a long-standing pattern of emotional or physical abuse or tensions within the family. As people get older and have increasing dependence or frailty and need others, the stress created by this increased need can push family relationships to the edge.
In some cases, elder abuse is perpetrated by another elderly person. Sometimes, an older adult or an older spouse will develop depression, dementia, or other problems and will become abusive as a result. This can be a very difficult problem, especially in cases where both elderly people — both the perpetrator and the victim — are part of the same family. Family members may want to deny the abuse or may be unwilling to deal with the abuse at the risk of having one person removed into a nursing home.
Elder abuse is always a difficult problem, and at Flaxman & Lopez, we understand how painful every situation of abuse can be. That’s why we provide free, no obligation consultations. Our sensitive team can help you understand what decisions you can make that will have the best results for your particular situation. Call 1- 800-535-2962 (1 800 5 FLAXMAN) to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.