Seniors have a lifetime of experience, but it does not make them invulnerable to abuse. In fact, the elderly are often the targets of fraudsters and those who would harm them.
Seniors can be victims of:
- Neglect. Neglect means a caregiver or nursing home fails to give a senior the basics of life. This may mean not providing adequate food, grooming, medical care, clothing, or the right shelter or heating and cooling for the climate. Symptoms of neglect can include a dishevelled appearance, thirst or hunger, unexplained weight loss, and fear.
- Financial abuse. Financial abuse can involve fraud, but it can also mean pressuring an elderly person to give up money or assets. It can mean pressuring a senior to change their will or power of attorney to benefit a fraudster. Financial abuse can be hard to detect, but family and friends may notice a victim is suddenly worried about money or does not have enough for everyday needs.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse includes any sort of physical harm, such as hitting, punching, striking, or pinching. It can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities for seniors. Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained injuries, such as bruises or broken bones.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse happens with upsetting regularity against seniors. Symptoms can include STIs, personality changes, and a sudden fear of closeness.
- Emotional or verbal abuse. Emotional abuse involves putting someone down, shouting at them, intimidating them, or using demeaning language. It can lead to withdrawal, personality changes, severe upset, trauma, and depression.
How To Prevent Elder Abuse
If you have elderly family members or friends in your life, here’s how you can help.
- Talk about common scams. Stay aware of the common scams in your area that target seniors and talk about these scams so your elderly loved one is aware.
- Talk about safety. The Federal Trade Commission has a website listing ways to stay safer from fraud. You can also talk to an elderly family member or friend about safe passwords, about 2-factor authentication for their accounts, and about personal alarms to help stay safer.
- Keep communication open. Make sure your friend or family member knows they can talk to you about anything. Often talking about abuse is very hard and seniors can feel shame that they have been targeted, even though they have nothing to be ashamed about. Regularly remind friends and family that they can come to you if they need help and you will listen with no judgement.
- Visit regularly. Often, signs of abuse are subtle and you may only notice problems over time. Visiting regularly can help you notice any signs of problems, so you can address them when they begin.
- Report symptoms of abuse. If you notice signs of abuse, trust your instincts. Contact police, report the abuse to the nursing home, and follow up to make sure there is a thorough investigation.
If you are facing a situation where an elderly loved one is suffering abuse, you may also have the option of a civil claim. This helps you seek compensation so you can pay for medical care for your elderly loved one and possibly move them to a safe environment.
To find out more about whether you may have a claim, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online for a free case consultation. Our team has more than 60 years of combined experience, and we’d be happy to discuss your situation with you. We can have our consultation over the phone or you can come to our offices in Miami, Homestead, or Hollywood. We may also be able to travel to your home, office, or hospital room if you cannot come to our offices.