4 Things You Should Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
When older adults can no longer care for themselves, they are often provided the care they need by another individual. This might include help with personal care, running errands, doing routine housework, managing money, and other things the senior might need help with.
If an elderly individual is aging in place at home, they could be surrounded by family members, nurses, and home health aides. A senior living in a nursing home might be surrounded by doctors, nurses, and employees. With so many people around, knowing how to determine elder abuse and what to do about it is important.
If you suspect elder abuse, here are four things you can do:
1. Identify the Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can manifest in many ways, but there are some common signs to look out for. If a senior citizen is experiencing abuse, they may have bruises, cuts, burns, or broken bones. They may also be the subject of loud arguments between their caregiver and another person. The senior may seem timid or afraid around their abuser, and their hygiene may suffer.
They may also experience rapid weight loss or have other neglected medical issues. Finally, their behavior may change, becoming withdrawn or depressed, or showing changes in cognition or alertness. If you see any of these signs, it’s important to report the abuse so the senior can get help.
If you suspect a senior citizen is being abused, it is important to document any evidence of this abuse. This documentation can be written records, photographs of injuries, or statements from the senior citizen or witnesses. This documentation will be helpful when reporting the abuse to the authorities.
2. Talk to the Senior
Conversing with a senior citizen you believe is experiencing abuse is important. The elderly individual might feel embarrassed or afraid, but offering support is crucial. The senior might be hoping to find someone to talk to about the abuse they’re facing.
If you think an older adult is being abused, even if they deny it, you should report it. Abuse can be hard to spot, but some common signs include bruises, cuts, or marks on the skin, changes in mood or behavior, and sudden changes in finances. If you’re unsure whether you see abuse, you can always reach out to authorities to investigate.
3. Talk to the Senior’s Support System
If you are worried about a senior, reaching out to their family or other loved ones is important. Sometimes, these individuals may not be aware of the abuse taking place. By speaking up, you can help ensure that the seniors in your life get the help and support they need.
If you are facing abuse, talking to your family members could help you resolve the issue more quickly. Families often can intervene, for example, by firing the abuser if they are a hired caregiver and removing them from the environment. They can also report the incident to the police.
4. Make a Report
If you think someone is abusing an older person, it is not your responsibility to prove that abuse is happening. All you need to do is give a detailed report to the authorities explaining why you believe abuse is taking place.
Elder abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for the victim. If you suspect someone you know is being abused, it is important to take action. You can contact your local law enforcement or adult protective services agency. You can help prevent elder abuse and protect the victim by taking action.
Melanie Bossie, Mary Ellen Reilly and Donna Oh founded Bossie, Reilly, and Oh to continue their mission to hold nursing homes, hospitals, group homes and assisted living facilities accountable for the abuse and neglect of elders and vulnerable adults. Our firm has litigated hundreds of elder abuse and neglect cases and recovered many six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients.
We firmly believe that the elderly and most vulnerable in our community deserve a voice, and we take pride in advocating for them. If you need an elder abuse lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, get in touch with us today.