Elder abuse specifically is defined as someone who is 65 years of age or older being deprived of services that should be in place, or having a caregiver or medical professionals treat them in a way that is cruel or otherwise physically, emotionally, or financially detrimental to him or her.
The elderly tend to be physically frail compared to the rest of the population. For this reason, these individuals can have a harder time when it comes to standing up for themselves physically and otherwise. Some elders also may exhibit hearing and sight loss issues, leading to further difficulties with understanding what is going on around them. If an elder also has mental health impairments, this can make him or her quite vulnerable.
Many senior citizens live on their own or in assisted-living communities. Their home-health aides or staff in the assisted-living facilities are not always as they seem to be. Some of the workers are abusive towards the people who they are meant to be taking care of, and it can be in such subtle ways that the victim may not realize what is going on for some time, even until it is too late and they have been seriously harmed. Also, family or friends who are in charge of care for the senior may purposely or inadvertently cause harm to the individual.
A high number of seniors in this world have been or are being abused. In fact, there are over half a million reports of elder abuse in the United States each year. It is believed that there are millions of cases that are not reported, making it an extremely serious issue to be addressed from a legal standpoint.
How the Law Handles Elder Abuse
The law is incredibly strict in terms of elder abuse. First of all, it is important that anything directly or even indirectly related to the abuse is documented carefully. If your loved one had experienced instances of some type of abuse, then you should calmly talk to them to find out the details and prepare to contact the local authorities.
The lawyers at the Gharibian law firm work with this area of law and can assist you to determine if you have a solid case. Once that is covered, the legal team will go over the information provided after a preliminary interview, and do everything in their power to construct a case that will be successful. A professional attorney and the staff should help you with every step of the process, as this can be a complicated matter and you want to be sure that you win.
You can rest assured that the elder abuse attorneys and team members at Gharibian Law know and are sympathetic to the unique circumstances regarding cases brought forward by the elderly. We do our best to keep our clients calm and comfortable, and take the time to get the facts of the case put together. We work closely with medical and financial professionals to investigate all of the details with care. Our experienced legal staff will remain dedicated to the client all throughout the proceedings.
Different Types of Elder Abuse
Not every instance of elder abuse is the same. This can make it complicated at times to prove that there has been some sort of wrong doing.
The following are just some of the types of abuse cases that are handled by the lawyers at Gharibian Law.
Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, is when someone causes emotional distress or pain in how they speak to an elderly individual. This can be either in nonverbal or verbal form.
Nonverbal Elder Abuse
- Terrorizing or menacing
- Ignoring the person
- Isolating from activities they enjoy and their friends
Verbal Elder Abuse
- Ridicule and humiliating tactics
- Scapegoating and frequent blaming
- Threats and yelling that result in intimidation
It is crucial to note that this does not include any accidents that occur. It is deliberate use of force against an elder that causes the person injury, impairment or physical pain. This abuse may include hitting, shoving and other means of striking, as well as keeping the person restrained or confined in some manner. Anything that impairs the individual or keeps them from doing what they wish is considered to be physical elder abuse.
Elder neglect is the most common type of elder abuse at this time with over half of reported cases falling under this category. It is defined as the failure to fulfill one’s caretaking obligation. Though in some cases it can be unintentional, such as the caretaker denying how much care their charge requires, there are significant consequences when it comes to these matters. Family members, friends, and professional aides all may face legal trouble for abandoning or neglecting an elder who they should be caring for.
Healthcare abuse is when unethical healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, staff in the hospital and various providers commit acts that are fraudulent or improper. This comes in several forms, including the following:
- Medicaid fraud
- Under- or over-medicating
- Double-billing or overcharging for services or care that is rendered
- Charging for healthcare that is not provided at all
- Receiving of kickbacks for prescribing specific drugs or giving referrals to certain providers
- Providing recommendations of fraudulent remedies for conditions or illnesses
This is a fairly common issue in recent years, and one that costs Americans millions of dollars each year.
This is defined as the unauthorized retrieval and use of an elder’s property or funds. It can either be a caregiver or someone who is a scam artist not connected to the individual in any way.
Forms of financial abuse exhibited by caregivers
- Forging of the individual’s signature
- Stealing of goods, cash, or income checks
- Engaging in identity theft
- Misuse of the person’s credit cards, accounts or personal checks
Common rackets targeting the elderly include
- Charities that are fake
- Investment fraud
- Telling seniors that they have won a prize that requires them to pay money before it can be claimed
Recognizing When Someone You Love Is Experiencing Elder Abuse
Sometimes, the elder may be confused or not feel safe talking about what is going on. In this instance, it is best to watch out for certain signs and investigate further if you notice anything that is suspicious.
One of the best ways is to stop by when your loved one is with his or her caregiver, or to the hospital or assisted-living facility at random times. In particular, you will want to see if there is a great deal of tension and arguments between the person and caregiver. Also, when you are alone with him or her, see if there are any significant changes to his or her personality. A clear indication that there is something negative going on is if your loved one has any bruises, scratches or any other physical symptoms of elder abuse.
Where to Turn Next
If your suspicions are met with clear evidence of harm, then you should contact a law firm such as Gharibian Law. You need all the help you can get to recover financial compensation and make the guilty party legally responsible for their crimes. Reach out to our legal team right away so that we have time to take action on your case and have the best chance possible of a successful resolution.