Did you know that June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month? Sadly, it is estimated that as many as 5 million senior citizens are abused every year, with many cases going unreported. Our seniors are one of our greatest assets, deserving of our deepest respect. They should live their golden years in dignity, safety, and comfort. As a result, we here at Slappey & Sadd would like to take this opportunity to call your attention to this very serious issue and help you identify elder abuse so that it can be stopped.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse includes any kind of harm to a senior intentionally caused by someone else. Elder abuse is not limited to physical violence and is often caused by neglect or wanton disregard for the senior’s well-being. The following are some common examples of elder abuse:
- Physical abuse: inflicting physical pain or injury, such as hitting or kicking someone.
- Psychological or emotional abuse: threatening, intimidating, degrading, terrorizing or harassing someone.
- Financial abuse: outright theft or misappropriation of funds; gaining access to someone’s finances or otherwise taking financial advantage of them.
- Neglect: intentionally withholding basic necessities such as food, water, or medicine; this can also include refusal to provide assistance or providing very little care.
- Confinement or restraint: confining someone to a single room, or severely limiting their freedom of movement.
Who Are the Abusers?
Elder abuse can take place anywhere – a nursing home or assisted living facility, an adult day care center, or in a private residence. Tragically, it appears that most cases of elder abuse occur in a non-institutional setting such as the senior’s home or the home of a family member. As a result, far too many cases of elder abuse occur at the hands of a family member.
Abusers may be lashing out for any number of reasons. They may be taking financial advantage of this person because they have a drug problem. The abuse may be the result of problems in the relationship that developed over several years or even decades. Sometimes, the abuse may be because the caregiver is simply overwhelmed with the emotional, physical, and financial obligations of taking care of this person.
It’s an extremely difficult situation when the abuser is a family member. Whatever the reason for the abuse, what they are doing is wrong and it needs to be stopped.
What Are the Signs?
There are many signs of elder abuse, but basically, you want to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. Be alert for these signs in your elderly loved ones:
- Strange financial transactions or arrangements;
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior;
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Tension or fear towards the senior’s caregiver;
- They are dirty or unkempt;
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, abrasions, or other signs of physical trauma
Financial abuse is very common. Pay particular attention if your senior seems completely uninvolved in his or her finances and someone else has undue influence or complete control.
Speak with an Atlanta Elder Abuse Attorney Today
Elder abuse is an extremely difficult topic for many people to think about, but our seniors need our protection. If you think someone you know and love is the victim of elder abuse, you should talk to a lawyer who can give you sound advice. Slappey & Sadd can help you through this challenging situation. Call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.