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When individuals enter their later years, they become increasing vulnerable to a number of problems. They may have physical disabilities that prevent them from caring for themselves. They may have medical problems that require constant attendance. They may no longer be able to manage their own financial affairs. These problems can lead to unscrupulous people taking advantage of them, which may sometimes be their own family members. Elder abuse is a growing problem that can lead to a need for an attorney to protect the elder’s physical and emotional well-being, as well as their material interests.
How Is Elder Abuse Defined?
Elder abuse can be defined as any intention act, or failure to act, that creates a risk of harm to an older adult who has an expectation of trust and care from the individual. Incidents of abuse can fall into several categories:
· Physical abuse that cause pain, distress or physical impairment
· Sexual abuse that causes forced or unwanted sexual interaction
· Psychological or emotional abuse that inflicts fear, distress or mental pain, such as name-calling or threats
· Neglect that fails to provide adequate physical care or fails to protects the elder from harm
· Financial exploitation or abuse that involves unauthorized or improper use of financial assets by someone who has been put in a position of trust regarding these assets
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
Because an elder is likely to suffer in silence, afraid to upset their current situation of care, it is up to family members or friends to be alert to signs that the elder is not receiving appropriate treatment:
· Unusual bruised, unexplained broken bones, abrasions, burns or pressure marks
· Bruising on breasts or genitals from sexual abuse
· Unattended medical needs, neglect of grooming, weight loss, bed sores or poor hygiene
· Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities and interests, increased depression
· Sudden financial problems
· Signs of tension or strain between the caregiver and the elder.
· Incidents of belittling, threats or other types of controlling behavior
Problems In Prosecuting Elder Abuse
One of the problems of prosecuting individuals who have harmed the elderly is the inconsistency in the definitions of the abuse. In addition, monitoring of the situation over a period of time is often the only way to determine if an elder has been subjected to abuse of some kind, and this can be difficult when cases are not referred to eldercare health agencies. In many cases, the abuser is a family member, and others may be reluctant to report the problem to appropriate agencies or law enforcement. However, reporting suspected abuse is critical to ensuring that seniors receive the proper care and respect they deserve.
How An Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
An elder abuse attorney can provide the legal advice and assistance needed to prosecute cases of physical or sexual abuse, so that the elder receives appropriate justice and compensation. In addition, an attorney can help to recover financial assets that have been taken unlawfully by abusive parties.
Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help family and friends ensure that their loved one is receiving proper care on a continuing basis. An elder abuse attorney can help to bring abusive individuals to justice and restore the financial assets of those who have been abused.