Strategies To Prevent And Recognize Elder Abuse
Barbara’s mom Irene has resided at a local assisted living facility for the past three years. While Barbara wanted to provide full-time caregiving to her mother, her advanced stage dementia required around the clock care that Barbara could not offer because of demands from her full-time job. Before Irene’s diagnosis, she became increasingly aggressive and easily confused. She would begin tasks but not finish them, and she got lost more than once on a walk to the local corner store. At that point, Barbar thought that for her own safety, Irene should reside at assisted living. Sadly, now Barbara regrets her decision because she suspects Irene is being neglected by the facility workers. What are some signs of elder abuse to be aware of?
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Some common signs of elder abuse and neglect include a change of demeanor in your loved one. They may seem withdrawn, forlorn, depressed, easily agitated, or excessively clingy. They may show signs of physical abuse such as bed sores, bruises, lacerations, scratch marks, or muscle wasting. They may be emaciated or severely dehydrated. Other more insidious signs of abuse include frequent illness in your loved one. Although the elderly are more susceptible to severe illness, if your loved one is suddenly sick all the time, it is possible they are not receiving their medications on time, in the right doses, or at all. Follow up with specialists to verify your loved one has not missed appointments and pay attention for signs of cognitive decline. Elder financial abuse is also on the rise. Unfortunately, some elder care workers try to induce their patients into giving up personal property, sharing sensitive account information or even adding a care worker into their will because of their vulnerable position.
Strategies to Prevent Elder Abuse
One strategy to prevent financial elder abuse is seeking guardianship over an elderly loved one’s financial affairs or drafting an irrevocable trust to protect your loved one’s physical and intangible assets from prying hands. Ensuring your loved one does not have ready access to a checkbook might seem unfair but is to ward off the possibility of financial abuse from a staff worker or another person seeking to take advantage of your loved one. Preventing physical and emotional abuse and neglect requires you to follow your gut and to ask the right questions. Your loved one might be put in a precarious position where a worker has threatened further harm if they confide in you. Don’t ignore signs of a change in emotional state, ask questions and make a change if necessary. Some people simply do not have your loved one’s best interests at hand, but you do, and you need to advocate for them, even if it means finding a new facility or looking into at-home caregiving arrangements.
Contact the Estate and Elder Law Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A.
Elder abuse is a serious matter. Vulnerable older adults look to us to provide critical care, handle finances and ensure basic needs are being met. We trust care facilities to provide the same level of care we would ourselves and to keep our elderly loved ones safe. If you believe your loved one is being physically, emotionally, or financially abused, or that your loved one is neglected, it is crucial you take action. Aside from removing your loved one from that facility, you may have a legal claim to pursue. Our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Bubley & Bubley can help you navigate the claim process. Call us today to schedule a comprehensive case evaluation.