With more aging adults living with the help of caregivers, it has become increasingly important to inform the public about elder abuse. To eradicate elder abuse, it is vital to understand the forms it can take, its common signs and symptoms, and how to report suspected elder abuse to the proper state authorities.
Elder abuse is the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment that results in physical or mental harm to a senior adult. This includes physical and mental neglect and financial exploitation.
Seniors who rely upon their abusers for care may be reluctant to report abuse for fear of retaliation or a loss of their caregiver. Others may lack the physical or cognitive abilities to report abuse.
Knowing the signs of elder abuse can aid a third party or relative speak out on behalf of a senior.
There are several signs of elder abuse to watch for, including, but not limited to, the following:
• Injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns, or broken bones
• Loud fights between the caregiver and senior
• The senior seems timid or afraid around a caregiver
• Poor hygiene, rapid weight loss, and other untreated medical issues
• Changes in behavior such as withdrawal, a change in cognitive abilities or alertness, or depression.
It is imperative to write down or document any signs of elder abuse to include in a report to the authorities. This can include witness statements, photos, descriptions, dates, and times of incidents.
Ask the senior if they need help or would like to speak with someone about their situation. The senior may deny any abuse; however, this is common if the abuser is a family member. Even if the senior denies any abuse, you should report suspected abuse to the authorities for investigation.
If a senior’s family is unaware of the abuse, reach out to them for help resolving any issues. They may remove the caregiver from the senior’s home or move forward quickly to change the senior’s environment in another way.
Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. APS is not law enforcement but works with law enforcement to identify vulnerable adults.
• Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.;
• Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
• The APS online reporting form is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
APS does not investigate issues with unlicensed facilities. These need to be submitted to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
When using online reporting, answer all the questions completely and include an email address and phone number in case the CIU needs more information.
An Experienced Phoenix Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
If you suspect a caregiver or institution is abusing your loved one, take immediate action to stop the abuse. If you are unsure who to contact in your area or want to discuss legal action on your loved one’s behalf, call the professionals at Knapp & Roberts for a free, confidential consultation today.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.