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What Resources May be Used to Prevent Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse targets some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens. An estimated 5 million senior citizens are victims of elder abuse each year, harming our elderly family members and friends in ways that may cost them their financial security, their dignity, or even their lives. Many cases go unreported because, for some seniors, this type of abuse comes with a profound sense of shame. Others are not physically or cognitively able to report their abuse. Unfortunately, elders face three main types of abuse all too commonly:

  • Physical abuse, resulting in injuries and trauma, and in some cases, sexual abuse in Arizona nursing homes
  • Financial abuse, including from family members and acquaintances, as well as from scammers
  • Emotional or verbal abuse such as threats, intimidation, harassment, and verbal assaults
  • Exploitation or taking advantage of the elderly for monetary gain or personal benefit
  • Passive neglect by caregivers either at home or in nursing home facilities
  • Confinement such as restraining, or isolating an elder for reasons not related to health or safety

Elder abuse has negative physical and emotional effects on senior citizens, often causing fearfulness, and anxiety. The elderly typically require care which makes them vulnerable to these types of abuses.

Watch Loved Ones for These Signs of Elder Abuse

Elders may not be as savvy about the dangers of giving out personal and financial information over the phone or the internet compared to younger adults. This makes them a target for scammers. Plus, even the slight cognitive decline in elders as well as their more fragile physical state puts them at risk of financial exploitation from ill-meaning family members and acquaintances. Look for the following signs of senior citizen financial abuse:

  • ATM activity that’s out of the norm for that person’s spending habits
  • Sudden large withdrawals or increased withdrawal frequency
  • Signatures on checks and financial documents that don’t match
  • Sudden changes in living circumstances and lifestyle that don’t line up with their known financial circumstances

Signs of an elderly loved one experiencing physical abuse may be the following:

  • Bruises, bumps, and scratches
  • Signs of rope marks
  • Broken bones
  • Vague answers when asked about bruises and injuries. In addition, vaginal or anal bleeding, torn undergarments, and bruises on the breasts and buttocks may be signs of sexual abuse in seniors

Verbal abuse doesn’t leave visible scars but can be just as damaging to emotions. Signs of verbal abuse may include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Isolation
  • Fear, suspicion, or reluctance to participate in activities they used to enjoy
  • Decreased interest in social interactions

Signs of caregiver neglect in nursing homes or during at-home care may include:

  • Decreased hygiene
  • Bed sores
  • Weight loss
  • Sunken eyes
  • Unavailability of medical aids such as walkers, hearing aids, false teeth, glasses, wheelchairs, and medications
  • Seniors with dementia left unsupervised

How to Help Prevent Elder Abuse

If you suspect an elderly family member or friend is suffering elder abuse of any kind there are resources to turn to for help. Arizona Adult Protective Services and the Aging Network work together with the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to help prevent elder abuse and help elders out of dangerous situations. There are many other resources for preventing elder abuse including the following:

  • The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • Care Compare for checking nursing home reviews and recommendations
  • National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
  • National Council on Aging (NCOA)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Eldercare locator

It’s important to report acts of injustice or violence against our country’s population of aging adults. If your loved one was neglected, abused, or exploited, you can contact an Arizona elder abuse attorney specializing in elder justice. Not only does this help restore an elder’s dignity and peace of mind, but may also help secure financial compensation for the wrongs and injuries they’ve suffered.

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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.