Abuse of elders is a topic that tends to bring to mind images of abuses committed by total strangers. While it is true that a number of elders are abused in this way, it is important to realize that abuse can also be perpetrated by people much closer to the victim. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the other common perpetrators of elder abuse and some signs to watch out for if you believe abuse might be taking place.
Who Can Commit Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse includes physical, emotional and financial exploitation. While elder abuse can be committed by strangers, it is also important to be mindful that it can be committed by persons charged with caring for the elderly person.
Nursing Home Staff
Most nursing home staff does a wonderful job in caring for their elderly residents. However, it is important to be mindful that there are exceptions. Research suggests that as many as 1 in 3 older adults have experienced abuse in a nursing home environment. In most cases, the abusers are caretakers or other staff members who are responsible for the day-to-day care of residents. Signs of nursing home abuse can include:
- Unsanitary conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Physical abuse
In-home caregivers may also abuse elders in their care. Often these individuals are hired to provide basic care such as bathing, grooming and dressing. Caregivers may abuse elderly individuals in the same way that nursing home staff does. In some cases, however, financial exploitation may be more prevalent among in-home caregivers due to them being in close proximity to an elder’s finances and personal belongings. Examples include:
- Stolen items (cash, jewelry or other valuables)
- Unusual banking transactions
- Insufficient healthcare, yet still being charged for services
It might be difficult to believe, but in some cases, the abuser is a family member. A negligent family member is to blame in almost 6 out of every 10 cases of elder abuse. Further, according to a report by the University of Southern California, around 62 percent of financial abuse cases were committed by family members.
Family members may also improperly use a power of attorney to control an elder’s finances. Misuse of a power of attorney can be used to gain control over the elder’s property, finances, or healthcare. Signs that a family member is abusing an elderly loved one may be:
- Sudden and unexpected changes to an elder’s estate plan
- Isolation and/or alienation from other members of the elder’s family
Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys in Harrisonburg, VA
Elder abuse is an underreported and often unnoticed problem in the United States. Obenshain Law Group is committed to protecting the rights of your injured loved ones and helping them obtain the justice they deserve. Our Harrisonburg attorneys have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse and elder neglect cases. If you suspect your elderly loved one is the victim of abuse, call us today for a free consultation. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options.
If you believe that your loved one was the victim of elder abuse, contact us today at (540) 318-7360 to schedule a free consultation.