Imagine rushing to the hospital after learning that your elderly parent has had a stroke and will need long-term care. On arriving, you find out that your parent no longer has the long-term care policy that you thought was in place to cover this very situation. As you dig deeper, you find that your parent recently signed a power of attorney that named a stranger as an agent with complete authority over your parent's financial assets.
That stranger cashed out everything, leaving your parent without the financial resources needed for future care and expenses. Unfortunately, situations like this are more common than most people realize.
There are various forms of elder abuse, some less obvious than others, but still just as serious in terms of the harm that can be done to an elderly person's well-being or financial assets. This section offers helpful resources on how to identify and remedy instances of elder abuse.
Abuse can involve pressure from family, friends, or caregivers to revise an estate plan or transfer assets, phone or internet scams by companies targeting seniors, or some form of physical, mental, or sexual abuse, among other types of abuse. Perpetrators of abuse can also prey upon feelings of fear or loneliness in forcing an elderly victim to take certain actions. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you to detect elder abuse, even in its early stages, and allow you to intervene, report the case to the proper authorities, and protect a potential or actual victim of elder abuse.
How to Identify Elder Abuse
This section will provide you with important information about how to detect elder abuse, including a checklist of what to look for as signs of mental, physical, sexual, or financial abuse. You will also learn the basic, preliminary questions that many medical professionals ask their elderly patients to determine whether there are any indications of elder abuse. Even if you aren’t a medical professional, these questions can still be helpful in determining whether an elderly person you know is being subjected to abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse
If you become aware of an incident of elder abuse, it’s important to report it to the appropriate authorities immediately. This will not only help to protect the senior's health and assets but also ensure that he or she can access the many support services that are available as early as possible. These resources can help the victim through the process of recovery and protect him or her from future abuse. This section will also show you how to report suspicions of elder abuse and where to find the local adult protective agency responsible for protecting victims of elder abuse in your area.
These resources also include information on specific professionals who are required by law to report suspicions of elder abuse. This is important, as many of these requirements provide penalties if a professional who’s required to report elder abuse has suspicions of such abuse but fails to submit a timely report to the proper authorities.
The section below contains additional resources and links to various agencies and organizations that are part of the effort to address and prevent elder abuse. Upon reviewing the section, you should have a better understanding of what specific steps you can take to assist a victim of elder abuse. Because there are often serious legal implications involved in cases of elder abuse, it’s also a good idea to contact a local attorney who specializes in elder law for the specific rights and remedies available in your state.