Elder Abuse: Understanding What It Is And How Elder Law Lawyers Can Help Stop It From Happening

Protecting a loved one and removing them from an abusive situation can be tricky. You might not know how to recognize abuse or, more importantly, how to stop it. It can come from family members, caregivers or anyone else who is in contact with the older person. Oftentimes this occurs because mental and physical disorders make the elderly more difficult to deal with, which frustrates caregivers. However, this should never be tolerated and families need to know how to recognize the signs and know where to go for help in putting an end to the abuse.

What Is This Kind Of Abuse?

This type of abuse often happens out of frustration. It can be sexual, physical, such as hitting or shoving, or emotional, such as verbal intimidation, yelling or even isolating the person being abused. The older person can also be neglected, abandoned or exploited financially. This happens because many people become more frail as they age, which means they’re unable to fight back or stand up for themselves.

Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms of abuse are usually not taken seriously because of the elderly person’s frame of mind. After all, the reason they have a caregiver is because they’re unable to care for themselves. One stand-alone sign probably doesn’t signal an abusive situation, but watch out for multiple signs such as:

  • Unexplained bruises, broken bones or abrasions
  • Frequent arguments between the caregiver and the elderly person
  • Poor hygiene or clothing that’s inappropriate for the weather
  • Sudden or significant withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in financesThe caregiver refuses to allow anyone to see the elderly person alone

These are only a few of the signs, but it’s a good start. If you notice sudden changes in the elderly person’s behavior, personality or appearance, consider that they may be being abused and see what types of elder law assistance is on your side.

How To Combat It With The Help Of Elder Attorneys

If you suspect someone you love is being abused, the first thing you should do is contact the police and elder law lawyers. These attorneys are specialists in elder law and will be able to help contest a guardianship (if there is one) or petition the courts to assign a guardian. If you’re asking elder law lawyers to help you become the guardian of your loved one, you’ll have to have a judge agree that you’re the best choice for a caregiver.

In an emergency situation, elder attorneys can ask a judge to appoint someone as a short-term, emergency guardian while they continue to gather all the facts and make an informed decision. Some states allow one person to physically care for the elderly person, while another can take care of their finances. This can work well if there are two grown children in a family, but one is located out of town and is unable to physically care for their parent, but wants to help shoulder some of the responsibility.

Protecting a loved one from an abusive situation is a top priority once you find out it’s occurring. If you suspect that an older member of your family is being abused, take the steps to stop it — immediately.

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