Never before have there been so many older Americans alive and well in any generation. With so many Boomers reaching their senior years and with major advances in healthcare, the number of elders living longer is growing by the day. For some, this is a joyful time in their lives surrounded by children, grandchildren and yes, even great-grandchildren.
Unfortunately, there are others who slip through the cracks and are the victims of elder abuse. If you feel that something isn’t quite right and that your loved one may be the victim of elder abuse, the right thing to do is learn the signs and then to act accordingly. Here is some of what you should know.
Elder Abuse Is a Criminal Offense
Before going any further, you should know that elder abuse is a criminal offense if it can be proven in a court of law. If your loved one has suffered at the hands of a caregiver or nursing home, not only is the offense punishable by law but it may also result in civil litigation through which they will be entitled to just compensation for the abuse they’ve suffered.
Your loved one can be represented by an Elder Abuse Attorney to make a civil claim against the guilty party or parties. Garcia Law with bar admissions in California, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, and Washington suggest that you contact elder abuse specialists who can get your beloved elder the compensation they deserve.
Know the Warning Signs
However, the first thing to do is learn the warning signs. If you feel that something isn’t right but can’t quite put your finger on it, it helps to know the warning signs of elder abuse. These could include signs of physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and even sexual abuse.
Even neglect or abandonment by those tasked with caregiving constitutes elder abuse. This article on helpguide.org gives extensive information on how to spot the warning signs of elder abuse as well as steps you can take if you feel a neighbor, friend or loved one is being victimized.
Healthcare Abuse and Fraud
Sadly, there are healthcare providers out there who are anything but ethical. Many have been investigated for such things as billing Medicare without providing the services, or double billing for the very same service. Others have been found guilty of such things as getting kickbacks from other providers.
Healthcare abuse could also include under medicating or overmedicating a patient and even the recommendation of remedies which are classified as fraudulent. If you suspect Medicare fraud, you can report it online on the Office of the Inspector General’s website.
There Is Never an Excuse for Elder Abuse
It can be difficult dealing with an older adult, especially one suffering from dementia, but that is never an excuse for being abusive. If you feel that the potential for elder abuse exists, learn how to get a family help before it escalates to that point. Unfortunately, if you aren’t close enough to recognize the warning signs, it may be too late before help can intervene.
Learn to recognize the signs of the various types of elder abuse and know that you are doing the right thing to report suspected abuse. Like children, many elders can’t (or won’t) speak for themselves, so it’s up to you to be the voice for the voiceless. It really is the right thing to do.