Answering Your Questions About Elder Abuse

Caring for an elderly loved one can be difficult on financial, logistical and emotional levels. Many families have had to make hard decisions on behalf of people they care deeply about. This is what makes suspicions of elder abuse so painful. Many families wrongly blame themselves for what's happening.

Many also don't know where to turn for answers. If you have suspicions or confirmation of elder abuse, you can turn to the Law Offices of Michael R. Kaiser in Palm Springs. Our lawyers will help you hold negligent or abusive caregivers and financial scammers accountable for their deplorable actions. Read on for answers to some of the common questions we receive or call us directly at 760-459-8545 for a free consultation.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse can happen to anyone, whether they are living independently or in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Generally, abuse is classified in the following ways:

  • Physical abuse — Threatening harm or actually physically harming an aged adult
  • Emotional abuse — Inflicting mental anguish or emotional distress through verbal or nonverbal actions
  • Sexual abuse — Forcing an elderly person to have sex or witness sexual acts against his or her will
  • Financial abuse or exploitation — Stealing money or property from an elderly person or manipulating them to give up assets through coercion, intimidation or fraud
  • Neglect or abandonment — Failing to provide food, shelter, water or medical care for vulnerable adults

Sadly in many cases, people suffer from more than one of these types of elder abuse at the hands of spouses, adult children, other patients, professional caregivers or even assisted living facilities.

What are the signs of elder abuse?

Abuse can manifest in many different ways. Look for the following signs:

  • Unexplained bruises, burns, blisters or bedsores
  • Explanations that make no sense given your loved one's personality and medical history
  • Abrupt changes in alertness or interest in what's going on
  • Social isolation and depression
  • Unwillingness to talk or engage in daily activities or activities they used to enjoy
  • Poor hygiene
  • Drastic changes in weight or appetite
  • Unexplained purchases or financial transactions that seem out of character
  • Strained or tense relationships with people previously identified as friends or trusted caregivers

Some of these signs could be construed as symptoms of dementia or general aging, but if something feels "off" about your loved one's personality, behavior or physical condition, don't be afraid to speak up and ask direct questions.

What should I do if I suspect my loved one is being abused?

If you suspect your loved one is being abused and you aren't getting satisfactory answers, you should report your suspicions to Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of California's Department of Social Services. APS investigates all reports of suspected elder abuse or abuse of dependent adults. Then contact our firm to discuss your options for holding perpetrators legally and financially accountable with our skilled attorneys.

Is this my fault?

No! You could have done all the research, asked all the right questions and still end up in this situation. Place the blame where it firmly belongs: on the caregiver, nursing facility administrators and/or scam artist.