Our parents and grandparents are going to be around a lot longer than any other generation before them. As a country, we will be faced with the monumental task of managing their care. Because of the graying of the baby-boomer generation, we will also see a rise in the types of elder abuse. Unfortunately, studies show that elder abuse is on the rise in the United States, and the instances of abuse are only expected to get worse.
Elder abuse is a problem that has sadly appeared throughout history. Abuse of the elderly takes many forms and can include physical, emotional or financial abuse. It is generally defined as doing something or failing to do something resulting in harm to an elderly person or putting a helpless older person at risk of harm. As the elderly become more physically, emotionally and/or mentally frail, they are less able to stand up to abuse or bullying.
Physical or Emotional Elder Abuse
Physical and emotional abuse of the elderly is also on the rise in the United States. It includes emotional bullying and ranges from physical abuse to neglect and abandonment. Often the person who is abusing the elder treats them in ways which cause emotional pain or distress. It can include assault and battery committed against the elderly. If you notice changes in personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on. You should contact the local adult protective services, the police or an attorney.
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is difficult to recognize and can often be subtle in form. Financial elder abuse includes the taking or misusing an elderly person’s money or property. You should be on the lookout for suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies. Often times, a caretaker, family member or fiduciary attempts to cut off the elderly individual from other family members. Financial abuse may also include scams or outright fraud committed against the elderly. If you are suspect that someone is taking advantage of an elderly individual, you should contact the local adult protective services, the police or an attorney.
Elder Abuse by a Fiduciary
Fiduciaries include people holding powers of attorney, representative payees, guardians, conservators, investment advisers, accountants, stockbrokers, lawyers, notaries, and real estate brokers. If you are concerned about a fiduciary abusing an elderly individual, you may contact adult protective services, the police or an attorney.
Who should I notify if I suspect elder abuse?
If you are concerned about that someone is harming or taking advantage of an elderly individual you care about, you should contact the local adult protective services, the police or an attorney. When faced with a case of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of an elder, an attorney can recommend and pursue a number of legal options. During your conversation with an attorney, you may be asked a series of questions to gain more insight into the nature of the situation and the elderly individual’s mental and physical needs.
Ryan C. Young | Guardianship Attorney | Richmond, Virginia