Abuse of the elderly in American nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other such specialized elder care centers is a growing problem, particularly as a large portion of the American population is now entering their elder years. As many as one in three such elder care facilities across the United States experience one or more instances of reported elder abuse each year, with many more cases potentially going unreported – even unrecognized – by those who are supposed to be keeping a watchful eye on your loved ones. Any of the following circumstances should be considered reason to find a good nursing home abuse lawyer.
Neglect is a form of abuse in itself when it comes to individuals who are unable to fend for their own basic needs.
Neglect might involve failing to properly care for an elder resident of:
- Nursing home
- Assisted living facility
Neglect might also involve someone with responsibilities for oversight choosing to overlook the possibility of abuse in lieu of confronting and facing a dangerous and disturbing problem.
Proper care includes:
- Otherwise care for
Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse perpetuated against the elderly residents of assisted living centers and nursing homes across the United States. Such individuals have little by way of means to defend themselves, and they are often left in a state of confusion and frustration at their own helplessness – a state which leaves them unable or unwilling to recognize abuse. This is made worse by the statistical likelihood of such abuse occurring at the hands of a family member.
Below are some of the most common kinds of abuse that we come across as elder abuse personal injury lawyers. Mistreatment of nursing home residents by caregivers can involve a number of situations that result in physical, emotional, or financial harm to the elder adult. Abuse and neglect can include any of the types of mistreatment listed below:
- Abandonment, such as desertion by the person responsible for providing care to a vulnerable adult
- Failure of the caregiver to provide articulated or expected care and services to the resident, whether intentional or negligent
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Any untreated medical condition
- A caregiver’s attitude of indifference to the resident’s physical needs
- Failure to maintain a clean living environment for the resident
- Financial abuse and exploitation of the resident’s resources including misappropriation of funds and illegal or improper use of the resident’s accounts
- Infliction of physical pain
- Inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints
- Sexual abuse or rape
- Emotional abuse, such as verbal assaults or threats
These are all egregious forms of abuse and neglect that no loved one should be put through – especially when he or she is entrusted to the care of a facility whose business is to care for the elderly.
We previously addressed the signs of physical, sexual, and emotional elder abuse. While those types of abuse account for horrific cases of abuse of loved ones, they are not the only type of abuse. In fact, experts suggest that the single most common type of abuse affecting seniors is financial exploitation.
Financial abuse happens when somebody who is looking to steal money, whether directly or by stealing an unwary victim’s identity, targets the elderly – for a wide variety of reasons.
Elderly residents of nursing homes often have sizable amounts of savings and investments. They are often not in direct control over their estates, and they may not be aware of a problem until it is far too late. They make the ideal victims for an unscrupulous sneak thief or con artist who doesn’t feel any concern for the individuals whose lives he or she is ruining. This, again, is all too often a member of an elderly victim’s family – someone with immediate access to the individual being victimized, whose presence would not raise any inherent red flags.
What Is Financial Exploitation?
The Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations Oregon Administrative Rules define financial exploitation:
- Wrongfully taking a senior’s money, assets, property, or medication
This wrongful taking can be through:
- Undue influence
It also includes the misuse or misappropriation of money from a senior’s bank accounts, or failing to use the elder person’s resources for the benefit, support, and maintenance of that person.
How Common Is Financial Exploitation?
Unfortunately, financial exploitation of the elderly is all too common. The National Adult Protective Services Association provides statistics on the prevalence of elder abuse. According to their research:
- One in 20 older adults indicate some form of recent perceived financial mistreatment
- Only one out of every 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported
- One out of 10 financial abuse victims will have to resort to care provided by Medicaid due to their abuse
Those who suffer from cognitive impairment and who need assistant with daily activities are most at risk for this sort of abuse.
What Are the Effects of Financial Exploitation?
Financial abuse is not simply a matter of money. Just as physical or sexual abuse can affect victims in more than immediate ways, so can financial abuse.
It may result in:
- Depression and a loss of an ability to trust
- Shame, fear, anger, or many other negative emotions
Due to the advanced age and often deteriorating health of victims they often will not be able to replace their assets through employment. This can result in an inability to care for oneself or even a loss of residence. This is why it is so important for concerned family members to help the abused victim to get in touch with an elder abuse attorney who can help them recover their assets through the legal system.
What Are the Signs of Financial Exploitation
As with other types of abuse, the Oregon Department of Human Serviceshas created a list of warning signs that your loved one may be a victim of financial exploitation. Those signs include:
- Unusual or inappropriate activity surrounding investment properties or in bank accounts, including the use of ATM cards, to make large or repeated withdrawals
- Signatures on checks, etc. that do not resemble the person’s signature, or signatures when the person cannot write
- Power of attorney given, or recent changes in or creation of a will or trust, when the person is incapable of making such decisions
- Unpaid bills, overdue rent, utility shut-off notices
- Excessive spending by a caregiver on himself for new clothing, jewelry, automobiles
- Lack of spending on the care of the person, including personal grooming items
- Missing personal belongings, such as art, silverware or jewelry
- Recent sale of assets and properties
Don’t let someone close to you remain a victim, once a problem has come to light! Your loved ones deserve the peace of mind that comes with a comfortable and supportive elder care living situation, coupled with the financial means to attend to all of their medical bills and to compensate them for any pain and suffering they have endured. Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC offers a substantial legal team with a combination of more than 100 years experience in fighting for our clients’ basic and fundamental rights in court. We’ve worked out of the greater Medford, OR area for years; we care about the community, and we offer a practice that spans the remainder of Oregon as well, providing legal services to those who have been injured due to the neglect or oversight of individuals other than themselves. Call us today, or stop in at our Medford offices for a free consultation.
If you believe a crime has been committed you should also call the police, and if there is a medical emergency you should dial 9-1-1. Additionally, here is a great resource for finding a nursing home in Medford. Senior Advisor provides in depth information on home in your local area including reviews from residents and their families.
If your vulnerable elder loved one has experienced any form of elder abuse or nursing home neglect in Oregon, we care and we can help.
Call Us Today for a FREE Consultation (541) 617-0555.
Call Us Today for a FREE Consultation