Abuse and Exploitation of the Elderly
Elder Law is the area of law dedicated to meeting certain legal needs of older or disabled individuals, and to the defense and protection of older individuals. It includes a whole range of distinct laws that seniors will confront as they age and as their needs change. Certainly, one of the most important reasons for the practice area of Elder Law is to prevent the abuse of the elderly. Sadly, many individuals take advantage of the vulnerable condition and physical impairment of older people. With many seniors suffering from distinct types of abuse, such as psychological, emotional, financial, and even physical harm, it is all the more important to be acquainted with Elder Law attorneys to protect the elderly.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is a broad term that describes a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust by the older adult. This means that senior abuse includes harm by people who use power to exercise control, and with whom the older adult has a relationship, such as a spouse, relative, friend, caregiver, acquaintance, or healthcare provider. The different types of elder abuse include:
● Abandonment: Deserting an elder and dependent person with the intent to abandon them.
● Financial: This type of abuse refers to the unauthorized use of a person’s property or valuables. Some examples of financial abuse include undue influence, fraud, eviction, misrepresentation, falsifying an elder’s signature, and fraud in obtaining or using post mortem documents such as Powers of Attorney, wills, and trusts. Some of the most common manifestations of financial abuse include overcharging and lottery scams.
● Institutional: Any kind of harm caused to the elderly in settings where care and assistance are provided to dependent older adults.
● Neglect: Depriving a person of food, heat, clothing, medication or needed service to perform certain actions.
● Physical: This includes active harm, such as hitting, pushing, punching, restraining, and giving improper medication, as well as the omission of acts of good faith, such as depriving seniors of care, and assistance in any endeavors needed.
● Psychological/Emotional: This often happens when an individual identifies something of importance to an older person and then uses it to coerce an elder into a particular action. It may also include threatening, ridiculing, and taking advantage of a senior’s lack of mental ability to discern between reality and fantasy.
● Rights abuse: Denying constitutional rights to an elder person who has not been declared mentally incapacitated.
● Sexual: Forcing an older person to take part in any sexual activity or conversation against their will, especially in situations where a senior is no longer able to express him or herself (i.e. dementia).
Elder abuse may be noticeable: Sometimes seniors will express that they are being harmed or will seem particularly depressed and withdrawn. The saddest part is that many younger people disregard these signs as manifestations of failure in mental capacity. Abuse of the elderly may occur even in the safest facilities and may come from trusted healthcare providers.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from elder abuse, you may wish to call the FL Abuse hotline at 800-962-2873 so that the Department of Children and Families can perform a formal investigation. If financial abuse is suspected, contact The Miller Elder Law Firm, and our Elder Law attorneys will gladly assist you in determining what actions may be prudent.
The Miller Elder Law Firm value family and the rights of seniors, and work hard to make a difference in the lives of older adults. Contact our Elder Law attorneys for zealous and competent representation to preserve the rights of your loved one.
Call our Gainesville, Florida office at (352) 379-1900 or contact us online.