If you have a family member or other loved one that is in their “golden years,” the most important thing you can do is to be involved in their life. Although you don’t want to believe elder abuse could happen to your loved one, the truth is that seniors are extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Sadly, many victims of abuse don’t seek help because they are scared nobody will believe them, they are embarrassed, or they worry it will lead to the loss of their independence. In more severe cases, the senior citizen may believe there abuser will retaliate and their situation will get worse.
Most people associate elder abuse with the individual being physically hurt, but there are different types of elder abuse:
- Physical Assault. Physical abuse can include a wide range of actions such as hitting, kicking, slapping, unreasonable physical restraint, depriving the victim of food or water, sexual assault, or any other tactic used to cause physical harm. The inappropriate use of medication can also be considered physical assault. A recent unusual case was prosecuted in Utah, when the spouse of a person who was determined to be incapacitated had sexual intercourse with them. The lesson here is that if you can’t make everyday decisions, you can’t consent to sexual relations.
- Neglect. Any action that results in the victim being put in unreasonable danger can be considered neglect. This includes failure to provide help with personal hygiene, malnutrition, dehydration, failure to provide clothing or shelter or preventing health or safety hazards.
- Emotional Abuse. When the victim is subjected to fear, isolation, confinement, or serious emotional distress, it can constitute emotional abuse. Common examples of emotionally abusive tactics include threats, intimidation and verbal assaults that invoke fear in the victim. Elders are very prone to this when they are isolated and afraid of being left alone. Caregivers can take advantage under these circumstances.
- Financial Abuse. When an elderly person is no longer able to handle his or her own finances, it opens the door to financial abuse. This may include theft or embezzlement of money an/or assets from the senior citizen. Financial abuse can be anything from having money taken out of the victim’s wallet to having real property frudulently transferred to the abuser.
If you believe your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it is imperative that you take immediate action.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.