Phoenix Elder Abuse Attorney
When a loved one enters a nursing home or long-term care facility, we trust that those responsible will have professional care of our loved one. Far too often, nursing homes and caregivers are guilty of abuse or neglect. When this happens in Arizona, call the passionate Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. to seek justice and compensation for your loved ones.
Today, many nursing homes are operated by mega-corporations that seem to place profits before resident care. This is wrong and our Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys want to help. Our loved ones have given us their very best, now it is time that they receive the very best. Contact our Phoenix personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation about your unique situation.
- Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Arizona
- What are the Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
- How Do I Report Elder Abuse?
- Elder Abuse: Financial Abuse
- Elder Abuse Statistics
- Seek Immediate, Aggressive Representation after Elder Abuse
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys in Arizona
Nursing homes and care facilities are required to treat their elderly and incompetent adult residents with care. All too often staff permit residents to walk unattended (which can lead to falls), eat the wrong foods (which can lead to choking), or simply to walk out of the facility unnoticed (which can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, or even an accident in the case of residents suffering from dementia).
In other cases, staff may simply neglect a resident by leaving the resident unattended for hours. Residents who are sedentary may not be turned in their chair or bed, which can lead to painful ulcers (known as bed sores). Residents may also be deprived of necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety and other essentials. In addition to neglect, nursing homes, care facilities and caregivers may also be held liable for any type of abuse inflicted on residents or patients.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Between one and two million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone they depended on for care or protection, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Frequent types of abuse and injury can include:
- Bodily injury, pain, or impairment
- Physical punishment
- Improper drug use
- Improper physical restraints
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Insults, threats or intimidation
- Humiliation or harassment
- Abuse from other residents
- Inadequate medical care
- Poor hygiene
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Falls due to neglect
- Health and safety hazards
How to Report Elder Abuse
Our Phoenix elder abuse attorneys know elder abuse may have several warning signs depending on the nature of the mistreatment. It is best to report elder abuse if you have any suspicion, erring on the side of caution. The presence of certain red flags may merit an immediate report to Adult Protective Services.
- Signs of physical abuse. Signs can include bruises, broken bones, or other unexplained injuries
- Indications of neglect such as pressure sores or ulcers, unkempt appearance, or sudden or dramatic weight loss
- Warnings of emotional abuse, which may include changes in behavior, sudden social isolation, bouts of depression or anxiety, or the presence of false dementia
- Hints of financial abuse. Hints may include changes in spending behavior or amendments to wills or deeds
Making the Report
Making a report of elder abuse is simple and only takes a few minutes. Contact your local Adult Protective Services or call the local police department for help. The NCEA also details ways loved ones can help an elder in a potentially dangerous situation.
- Remove the elder from the dangerous situation immediately. If you suspect that a loved one is in immediate or life-threatening danger, call 911.
- If you suspect that a loved one is receiving inadequate care in a nursing home, contact the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman office in your area. The Long-Term Care Ombudsmen advocate on behalf of nursing home residents and investigate complaints about long-term facilities. An advocate can help investigate the situation and help provide further guidance about filing a complaint.
- Advocate for your elder as much as possible. Some may equate rash decision making, especially with regard to finances, as a progression of dementia and not actual exploitation. However, sudden changes in spending habits can be indicative of financial abuse. Take a loved one to a geriatric specialist or neurologist to rule out medical causes of erratic behavior.
Elder Abuse: Financial Abuse
Financial exploitation is one of the most common ways that abusers take advantage of the older population. Often, abusers leverage mental conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s to mask the abuse. Unfortunately, senior citizens rely on their caregivers to help them manage their finances, which puts them in a vulnerable position. Instead of using an elder’s accumulated life savings to pay bills, an abuser may use the money to benefit himself or herself.
The longer financial abuse occurs, the more devastating the effect on the entire family. Financial exploitation of an elder can have serious emotional and practical side effects. An elder may run out of resources to continue long-term care, or an abuser may deplete an entire estate leaving nothing for the intended heirs. Understanding the implications and warning signs of financial abuse can help family members or loved ones intervene as soon as possible.
Examples of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of an elder can be difficult to detect. Unfortunately, many elders in long-term or assisted care facilities have comorbidities such as dementia. Erratic behavior can be a natural consequence of cognitive conditions, so some loved ones may assume that excessive spending is a side effect of the health condition. Abusers also use this to their advantage, exploiting the trust of the individual and his or her family to achieve their own ends. In some cases, financial abuse can go unnoticed for years. Knowing some common scenarios in which people may abuse elders financially can help loved ones keep a lookout.
- Financial institutions can take advantage of elders by charging unnecessary fees.
- Long term care facilities may charge extra expenses to an elder’s account.
- Caregivers may convince an elder to amend wills or deeds.
- Portfolio or financial managers may use their position of expertise to convince elders to make decisions that do not benefit them.
- Contractors may convince seniors to complete home improvements, collect payment, and never complete the work.
- Home care aides may transfer money from an elder into their own accounts instead of using the funds as intended.
Warning Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse has many causes and the warning signs may differ by type. Some forms of financial abuse can be as simple as overcharging for services, or as complex as forging documents or amending estate plans. Loved ones should be aware of common signs of elder abuse.
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Overdue or unpaid bills
- Missing items from the household
- Odd charges on nursing home accounts
- Missing checks
- Sudden changes in wills
- Purchases that an elder does not understand or cannot explain
The presence of any of the warning signs merits a call to the local police department or report to an Adult Protective Services agency.
Elder abuse is a serious crime. The perpetrator can be civilly as well as criminally liable for the damages he or she causes. A Phoenix elder abuse attorney can help you understand your legal options and provide information about your next steps. If you believe that your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, you may be able to file a claim for damages. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen in Phoenix today to schedule your free case review.
Statistics of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is an unfortunately common occurrence. The abuse of an elder may involve matters of physical, emotions, or sexual harm, as well as exploitation and abandonment. An elder can suffer abuse at the hands of a family member, spouse, or staff at a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 10% of Americans over the age of 60 have endured some kind of abuse, and 5 million adults in the same age group suffer the effects of elder abuse each year. In one study, authors estimate that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse get reported to the authorities, so the problem may be far more widespread than represented in the literature.
Who is Most at Risk for Elder Abuse?
Both male and female elders are vulnerable to abuse. Home care aides commit around 15% of elder abuse, and friends and neighbors are responsible for an additional 16%.
The NCEA reports that social isolation and a condition that affects cognition, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, are two factors that put elders at high risk for abuse. Some recent studies show that around half of elders who have dementia also endured neglect or abuse.
Elder abuse has detrimental effects that can seriously affect the victim’s well-being for years to come. A recent study found that elders who suffered abuse had a 300% higher risk of dying compared to those who did not experience any mistreatment. Elder financial abuse and fraud costs older Americans up to $36.5 billion annually. It is likely that the economic and health impacts of elder abuse are actually higher, as many cases go unreported.
Elder abuse is against the law. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors can use several tactics to bring those who abuse this vulnerable population to justice. Knowing how to spot signs of elder abuse and report it to proper authorities can help stop the vicious cycle.
Seek Immediate, Aggressive Representation
If you or your loved one is in immediate danger of abuse, dial 911 or call the police right away. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries or you suspect abuse or neglect by a nursing home, care facility or caregiver, please also call our firm. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers. Your loved one and his or her well-being may be dependent upon you taking immediate action.