How To Identify Potential Elder Abuse: 5 Signs That You Might Need An Elder Law Attorney


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Elder abuse is a serious problem in America. Recognizing the plight of our oldest citizens, Congress recently passed a sweeping elder law, designed to protect those who are cared for in nursing homes or by others from exploitation, neglect, and abuse. In order for that elder law to be effective, however, you may have to pay careful attention to the behavior of your senior loved ones. If you even suspect that there has been abuse, neglect, or other foul play, you shouldn't hesitate to call a qualified elder law litigation attorney. Whether or not you need litigation, a lawyer will be able to advise you on the specifics of your case. Online information can only provide general information, not specific advice and certainly not legal counsel.

Sign #1: Unexplained Bruising

While this may seem like a clear indication of a problem, it's surprisingly common for care services to explain injuries away and never be questioned about them in depth. They may claim that your loved one simply fell, hitting him or herself on the way down. While this is possible, you should look into every incident very carefully. If nothing else, frequent bruising, even if accidental, shows that you've chosen a poor care facility. Your family deserves the best, so you might want to consider moving them nonetheless.

Sign #2: Inexplicable Financial Drains

If your more senior relatives are no longer focused on their own finances, someone else from within the family or possibly an outside auditor should be retained to periodically check in on their finances. It is sadly common for people to violate the elder law and steal from the bank account of someone living in an assisted care facility, simply because they know it's unlikely they'll be caught. If you do catch someone stealing from your family, or even suspect it, hire a litigation attorney immediately.

Sign #3: A Change In Personality

It can be tempting to write off a changing personality as a symptom of old age, but it often means much more. If you haven't seen your loved one interacting with the aides, now would be a good time to start observing it. If you notice any hints of fear or unhappiness in that relationship, consider hiring a litigation lawyer to pursue the case further.

Sign #4: Strange Behavior From Family, Friends, Or Caregivers

If anyone involved with your elderly family member starts to behave strangely, you should immediately wonder why. There have been many cases where an individual who is stealing from or abusing a senior will start to feel guilty, but don't want to admit it because they fear an elder law trial and prosecution by a litigation attorney. If you suspect that someone involved with your loved one has something to hide, approach a litigation lawyer immediately.

Sign #5: Something Isn't Right

When you visit your family member, you should feel that they are secure and happy wherever they are. You should also be aware of anything that might make them more vulnerable to abuse or fraud, such as blindness or other disabilities. If you feel at any time that something is out of place, don't hesitate to call an elder law specialist. Contacting an attorney sooner rather than later is always the better plan, even if it turns out that your suspicions are unfounded.

About the Author

Chris Harmen writes for Peck Bloom, the leading elder law attorneys in Illinois. A Peck Bloom litigation attorney will fight for your family in court, working to ensure that your loved one gets justice for abuses, exploitation, or neglect.

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