Frequently Asked Questions About Elder Abuse
According to the Department of Justice, at least 11% of Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year. Sadly, only one in five cases of elder abuse is ever reported. Most at risk are women and the oldest members of our senior population.
Unfortunately, many elderly victims suffer in silence, which means you might have some questions about elder abuse that you would like to have answered. Below, we've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about elder abuse.
What Is Considered Elder Abuse?
The term elder abuse refers to any knowing or intentional act or negligence that causes harm or risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. While definitions and laws related to elder abuse vary by state, there are six primary categories:
- Physical: Use of force that results in physical harm, illness, pain, or impairment
- Sexual: Any kind/degree of non-consensual sexual contact
- Neglect: Caregivers failing to provide basic necessities like food, shelter, or health care
- Financial: Exploitation or mishandling of an elderly person's money or property
- Emotional: Imposing mental distress on a person
- Abandonment: The desertion of a vulnerable elderly person by one who is responsible for their care and/or custody
What Warning Signs Should I Look Out For?
There are a number of red flags that may indicate elder abuse or neglect. It's important to note that while one sign does not necessarily prove or suggest abuse, there are various common warning signs to look out for. These may include:
- Physical ailments such as bruises, broken bones, abrasions, or burns
- Behavioral changes like withdrawal from their usual activities or a sudden onset of depression
- Bruises around genitals or breasts
- Abrupt changes in financial status
- Bedsores, poor hygiene, or sudden weight loss
Who Should I Contact to Report Elder Abuse?
If you suspect a loved one is being abused, do not hesitate to find help. In Nevada, the statute of limitations on personal injury-related legal action is just two years, so time is of the essence. Contact the appropriate authority, which may include:
- Law Enforcement: If you suspect an elderly person is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.
- Adult Protective Services (APS): If the elderly person is not in immediate danger, report your concerns to the local APS agency.
- Long Term Care Ombudsman: If the elderly person resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility, reach out to your local Long Term Care Ombudsman. This individual acts as an advocate for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities.
Are There Criminal or Civil
Penalties for Elder Abuse?
If you speak with a lawyer, they can walk you through the possible penalties for individuals convicted of elder abuse. The laws vary from state to state.
- Criminal Penalties: In the majority of states there are laws to address criminal penalties for elder abuse. Fortunately, law enforcement officers and experienced lawyers across the country are being trained on elder abuse and ways to bring abusers to justice.
- Civil Restitution: Victims of elder abuse may be entitled to monetary compensation. If a nursing home or assisted living facility abuses or neglects a resident resulting in severe injury, the institution may be held liable. Our lawyers can help.
Our attorneys at Day and Nance have experience representing elderly people and their loved ones in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. If you are looking to explore your options to stop elder abuse and recover compensation, call our lawyers for a free consultation today.