Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


How large of an issue is elder abuse?

It’s estimated that about 5% of the senior population will experience some kind of elder abuse throughout their lifetime. Older women make up 65% of the victims; 35% are men. Adult children, spouses, or other family members are the most common abusers. As the population of seniors 60 and over is projected to nearly double by 2020, the incidence of elder abuse will also increase.


Why does it happen?

Elder Abuse is a crime of opportunity; education and awareness are the keys to elder abuse prevention. Other reasons include health changes that may make the victim much more dependent on household members; and others too as isolation due to narrowing scope of family and friends. Fear or shame on the part of the sufferer can perpetuate the cycle of abuse.


What exactly are some warning signs (or red flags) of physical abuse?

Some warning signs include multiple bruises of different colors, frequent trips to the hospital emergency room, hair pulled out, or signs of being over-or-under medicated (always sleepy or always in pain). Any unwanted sexual activity also constitutes physical abuse.


What exactly are some warning signs of neglect?

Some warning signs of neglect consist of isolation; poor hygiene, or wearing dirty or torn clothing; lack of suitable shelter, groceries or other necessities; needing glasses, hearing aids, or dentures that aren’t being supplied; medical conditions that go untreated; malnourishment or dehydration of the victim.


What exactly are some warning signs of self-neglect?

Warning signs might be the exact same as with neglect: failure or unwillingness to provide for one’s essential needs; untreated medical situations, poor hygiene, malnourishment, isolation. The sufferer may be angry, frightened or secretive; unwilling to speak freely.


What are some warning indicators of financial abuse?

Some warning indicators may include sudden bank account closing or withdrawals; suspicious activity on credit card accounts; disconnected utilities; abrupt alter in the elder’s Will; elder living in poverty without proper care, in spite of adequate monetary resources; treatment giver displays sudden, new-found wealth; sudden transfer of property from elder to abuser; change in power of attorney, appearance of new “best friend”.


What exactly are some warning signs of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse may consist of verbal threats, intimidation, confinement, and also the sufferer may be confused or very forgetful. There may be restricted contact with household and friends. The person may exhibit serious emotional distress.


How can I identify seniors “at risk” for elder abuse?

Certain warning signs may indicate an issue: these consist of deteriorating conditions of home or apartment; mail or newspapers building up in mailbox; the individual appears unusually unkempt or ill; has difficulty maintaining a regular conversation, or varies from his or her normal routine.


What if I suspect abuse in the community?

Regardless of whether you’re a sufferer or suspect the abuse of somebody you know, you are not alone when seeking help. Anybody who suspects that abuse of an elder has occurred anywhere other than inside a long-term care facility ought to report it to their nearby county Adult Protective Services or to nearby law enforcement. You are protected from both criminal and civil liability.


What if I suspect abuse in a long-term treatment facility?

If the suspected abuse has occurred inside a long-term treatment facility, for example a nursing house or a residential treatment facility, report it. Abuse can continue and may escalate if there’s no intervention. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and report. All reports are confidential.


Senior Law


What do Elder Law attorneys do?

Elder law attorneys help their clients and their families deal with issues that affect people due to advanced age or disability.


What is Elder Law?

Elder Law is a specialty of law that caters to the needs of older clients and those with disabilities.


What areas are involved in Elder Law?

Everything centers on ensuring an elder a comfortable and dignified life. Our focus is threefold:

Ensuring that the elder can find, get, and pay for needed care (retirement and disability planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, asset protection planning, advocacy with service providers);

Enabling the elder to provide for surrogate decision-making (durable general powers-of-attorney, health care directives); and enabling the elder to leave a legacy to benefit family and others (estate planning).


Why Is Elder Law Important?

Elders deserve counsel from legal and other professionals who are sensitive to their unique perspectives and priorities. An Elder Law attorney helps elders and their families meet their goals by both using legal tools, as well as by drawing on an expensive working knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid, veterans and other benefits, as well as community programs and resources.