Elder abuse is a common problem affecting millions of senior citizens nationwide. The vulnerabilities of old age make them susceptible to physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.
Therefore, it is essential to protect your elderly loved ones from abuse proactively, be it at home or an assisted living facility. It means being on the lookout for signs of abuse and taking the necessary steps to ensure your loved one’s well-being if you suspect they are victims. Here is what you need to do.
The immediate steps
If your loved one has suffered physical or emotional abuse, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may not understand the full extent of the abuse, given that you do not even know when it all began.
For financial abuse, contact the concerned financial institution and explain the situation. If possible, seek an immediate freeze of your loved one’s bank accounts and credit cards to prevent further damage.
Gather relevant information
Talk to your loved one and tell them they can safely confide in you. Be gentle and reassuring. In some instances, elder abuse victims often fear narrating their ordeals due to intimidation by the perpetrators.
Gather as much information as you can and note everything down. It could prove to be helpful evidence. Equally vital are your loved one’s medical and financial records.
Report to the authorities
The next step is to report your concerns to the appropriate authorities, like the police and local Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies. Ensure you provide as much information as possible to help with any investigations that may follow.
Get your loved one justice
The final step is holding the perpetrators legally responsible by pursuing legal action. Your loved one deserves compensation for the harm they suffered at the hands of an abusive caregiver or negligent nursing facility that facilitated their abuse.