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San Francisco California Elder Abuse Law Blog

Tips to protect your parents from financial abuse

It’s a parent’s job to protect their children. They teach their kids how to be safe, make the right decisions and protect themselves from the harsh world around them. However, who protects the parents?

Eventually, it becomes the child’s responsibility to help their parents find a safe space for their retirement and allow them to age gracefully. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to complete that task.

Verbal abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse

People who work with elderly nursing home residents face many challenges. One of these is communicating with them. Some are hard of hearing, which could mean that staff members have to use a raised voice to communicate. This is understandable; however, there is a fine line between ensuring the person can hear them and yelling at the person in an abusive manner.

Abuse of nursing home residents isn't ever acceptable and must not continue because it can cause the person to have mental trauma and may lead to other impacts. Communication abuse isn't limited only to yelling.

Stop nursing home abuse and neglect immediately

Nursing home residents aren't in a care facility because they are able to care for themselves. They rely on the staff members to help with their daily needs, and they can suffer great harm if those workers don't provide them with the appropriate care.

It is important for relatives of residents to watch what is going on in the facility and make sure that their loved one's needs are met. Certain signs can indicate that a resident is being neglected or even abused. Trying to catch those incidents quickly so you can put a stop to them is a top priority. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Residents might be reluctant to speak up about what is going on. In some cases, they might not have the understanding or communication skills to relay the information, especially if they have dementia. They may also fear retaliation if they tell on a staff member.
  • There are different types of abuse and neglect. Falls and wandering may indicate a lack of supervision. Bedsores and urinary tract infections may indicate outright neglect. Unexplained bruises can mean physical abuse. Missing items or missing money can mean financial abuse. Even psychological or sexual abuse is possible, so watch for behavioral changes.

Man Is Taking Grandmother Who Had Never Seen Ocean or Mountains to All 61 U.S. National Parks

"At her age, she's very cognizant that at every moment, she's probably seeing something for the first and last time, and that has dramatically changed the way I live my life as well," said Brad Ryan. 

Emotional abuse of nursing home residents

Nursing home residents are often at the mercy of the staff members who care for them. While seniors can have a great experience during their time in the facility, there is also a chance that they will fall victim to some form of abuse. Many people choose to focus on physical abuse, but there is another type that is just as horrific. This is psychological abuse, which is sometimes called emotional abuse.

The issue with this type of nursing home resident abuse is that the signs might not be as obvious as what occurs with physical abuse. You have to pay close attention to the behavior of your loved one if you are going to spot emotional abuse. Many of the symptoms that they might exhibit are also common with age-related conditions like dementia.

Financial abuse of senior citizens is a criminal action

People who are in nursing homes are sometimes subjected to abuse. This comes in a variety of ways, but one that isn't spoken of too often is financial abuse. This is a tragedy that impacts all seniors, not only those who are in a nursing home.

Across the nation, financial abuse of seniors costs around $2.9 billion per year. People who are trying to defraud people often turn to senior citizens because people over 50 years old hold more than 70% of this country's wealth. These older Americans are sometimes dealing with a decline in mental abilities, which can lead to them being more susceptible to this type of fraud.

Nursing home negligence harms senior citizens

Long-term care facilities have very specific duties that they must complete for the residents. These individuals pay to be cared for in a certain way at the facility. The level of care depends on the ability of the resident and how much self-care they can manage. Unfortunately, there are sometimes residents in these facilities that don't get the care they need. This can be the result of negligence.

One troubling thing about nursing home negligence is that the residents suffer and the facility still receives its pay. There is no reason for these elderly individuals to pay for services they aren't getting. This atrocity has to be stopped in its tracks so that the elderly individuals no longer face harm.

The many faces of nursing home abuse and neglect

 The day comes that your father or mother can no longer take care of themselves. You have the choice to hire in-home care, have them move in with you or send them to live in a nursing home. If you chose the latter, you want to make sure your loved one’s care is top of mind for the caregiver -- and treated as if you were caring for them yourself. The worst thing to imagine, is abuse.

Whether the abuse comes in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, caregiver neglect, financial exploitation or health care fraud, it does happen. Therefore, doing your research and vetting the potential nursing home is very important.

Senior citizen abuse can be far reaching

Elder abuse is a huge problem because it puts those who are most vulnerable at even more risk of suffering greatly due to the abuse. While anyone is a potential victim of abuse, females are the majority of the victims. The abusers in these cases vary greatly. Sometimes, the person is the spouse or a family member. It is also possible that the person who is mistreating the elderly person might be a nursing home staff member or someone else who is paid to care for the senior citizen.

There are many different types of elder abuse that might occur. Physical abuse involves a bodily injury caused by things like being hit or pushed. Financial abuse means that a person is misusing the senior citizen's assets, which can include coercing them to change an estate plan. Emotional abuse has to do with causing distress or anguish. Abandonment and sexual abuse are also possible.

3 ways to protect your elders from financial abuse

According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), elder financial abuse is on the rise. The Bureau says that suspicious activity reports involving elder financial abuse increased by a factor of four from 2013 through 2017. For California residents with elderly family members, this increase is a significant cause for alarm.

Senior citizens are ideal targets for financial abuse, especially if they insist on remaining in charge of their finances. Unfortunately, their family members often do not recognize potential abuse until the damage has already occurred. However, you can help keep your loved one's finances safe from such abuse while preserving the independence your loved ones deserve.

  1. Ease into discussions about your elder's finances slowly. If you appear to completely take over their financial responsibilities, you may encounter resistance. Some people request financial advice from their elders as a way to get these discussions started.
  2. Suggest to your elders that it would make you feel better if they put certain legal documents in place. Examples of such documents include powers of attorney, wills and/or trusts and health care directives. If your elders realize that your concern is real, they may be more open to taking these steps.
  3. Explain how streamlining their finances can help your elders keep an accurate track of how their money is used. Making money management as simple as possible helps your elders or you identify unusual transactions. Simplification will likely free up at least some of the time normally spent on bookkeeping, enabling your elders to engage in more enjoyable activities instead.
  • SFTLA | San Francisco Trail Lawyers Association
  • Canhr | Elder Justice Advocates
  • Super Lawyers
  • The Bar Association Of San Francisco
  • Consumer Attorneys Of California
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