Serving the Los Angeles Area Since 1987

How Can Elder Abuse be Prevented?

With countless individuals suffering from elder abuse every year, taking a proactive stance can help many victims gain freedom from abuse, or prevent it altogether. A large portion of cases go unreported each year for many reasons. The abused victims often feel unable to speak up on their own from fear that no one will listen, being nervous about causing problems, feeling like they have nowhere to go or being physically or mentally unable to do so. It is important for other people to keep an eye out and look for any suspicious details. When others do not speak up, it leaves the victims in the harmful position.

Elderly individuals may be enduring the abuse from a loved one or someone that the family knows. When growing old, some people are not given the same care and consideration, or the allegations they make may be overlooked by those that just assume they are old and are fabricating the issue. Older individuals are not always given a voice or the platform to speak up about the abuse that they are enduring. It can also be a cultural issue where they do not feel that they can say anything because of the social expectations. Speak with a Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer about the legal aspects of a case and when compensation should be pursued.

What are some warning signs?

The person that you look out for may be a loved one, a friend or simply an acquaintance, but regardless of how close you are with them you always want to be aware of any potential warning signs and take action if you see them. Warning signs may be recognized in the behavior of their caregiver, the appearance of where they live or in the older person themselves. If the elderly person is being looked after by a caregiver, take note of their interaction together. Does the caregiver seem to be dominant over the elderly person? Do they speak harshly to them? Often times if a person is willing to be harsh in public, how they interact when it is just them and the older individual can be escalated.

When a person is being cared for at home, signs may be that they never seem to leave, the home is not kept up or repaired or there seems to be a lot of people living there. An elderly individual may let someone live with them for the purpose of being looked after, and when they open their home this gesture is abused and the home is taken over. Another main way that signs can be recognized is in the appearance and behavior of the elderly person. The following are some important things to look out for:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnourishment
  • Behavior changes
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Less money
  • Broken bones
  • More reserved behavior
  • An aggressive attitude
  • Bruising
  • Injuries they have trouble explaining

Overlooking the Signs

It is easy to explain away concerns and believe that nothing is wrong instead of helping an elderly person. One of the main ways that this can be done is through physical signs. If they have bruising or other injuries, many people assume that it is simply because they are older and can be injured more easily. If an elderly person is unwilling to tell others about the abuse, they may come up with stories about how they got these, but these can usually be discovered as being unconvincing stories is further inquiries are made. The changes in their behavior can be overlooked as well and some people assume that it is just the change in their age that is making them quieter or cranky. While not every suspicious detail is in fact a sign of abuse, it is generally better to be on the safe side and make sure that there are no deeper issues.

What are the risk factors?

There are certain details that can put a person more at risk for experiencing abuse or for someone being the perpetrator of abuse. One thing that can be dangerous is isolation. An elderly person may not have the ability to commute on their own and they are dependent on the person caring for them to get where they need to be. When growing older, many people can experience having fewer relationships or not keeping as close of contact as they once used to. Without someone continually checking up on them, no one may know if they were hurt or isolated.

Friends and family members should continually keep up contact with an elderly person. This will increase their chance of being able to determine if the elderly person is being kept away from others, if they appear to not be getting enough nutrients, if they are continually ill or if they have an ongoing issue of being injured. Individuals that are the ones caring for the older person can be more at risk for being abusive if they have a history of aggressive behavior, if they have a mental illness, an issue with alcohol abuse, have trouble coping with problems, were abused as a child, have insufficient training for their position, are dependent on the elderly person or they have low social support.

What Can You Do Before Hand?

You do not want to wait until the abuse has already taken place and someone has had to become a victim of it. When care is needed for a loved one, the process should not be taken lightly and those that are going to be put in the position of caring will need to be checked before taking on the responsibility. Recommendations should be sought for a nursing home and it should have a good track record for taking care of residents and dealing with workers that are unfit for the position. If it is an individual that is caring for the elderly person, they should not have a history of any alarming behavior, they should be continually checked on and it is best that they are not someone in a financially difficult position. Being proactive is critical and it can stop a tough situation from happening before it begins. Contact our office if you or your loved one has endured any type of abuse and we will review your case free of charge.