Skip to Content
Call For A Free Consultation 843-968-0886

Preventing Elder Abuse from a Distance

As our loved ones age, it might become more difficult for them to care for themselves. Many people who care for their aging family themselves choose to do so, but other people have obligations they cannot change. In those cases, some people choose to place their loved one in an assisted living facility where they can receive attentive and consistent care from trained professionals. Unfortunately, some people trusted with the responsibility of caring for elderly people take advantage of their power and abuse the people they are supposed to be caring for. If you have an elderly loved one in an assisted living facility, there are some actions you can take to make sure they are being treated well.

Defining Elder Abuse

There are different types of elder abuse, some which are easier to spot than others. Elder abuse has been broken into the following seven categories by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NECA):

  • Emotional: intentionally inflicting emotional pain or anguish through verbal (or nonverbal) means on an elderly person
  • Physical: Causing physical pain, impairment, or harm upon an elderly person
  • Neglect: Intentionally failing to give the proper care (medical or otherwise) to an elderly person, resulting in physical or emotional ailments
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial: Illegally stealing or spending money or assets from an elderly person
  • Self-neglect: Failing to prevent an elderly person from intentionally or unintentionally engaging in behaviors that are dangerous to their health or general well-being
  • Abandonment: When an assigned caretaker deserts the person they are supposed to be caring for without ensuring someone else will take their place

Although there are many potential ways an elderly person in an assisted living situation could be abused, keeping as strict of a watch over them as possible might prevent abuse from happening.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Considering the different types of elder abuse, there are many signs your elderly loved one might give to alert you that they are being abused. Here are some common signs to look for if you believe your elderly loved one is being abused in assisted living:

  • Bruises, broken bones, cuts, burns
  • Less alert, symptoms of depression or anxiety, withdrawal from their normal activities
  • Sudden unexplained changes in their spending or financial need
  • Money or personal property going missing
  • Collection or late payment notices
  • Genital bruising or injury, such as infections
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Expressing fear or contempt for one or more caretakers

If you notice any of these signs coming from your loved one, consider investigating the situation further to find the cause of the issues and work towards fixing them, either yourself or with the help of law enforcement.

How You Can Watch for Elder Abuse from a Distance

If you have a loved one in an assisted living situation far away from you, it would be reasonable for you to worry about their well-being and whether they are being cared for as expected. There are some things you can do to check on your loved one to ensure that they are not being abused by those caring for them.

Frequent Visits

This is easier said than done for many people, but if you can, plan visits with your loved one, as frequently as possible. If you can see them in person, you can note any changes to their physical well-being and alertness that they might try to hide over the phone or that they might not be able to verbally express to you depending on their age. Some elderly people try to hide such things because they want to protect their loved ones from worrying or because they fear losing more of their independence. A visit with your loved one in person can tell you a lot about how they are really doing, from the state of their living quarters to how they are presenting physically.

If you are unable to see your loved one in person as frequently as you’d like to, there are some other options you can look into to monitor how they are being treated.

Hire More Caregivers

An elderly person who has the need for assisted living should also be provided with a trustworthy and experienced care team, which is a group of people given the task of caring for all aspects of the elderly person’s life. Creating a care team and keeping their contact information up to date can be an essential tool for making sure your loved one is being cared for properly. You may ask family or friends to join the team because they have easier access to your loved one in person, or professionals who can check for the mental and medical well-being of your loved one. Here are some examples of who you should consider adding to your elderly loved one’s care team:

  • Siblings
  • Close friends
  • Adult children
  • Spouse
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers specializing in Elder Law
  • Social Workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Home Health Aids

Add Surveillance

The addition of technology to monitor how your loved one is living can be very useful, if used correctly and ethically. Smart home products such as camera doorbells and smart speakers can be helpful in identifying exactly who is coming into your elderly loved one’s space, and security systems can be helpful in monitoring their caregivers to make sure they are treating your loved one well. Some older people may consider this a violation of their privacy, but they may come around to the idea if you explain to them that it is for their safety. You can also monitor your loved one’s banking online, but only if they have given permission for you to access that information.

Take Action

If you feel like you have done everything in your power to ensure that your loved one is safe and being taken care of, but still suspect that something is wrong, contact law enforcement as soon as you are able to do so. They will be able to launch a full investigation into the state of your loved one’s living quarters, the people entrusted with their care, and more.

If you have an elderly loved one who has been abused and you are looking to speak with an attorney, contact Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC today. With over 100 years of combined experience litigating difficult and complex cases, we look forward to hearing your case and providing you with high quality legal representation. We understand that knowing your loved one has been abused in a space meant to provide them with care is devastating, and we will work with compassion and empathy to represent your case and seek justice. You can contact us at (843) 968-0886 or via our contact page.