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Spokane Estate & Probate Lawyers / Blog / Elder Law / Elder Abuse Attorney – Get Help w/ a Neglectful or Problematic Caregiver

Elder Abuse Attorney – Get Help w/ a Neglectful or Problematic Caregiver

elder abuse attorney

Looking for an elder abuse attorney? We can help! However, first let’s discuss what abuse and neglect are, and what you can do about both.

An older adult is someone aged 60 or older. Elder abuse is a deliberate act or failure to act that causes harm or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. This kind of abuse often occurs at the hands of a caregiver, family member, friend, or other person the elder trusts. This is true even for local areas in Eastern Washington such as Kennewick, Yakima, or Spokane.

Commonly reported types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse  is an epidemic that often goes unnoticed. It encompasses acts of violence such as hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, and burning inflicted on older adults by the intentional use of physical force.
  • Sexual abuse  is any form of sexual interaction that is unwanted or forced upon an older adult. This can include anything from sexual harassment to contact or penetration without consent.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse  entails any behaviors, either verbal or nonverbal, that result in anguish, mental pain, fear, and distress for an older adult. These include humiliation or disrespect, verbal and non-verbal threats, harassment, and geographic or interpersonal isolations.
  • Neglect  describes   failing to meet an older adult’s basic needs, including food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.
  • Financial abuse  is the unlawful, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for someone other than the older adult.

Elder abuse is a severe issue in the United States, and we only have limited information on it because we only account for older adults who seek emergency treatment. We don’t include other medical providers or those that don’t need or didn’t receive treatment. Elder abuse attorneys fall into the category of “elder law“, and they can help you fight for the rights of the vulnerable. 

Moreover, many cases of abuse go unreported because elders are either too frightened or unable to tell anyone about the violence they’re experiencing. Victims have only two choices; stay silent and continue being abused by someone they care deeply about, or speak out and risk losing that relationship. We’ll talk about how an elder abuse attorney can help you later in the article. 

How to Recognize Risk Factors and Signs of Neglect or Abuse

Risk factors for elder neglect include:

  • Dementia or other issues that impact cognition
  • Being widowed, divorced, or having strained social relationships
  • Difficulty carrying out daily tasks
  • Chronic physical health problems
  • Money troubles or living in poverty

There are many warning signs to consider when identifying potential neglect victims, some of which may overlap.

Warning signs of elder neglect include:

  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Weight loss or signs of malnourishment
  • Decreased attention to hygiene
  • Feelings of hopelessness, fearfulness, or depression
  • Disorientation or cognitive problems
  • Hoarding can be a signal
  • Difficulty managing their finances

Neglect and abuse can have various adverse effects on adults and the elderly, from mild to severe. These may include:

  • Physical : Elder neglect can cause physical problems, such as untreated injuries or pressure sores, malnourishment, and worsening preexisting health issues.

  • Psychological : Elderly neglected individuals may experience mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress. These individuals may feel isolated and alone, leading to adverse psychological effects.

  • Social : Elderly individuals may face isolation, loss of social support, and loss of healthy social outlets. 

  • Financial : If an older person fails to manage finances properly, they may lose vital resources like heat or electricity, resources, or even a place to live.

Who is Being Abused Most Often, on Average?

While the majority of abuse victims are women, some are men. People who fit the following demographics are more likely to be targeted: older adults with no close family or friends, people with disabilities, and those suffering from memory problems or dementia.

Older adults who live with their abuser are much more likely to be abused than those who don’t. Most elder abuse occurs in the home, and abusers are often family members or caregivers.

Unfortunately, no one is safe from abuse, but those who rely on others for help with things like bathing and dressing are often targeted. This is because people who appear frail may seem like easy victims.

What To Do When You See Signs of Elder Abuse

If you believe an older adult is being neglected or abused, you can do a few things to help.

The first step is to talk to the elder about your concerns. This can be a difficult conversation, but trying to get as much information as possible is essential.

If the elder is in immediate danger, call 911.

You can also contact Adult Protective Services or the police. They will be able to investigate the situation and, if necessary, take action to protect the elder.

You can reach Washington State Adult Protective Services (APS) on their toll-free number at 1-877-734-6277

You can also reach out to a local elder abuse hotline. These hotlines are usually staffed by trained professionals who can provide support and information about what to do next.

Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney for Legal Options

Finally, you can talk to an elder abuse attorney about your legal options. An attorney can help you understand the laws in your state and what you can do to protect your elder.

If you suspect an elder is being neglected or abused, don’t hesitate to reach out for help to a local elder abuse attorney. Many resources are available to assist you and the older adults in your life. 

Elder abuse is a severe problem, and getting help is essential if you suspect someone you know is being abused. Our elder abuse attorneys in Kennewick, Yakima, or Spokane – can help you understand the laws in our state and what you can do to ensure your elderly loved ones are protected.

With the proper legal support, the elders in your life can be protected from further harm. Contact our office immediately if you suspect a loved one is suffering from a neglectful or abusive situation at  509-328-2150  or use our contact page to send a message. Again, contact 911 if the situation is dire and the police need to intervene.

There is a phone number on the  Benton Franklin Adult Protective Services website. You can also visit the DSHS site for additional information concerning  vulnerable adults.

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