As we age, so do our parents. At some point, you begin to worry as much about your parents as they once worried about you. If you are at that point, you are likely spending a considerable amount of time and energy worrying about the very real possibility that one of your parents could become a victim of elder abuse. To help you keep your parents safe, our Elder Law Attorneys at the Collins Law Firm discusses what you can do to help protect your parents from elder abuse.
The Reality of Elder Abuse
As millions of Baby Boomers move into their retirement years, the problem of elder abuse has gained a significant amount of attention in the U.S. Compiling accurate figures relating to elder abuse is difficult for several reasons, including the reluctance of victims to report the abuse for several reasons. Nevertheless, experts believe the following facts and figures to be conservative figures relating to elder abuse:
- 1 in 10 older Americans (age 60+) will suffer some type of elder abuse this year.
- There are estimated to be over 2 million instances of elder abuse each year, not including financial exploitation.
- 5 million seniors are the victim of financial exploitation each year.
- More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected.
Protecting Parents from Elder Abuse
If you have elderly parents, you undoubtedly want to prevent elder abuse before it occurs. The following tips will help you to do just that:
- Talk openly about the issue. Sit down with your parents and have a very frank discussion about the issue of Elder Abuse. Do your homework ahead of time and have some facts and figures to share. Emphasize that one reason predators and abusers target the elderly is because so many elderly individuals are too ashamed or embarrassed to come forward and report the abuse. Reassure your parents that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that the best way to take away an abuser’s power over victims is to expose him/her.
- Educate family and friends. Sit down with family members and friends and make sure everyone is aware of the Elder Abuse issue. Go over signs of abuse so that everyone knows what to look for and create a plan to ensure that someone is checking on your parents on a regular basis.
- Do your homework. Before you hire an in-home healthcare worker or choose a Long-Term Care facility (LTC), make sure you research the individual/facility first. In the State of California, contact the California Department of Public Health to check a nursing home for complaints.
- Make your presence known. Whether someone else is caring for your parents at home, or your parents are in an LTC facility, make sure that you (or another family member) drop in unannounced on a regular basis to keep caregivers on their toes.
- Do not ignore or dismiss concerns. Above all else, do not hesitate to report any concerns you have to the appropriate person or authority. The old adage “better safe than sorry” applies in this situation. If you suspect that your parent is being abused, speak to a supervisor or administrative staff immediately about your concerns. If those concerns are not alleviated immediately, make a report to the appropriate law enforcement agency and consult with an experienced California elder law attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact The Collins Law Group
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions about elder abuse, consult with our Elder Law Attorneys. Contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 or go online at collinslawgroup.com to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.