Here at our law firm, we advise family members and other interested persons about steps to take when they suspect some kind of abuse may be going on with an elderly loved one. We also represent senior citizens themselves as well as their family members, guardians or conservators who are seeking legal remedies like lawsuits for financial exploitation or for neglect or abuse in a care arrangement.
Abuse is wide ranging
It is true that elder abuse or neglect comes in many forms and can happen at the hands of a wide variety of people in an elder’s life. There are so many different living situations for elderly Coloradans and each brings its own opportunities for exploitation.
The person you are concerned about may live alone at home or with a relative or friend. The elder may have informal or formal structures in place for care assistance.
A wide variety of living and care options exist out there with a range of structure and support. An elder may live in a senior assisted living community with minimal need for medical, housekeeping or dietary assistance, or in a full-service nursing home if he or she has advanced physical or mental impairments.
Regardless of the arrangement, their vulnerabilities make them targets for unscrupulous people, including spouses, relatives, friends, caretakers and strangers.
Types of abuse
Elder abuse can take many forms:
Signs and symptoms to watch out for
- Unexplained bruising, marks, cuts, burns or more severe injuries
- Unusual or abrupt changes in behavior or mood
- Social withdrawal
- Suspicious activity in financial accounts, or missing property or money
- Evasive, uncooperative or argumentative staff
- Bedsores, poor hygiene, weight loss, poor housecleaning
- Verbal abuse by relatives or caregivers
- Inadequate supervision or staffing
- Failure to follow medical orders
- And more
What to do?
In an emergency, it is of course necessary to call 9-1-1 for law enforcement and emergency medical services. The elderly victim may need immediate medical intervention or police services may be required to apprehend a wrongdoer, stabilize an emergency situation or gather evidence of crime. Management of any facility or service provider involved should also be immediately notified.
In Colorado, a report may be made to Adult Protective Services or APS to start official investigation of and intervention into suspected abuse or neglect or to act if someone is at risk. Certain professionals like doctors and therapists are mandated by law to report suspicions of elder or neglect to law enforcement.
At our law firm, we assist clients in practical responses to stop abuse and neglect. Does a new living arrangement need to be made? Does the family need to find a different in-home care company? Does a guardian or conservator need to be appointed? Would a financial power-of attorney be appropriate? Does there need to be financial planning for the potential need for Medical Assistance to pay for institutional care?
In the long run, would a personal injury or other kind of lawsuit be an appropriate step to seek compensation for injury, pain and suffering or financial loss?
An experienced Colorado lawyer can help to assess the situation and take immediate steps.