Georgia’s senior citizens deserve to live out their golden years without worrying about their safety. Unfortunately, many of these vulnerable citizens suffer from severe abuse and neglect. In many cases, this abuse occurs at the hands of those closest to them. It is estimated that 10 percent of all seniors have suffered abuse in their lifetime.
If your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a caretaker, acquaintance, or even a family member, they could have a claim for monetary damages. To maximize this claim, it can help to understand the nature of elder abuse as well as how to prevent it.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is any negligent or intentional act that causes harm or the risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Abuse can occur at the hands of caregivers or nursing home staff. In some cases, neighbors or family members could be responsible. There are five general categories of elder abuse. While not every act of abuse will slot neatly into one of these categories, for the most part, one of these categories will apply. The categories include:
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse includes any act that causes pain or suffering. This form of abuse commonly involves striking, slapping of choking.
- Sexual abuse. Any non-consensual sexual act is considered sexual abuse. This form of abuse is unfortunately common and underreported among seniors, as many have difficulty with communicating.
- Emotional abuse. Abuse can occur even without physical injuries. Any words or gestures, including threats of violence, that inflict pain or distress on a senior are forms of emotional abuse.
- Financial abuse. Financial abuse is the unlawful use of an elderly person’s assets. It can be as simple as stealing cash out of a purse, or as complex as fraudulently convincing a senior to rewrite their will.
- Neglect. One of the most devastating types of abuse is neglect. Neglect involves withholding necessary care from a senior.
Steps to Prevent Elder Abuse
While elder abuse can be devastating, it is also preventable in many cases. By taking the appropriate steps, you could reduce the risk that one of your elderly family members will be abused. The three most important steps for preventing elder abuse include:
- Avoid Isolation. The more contact your loved one has with friends and family, the less likely abuse is to occur. What’s more, your loved one is more likely to report abuse.
- Keep Elderly Citizens Active. Remaining active will help elderly family members stay mentally sharp. This mental acuity will go a long way in helping a senior protect themselves or report wrongdoing.
- Help with Finances. While seniors have the right to manage their own finances, do not hesitate to offer assistance if they need it.
How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
By taking steps to protect your loved one, you could greatly reduce the chances of abuse. However, when abuse occurs an attorney could help your loved one hold their abuser accountable through an injury lawsuit. To discuss your options, contact the attorneys at WILLIAMS | ELLEBY by calling 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542).