CHICAGO ELDER ABUSE ATTORNEY
Elderly Abuse Attorney in Chicago
Unfortunately, elder abuse is common, and the number of reported cases are probably only a small fraction of the actual number of instances. The elderly are easier targets for abuse because of their declining health and mental states. They often suffer from ailments such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, that may cause memory loss and subsequently be taken advantage of. They may also have an increased need of attachment, even if this means clinging to an abusive caregiver. Because these cases are so sensitive, it’s important to hire an experienced elder abuse attorney for your case.
Elder abuse often goes unreported as a result of mental or physical inabilities, as well as embarrassment or shame about the abuse. Whether the abuse is intention or not, if you suspect elder abuse, it’s your duty to report it. A Chicago elder abuse attorney at Curcio Law Offices is here to help you defend your loved one and get them the compensation and care they deserve. Call our office today at 312-321-1111 to schedule your free consultation.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to a single or repeated act that causes harm or distress to an older person. It can also be a single or repeated lack of appropriate action that causes the same outcome. In cases involving elder abuse, a relationship and expectation of trust exists between the elder and the offender.
Elder abuse is widely acknowledged as a growing and severe problem in our culture. Unfortunately, determining the magnitude of this problem is difficult because of underreporting, differences in the definition of elder abuse, and the lack of a countrywide consistent reporting system. The National Center on Elder Abuse identifies seven forms of elder abuse. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect are all examples of elder abuse. If you suspect that a loved one suffered harm, call an elder abuse attorney in Chicago right away.
Types of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Abuse can be classified in a variety of ways, each with varying degrees of severity. An elder abuse attorney can help you recognize the signs of abuse. However, there are seven different forms of nursing home abuse.
- Physical abuse: When someone hits, pushes, or slaps another person, they are committing assault. It might also mean restricting an elderly person against their will, such as shutting them in a room or tying them to furniture.
- Sexual abuse: This involves caregivers forcing the older adult to take part in or observe sexual acts.
- Emotional abuse: We also refer to this as psychological abuse. It can include caregivers saying hurtful words, threats, yelling, or even ignoring the elder. Also, if caregivers keep them from seeing their friends at the care facility, that is emotional abuse.
- Financial exploitation: When an older adult’s money or things are taken, this is considered elder financial exploitation. Forging checks, stealing someone else’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using someone else’s credit card/bank accounts without their consent are all examples of this abuse. It also involves altering names without authorization on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or property title.
- Neglect: Neglect happens when a caregiver fails to react to the needs of an elderly person. This might involve denying physical, emotional, or social requirements, as well as withholding food, medicine, or health care access.
- Abandonment: This involves leaving the older adult alone without help and without planning for their care.
- Self-neglect: This involves behaviors of the older adult which threaten their safety or health.
What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse can take various forms, making it difficult to detect. Physical injuries, unfavorable behavioral changes, and inexplicable transactions are all common indications of elder abuse. Families can better protect their loved ones by knowing about all of the warning signs of elder abuse. Strange and unexpected changes in an older loved one’s mental, physical, or financial well-being are the most prevalent warning indicators of elder abuse. The indications of elder abuse differ based on the sort of elder abuse that occurred. General signs and symptoms include the following.
- Cuts, bruises, broken bones, or other injuries
- Weight loss or malnourishment
- Poor hygiene
- Anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Loss of money and unexplained purchases or transactions
- Withdrawing from friends and family members
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Cuts or scrapes
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Sores or pressure marks
In situations of physical damage, loved ones should check on their elderly relatives on a regular basis and exercise their best judgment. To cover up the abuse, caregivers or nursing home staff members may pretend that something else caused the injury.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Hesitations to speak freely
- Withdrawal or isolation from others
- Explaining injuries in ways that are implausible
- Anxiety, depression, anger, or fear
Family members should be aware of a senior’s emotional well-being when they move into someone else’s care. Emotional abuse might be the cause if the elder’s happiness and overall mood deteriorate in a worrying way.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
- Large amounts of money missing from bank accounts
- The elder does not have access to their financial records
- Providing gifts or money in exchange for company
- Unexplainable transactions or purchases
If feasible, have a trustworthy financial expert or family member monitor the elderly person’s accounts and inquire about any suspicious activity. If the senior is unable to explain the disappearance of cash, they may be the victim of financial exploitation.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unexplained STDs
- Bruises around the genitals or thighs
- Irritation, pain, or bleeding of the genitals
- Inappropriate relations between the elder and their caregiver
To keep their parents, grandparents, or other older relatives safe, family members should confront any suspected incidents of sexual abuse as soon as possible.
Signs of Neglect
- Pressure ulcers or bedsores
- Caregivers leaving the elder in bed for long periods of time without care or supervision
- A lack of food, water, or basic hygiene
- Missing medical equipment or mobility aids, like dentures, walkers, glasses, medicine, or hearing aids
- Unsafe or dirty living conditions, including a lack of plumbing, lack of heat, unclean bedding, or bugs
While the indications of elder abuse and neglect are similar, the latter is typically caused by a lack of care rather than malicious intent. However, neglect may be just as detrimental to the health of an older loved one, especially if the illness lasts for months.
Risk Factors for Elder Abuse
While anybody over the age of 65 can be abused or neglected, some are at a higher risk than others. The following are some of the risk factors for elder abuse.
- Age: According to a 2014 medical study by Northwestern University and Rush University researchers, those over the age of 80 are more likely to be victims of elder abuse.
- Caregiver: If a caregiver lives with the elder adult, depends on them financially, uses and abuses drugs, or has a criminal record, they are more likely to commit elder abuse.
- Gender: Women were more likely to be victims of elder abuse, according to a 2014 Chicago research. According to the World Health Organization, women may also be subjected to more severe forms of abuse over longer periods of time.
- Health: Poor physical and mental health issues, such as dementia, fall into this category. According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), around 50% of dementia sufferers endure elder abuse or neglect.
- Isolation: According to a report from the DHS (Department of Health and Human Services), around 13 million older individuals lived alone in the U.S. in 2015. Those who live alone or withdraw from others might be more at risk of suffering abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse?
If your loved one is in immediate danger, always call the police. Please inform someone if the risk is not urgent, but you think abuse has occurred or is occurring. Contact the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or police about your concerns.
In Illinois, we have a statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline. Call 1-866-800-1409 or 1-888-206-1327 to report abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. If you live in a nursing home and suffered abuse, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Nursing Home Complaint Hotline at 1-800-252-4343. Include the following information in your report.
- Victim’s name, address, phone number, sex, age, and condition
- Alleged abuser’s name, age, sex, and relationship to the abused
- Circumstances that led you to believe that abuse occurred
- Whether there is immediate danger to the elder adult, or to the case worker going to investigate
- Whether or not the victim is able to make a report themselves
- Name, phone number, and profession of the abuse reporter
- Names of other individuals with information about the incident
- Other relevant information
How to Prevent Elder Abuse
There are several elements that might enhance or lessen the likelihood of elder abuse perpetration and/or victimization. To prevent elder abuse, we must first identify and address the variables that put people at danger of violence, as well as the elements that protect them from it. Below, we list the ways in which people can help prevent elder abuse.
- Listening to older adults and caregivers in order to understand the challenges of each, then providing support
- Report abuse, suspected or actual, to the appropriate authorities
- Educate yourself and others about the signs of elder abuse, as well as how to report it
- Read up on the signs of elder abuse versus the signs of a natural aging process
- Check on elder adults who might have few or no friends or family members
- Provide support for caregivers who are overburdened
- Encourage those with drug or alcohol problems to get help
Contact Curcio Law Offices For Help Today
If you suspect that a friend or loved one is a victim of elder abuse, it’s important to take legal action to protect his or her rights. Choosing a Chicago elder abuse attorney that can best represent them is crucial to ensuring they receive fair compensation and have the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 312-321-1111 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.