Elder Abuse: Joanne’s Story
Since the death of her husband, day-to-day tasks like going to the bank or picking up groceries had become difficult for Joanne. Thankfully, Joanne’s home care worker, Nancy, offered to help with running errands and it made things much easier. Every other Tuesday, Nancy would take Joanne to the bank to deposit her check and withdraw cash and then drive her to the local grocery store to do her shopping.
When winter arrived the weather made it difficult for Joanne to get around with her walker. Nancy suggested to Joanne that it would be easier on both of them if Nancy just ran Joanne’s errands while she stayed home. Joanne agreed that it would be more convenient and started signing her pension checks over to Nancy who would then buy her groceries and deposit the remaining funds.
Several months later, Joanne realized that Nancy had not been depositing the remaining balance into her account. While Nancy did do Joanne’s grocery shopping, she had been pocketing the difference. When a check Joanne had written to her insurance provider bounced, she realized that Nancy had been dipping into her pension all along.
The Scope of Elder Abuse
Joanne’s story is one of many examples of how elder abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly can occur. Like many crimes that involve people in isolation, embarrassment prevents elder abuse from being reported to authorities.
Like Joanne’s story, most of the perpetrators of elder abuse are not strangers. Elder victimization can involve people known to the victim, which is why it often remains hidden. Financial exploitation of older people has emerged as a common and difficult issue because the elderly are more vulnerable due to medical needs, diminished mental capacity and often times they have more financial resources to exploit.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can take many forms and frequently more than one type of abuse occurs at one time. The two most common forms of elder abuse are financial, like Joanne’s story, and psychological.
- Financial abuse: Watch for sudden changes in banking activity and bank accounts or major changes to legal documents like wills and powers of attorney.
- Psychological Abuse: Watch for behavioral changes, agitation, withdrawal from social activities and non-responsiveness.
- Neglect: Watch for unkempt appearance, weight loss, dehydration and poor hygiene.
- Physical Abuse: Watch for unexplainable bruises, welts and other injuries in various stages of healing.
How to protect your elderly loved ones:
If you have concerns about your elderly loved one’s personal, emotional or financial safety and well-being, an elder law attorney can help you take immediate action. Whether a crisis has arisen suddenly or over time, Fingeret Law can assist you with reporting requirements and elder crisis management. If you are concerned that your loved one can no longer remain in his or her current care situation, we can help find alternative solutions to provide immediate protection.
If your loved one is suffering from elder abuse or neglect, we want to help.
Seek skilled legal support to protect your elderly loved ones:
To discuss your specific needs and to find out how our attorneys can help you, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.