Phoenix elder abuse attorneys representing the rights of injured residents of¬†Chandler, Glendale, Tucson, and Yuma.
With Americans reaching retirement age in record numbers while simultaneously taking advantage of medical advances designed to increase longevity, many more families are facing questions surrounding how best to care for their oldest members. It is no longer the norm for families to provide elder care in the home, considering that most work outside the home during the day and cannot provide the attention their loved ones require.
As a result, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other senior living environments often represent the best options for ongoing care. Sadly, far too many of our aging family members suffer unspeakable neglect and abuse while in the care of those who are supposed to provide dedicated, compassionate care. If your family member has experienced this type of mistreatment or harm, the help of a Phoenix, AZ elder abuse lawyer can prove invaluable. At Wattel & York, our personal injury lawyers in Phoenix believe in providing seniors with the protection and fierce legal advocacy they deserve.
Alarming elder abuse statistics raise concern
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse in the United States, upwards of one half of all nursing homes in the country are understaffed, and patient abuse of one form or another is occurring in approximately 30 percent of nursing homes and other senior care facilities. Unfortunately, those statistics may not even reveal the full scope of the problem, considering that only 20 percent of actual instances of abuse and neglect are ever reported by victims or their families. When mistreatment occurs, an AZ personal injury attorney possessing significant experience aggressively pursuing elder abuse cases can be a senior citizen’s best ally.
Common types of elder abuse
Elder abuse occurs whenever a caregiver inflicts any type of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial harm on an older individual. Intentional neglect of a senior citizen is another form of elder abuse which also can produce serious injury or premature death. In order to remain vigilant and sensitive to the signs of abuse in your aging loved ones, it is important to become familiar with common categories of abuse and neglect, including:
- Verbal or psychological abuse: this can run the gamut to include name calling, threatening, belittling or shaming an older individual. Any actions intended to cause anguish, distress or emotional pain in a senior citizen can properly be considered abusive. Shouting, cursing and insulting an aging patient are all unacceptable caregiver behaviors as are any actions intended to isolate a senior from his or her family members.
- Physical abuse: instances of physical abuse of elders may include slapping, pushing or even using strong restraints on a senior citizen. Any activity resulting in needless pain or harm to the elderly individual can be considered abuse, even if purportedly done for their benefit. Physical punishments or the improper administration of medications can also be considered abuse in senior living environments.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse elder abuse¬†is a shocking, yet alarmingly common form of elder abuse and can include anything from inappropriately suggestive comments to actual rape. Coercion of sexual contact, nudity or forced exposure to pornography are all actions constituting sexual abuse, and are sadly among the offenses many senior citizens feel too ashamed to report.
- Caregiver neglect: this type of elder abuse can include¬†withholding of attention to purposefully failing to provide nutrition, hydration, medication or hygiene assistance.
- Financial abuse: this category of elder abuse involves everything from misuse of a senior citizen’s personal funds to formal embezzlement. Forgery, fraud, denial of access to accounts or purchasing of goods without permission are all modes of financial abuse caregivers may employ against those to whom they are supposed to be providing care.
Recognizing the signs of elder abuse
It is not always easy to spot the signs of elder abuse, particularly in patients already experiencing declines in lucidity and communication skills. However, there are certain signals which may point to a problem and must always be investigated further, including:
- Poor hygiene and body odor
- Unexplained weight loss
- Burn marks
- Financial distress
- Behavioral changes and increased aggression
- Sudden withdrawal from activities and relationships
Though the appearance of one or perhaps more of these signs is not necessarily indicative of abuse, it is important for family members to remain vigilant and to always stand ready to intervene on their loved one’s behalf.
Phoenix elder abuse lawyers can help
The proliferation of senior care facilities shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. With large segments of the population reaching the age at which such settings become more and more necessary, it is vital that we all help safeguard the well-being and safety of our nation’s elderly. The elder abuse attorneys of Wattel & York proudly pledge to champion the interests of the aged across Arizona, working tirelessly to protect their rights and to seek accountability from caregivers who have failed in their duties.
If you or someone you love has been subjected to neglect, abuse, or maltreatment of any kind and any other type of abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility in Arizona, your best option is to arrange a free consultation with a Wattel and York Arizona¬†injury attorney.
Give us a call today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation. We understand that it may be difficult for you to get to our office, and one of our lawyers¬†will be happy to meet with you at your residence.