June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Riverside County. In order to spread awareness and to provide tips for identifying elder abuse, the county is hosting a symposium later this month. According to a Patch.com article, officials from multiple agencies will speak at the symposium in order to teach attendees how to spot and prevent elder abuse.
The idea is that agency officials will talk about their work and highlight specific cases of elder abuse. One story that will be highlighted during this year’s symposium involves a 65-year-old-woman with cerebral palsy who became a victim of elder abuse. This woman was left under her cousin’s care but tragically was abandoned in an Inland Empire motel room. Apparently, the abandoned woman was unable to communicate and was trapped in the motel room until motel staff found her 24 hours later. When she was discovered, the abused woman had a fractured shoulder, was dehydrated, and needed food. The woman was placed under the care of Adult Protective Services and relocated to a nursing facility.
Riverside County hopes that stories such as this will help raise awareness about just how devastating elder abuse can be. In order to help prevent abuse in the future, the symposium had adopted the theme ‘Recognize It! Report It! Prevent It!’. While this is a catchy slogan, recognizing the signs of elder abuse is not always easy.
Tips For Identifying Elder Abuse
First off, it is important to recognize that abuse can come in many different forms. For example, older adults may be abused physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, or even financially. Additionally, victims of elder abuse may not report that they are being mistreated, therefore, it is important for everyone to be on the lookout for signs of abuse. According to Healthinaging.org, it is important to keep your eyes open for the following signs of mistreatment:
- Neglect: If an elderly person looks dirty, malnourished, or isn’t dressed appropriately for the weather.
- Financial Mistreatment: If a senior citizen engages in erratic spending patterns, fails to pay their bills, or is giving lavish gifts to a new ‘friend’.
- Physical Abuse: Look for unexplained bruises, burns, or bed sores.
- Emotional Abuse: If an elderly person is arbitrarily being kept from doing what they love, or has reported being intimidated, humiliated, or yelled at.
- Sexual Abuse: Look for anal or vaginal bleeding, or bruising around the genitals or breasts.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it is a good place to start. Additionally, be sure to lookout for sudden personality changes in older friends. This can involve an elderly person who was previously social but then suddenly refuses to have their friends over, or any other situation that appears to be troubling and is unexplained.
How Can We Help?
If you live in Southern California and suspect that elder abuse may have occurred, contact the experienced attorneys at the Case Barnett Law Firm. Our elder abuse lawyers are happy to help and can be reached at (949) 861-2990.