Seniors are extremely vulnerable to abuse; this is why it’s important to speak with an elder abuse lawyer in New York if you suspect something is wrong. Due to the sharp decline in mental sharpness and physical fitness brought about by old age, they become very reliant and dependent on others for their needs. Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to take care of them may sometimes be the main perpetrator of elder abuse.
If you have a loved one who you believe is being subjected to elder abuse, it may be time to take action by engaging the services of an elder abuse lawyer.
What is elder abuse?
The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”
Abusive actions committed against an elder is much more common, but as elder abuse lawyers in New York will tell you, elder abuse may also take the form of inaction or neglect. This means that elder abuse may sometimes be subtle or even unnoticeable. A careful evaluation of the situation by an elder abuse lawyer may be needed to detect these subtle forms of abuses.
Types of elder abuse
Elder abuse comes in different types ranging from overt abusive acts against old people to less noticeable forms of abuses. Listed below are the common types of elder abuse:
- Physical abuse. This involves the infliction of physical force or violence against the elder. Punching, hitting, slapping, or kicking the elder is physical abuse. Visible injuries or scars on the elder might indicate that he/she has been subjected to this type of abuse.
- Mental or psychological abuse. Abusive acts that affect the emotional or psychological well-being of the elder falls under this category. Throwing insults, intimidating, threatening, or humiliating the elder constitute as mental or psychological abuse. This form of abuse may be hard to detect as there are often no physical signs to help you discover it. Fear or anger against the caring relative or caregiver by the elder might indicate some form of mental or psychological abuse. Emotional withdrawal by an elder who is usually of good disposition may also be another sign.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual harassment or assault against the elder may also be possible due to their vulnerable physical and mental state. There might be physical indications of this abuse as when force or violence was used in the process. Similar indicators for mental or psychological abuse might also be present due to the trauma that this kind of abuse inflicts to the elder.
- Financial abuse. This is perhaps one of the most common types of elder abuse. Financial abuse involves the spending and utilization of an elder’s money or property for the perpetrator’s own profit or personal gain. Elder financial abuse may take the form of scams such as tricking the elder into signing a power of attorney which cedes financial control to the abuser.
- Abandonment or neglect. Elder abuse does not always entail an abusive action against the elder. There is still abuse when an elder is neglected or abandoned by the person charged with his/her care. For example, there is neglect when an elder is not provided the necessary medication or medical assistance for his/her health condition. An abuser might also completely abandon the elder leading to a deprivation of basic needs.
Remedies against elder abuse in New York
To protect your loved one from elder abuse, legal action would often be required to stop the perpetrator from continuing the abuse against the elder. A competent elder abuse attorney will take into account the unique circumstances of your case before advising you of the proper legal step to take. Hence, the potential legal remedies will vary.
For instance, if the elder is a victim of financial abuse, a possible legal remedy might be to petition the court to appoint you as your loved one’s guardian. Being a guardian will allow you to have control over your loved one’s financial affairs. This will make it extremely hard for the abuser to continue taking advantage of your loved one since you will now be managing the finances.
An elder abuse lawyer might also suggest the filing of the appropriate criminal charges against the abuser under state or federal law. This will ensure that the perpetrator will not be able to avoid the consequences of his/her actions. A lawsuit to recover damages against the abuser might also be possible.
How an elder abuse lawyer in New York can help you
Quick and decisive actions are necessary to combat elder abuse. As such, dealing with elder abuse would often necessitate legal action as to require the intervention and assistance of a competent elder abuse lawyer. An elder abuse attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your loved one and formulate the appropriate legal remedies to address the situation.
If you know or suspect that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse and would want to consult with an experienced elder abuse lawyer in New York, you can call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.