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Elder Abuse Red Flags | CA Litigation Attorneys

Elder Abuse Red Flags | CA Litigation AttorneysEvery community has a duty to protect its most vulnerable members, and that duty falls to each one of us. If we see a small child endangered, we know we have to act to protect that child and prevent further harm. The same rule applies for those who are less noticed in our society but just as vulnerable: the elderly. Senior citizens represent a growing segment of our population, and as their numbers increase, so too does the likelihood of their exploitation by predators. Elder abuse is a clear and present danger to California families, and the more we're informed on its warning signs, the better the chance we have of stopping it.

Elder abuse is proliferating due to the rise in the number of seniors, but it's still excruciatingly difficult to track down and prosecute. According to the 2015 Elder Justice Policy Brief at the White House Conference on Aging, only a dismal 1 in 23 cases are reported. There are a number of reasons why elder abuse is such an elusive crime: victims commonly experience feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion, a real condition of helplessness, and a paralyzing sense of fear. They often don't want to report their abuser to authorities. Why? Because the majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members. For that reason it's easier to conceal behind closed doors, while victims themselves remain silent out of fear for an uncertain future and love for the family member/abuser.

If elder abuse is not reported, however, the results will be tragic. Whether it's neglect, emotional manipulation for financial gain, or physical assault, abuse will ultimately result in everything from family fortunes being looted to outright murder. That's why it's so critical to take a preventive approach and keep a bad situation from escalating any further. The National Center on Elder Abuse lists the following factors as "red flags" indicating something's very wrong:

· Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions and burns;

· Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, sudden changes in alertness or unusual depression;

· Bruises around the breasts or genital area;

· Sudden changes in financial situations;

· Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss;

· Harmful spouse or caregiver behavior, such as verbal bullying, threats and other abuse of control;

· Frequent arguments between the caregiver and aging individual.

Above all, your vigilance is critical in stopping elder abuse, so be sure to watch out for your loved ones and neighbors. If we do nothing to prevent exploitation of our senior citizens, then tragedy will strike again, only to become another sad story on the evening news. Before that happens, contact the police or California Adult Protective Services. There's no excuse for elder abuse, and your quick thinking can ensure your loved ones are protected and bad actors are held accountable.

If you have an elderly family member who might be a victim of abuse or exploitation, you can call us at Hackard Law. We're dedicated to protecting elders and holding wrongdoers accountable. Our number is 916-313-3030. We'll be happy to listen and see how we can help you.

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