Protecting Florida’s Elderly from Harm
Individuals who have reached a certain age in life deserve to retire and rest comfortably, living out the rest of their days safely and fully. Unfortunately, aging comes with many physical and mental challenges that can render a person vulnerable, and some individuals and entities take advantage of this fact. Elder abuse is more common than you’d think and can happen to older adults both dependent and independent. According to national statistics, approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse, but one study estimates that just 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported. In many cases, abuse occurs at the hands of those the victim trusts the most and relies on. If you or someone you love is being abused, you deserve justice from a team of Fort Lauderdale elder abuse attorneys that genuinely care about clients. Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A. has served individuals and families faithfully throughout Florida and is prepared to protect your rights to compensation after you’ve incurred damages both financial and emotional.
Contact our team online or by phone at (954) 905-4600 to get the help you need today. Our consultations are free and confidential and can be conducted in English or Spanish.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to either intentional acts or neglect that causes harm to older adults who are aged 60 or older. Though elder abuse cases often refer to instances of physical injury, abuse can take many different forms that result in damages and have severe physical and emotional effects on an older adult.
Elder abuse commonly refers to:
- Physical abuse: An older adult can experience physical abuse after they’ve suffered injuries, illness, or some other type of pain or distress from physical force. Physical abuse can include slapping, pushing, kicking, hitting, and burning.
- Financial abuse: This refers to the mishandling of an older adult’s money and financial assets such as property, benefits, and belongings. It’s often obtained illegally and used for reasons other than helping the older adult.
- Sexual abuse: Any unwanted or forced action of a sexual nature with an older adult is considered sexual abuse. Abuse can include penetration, sexual contact, and non-contact actions like sexual harassment.
- Neglect: Failing to meet an older adult’s basic needs is considered neglect, which falls under the category of elder abuse. Individuals can be held responsible for negligence when they fail to provide older adults with clothing, shelter, food, water, and hygiene.
- Psychological or emotional abuse: Any actions or behaviors that inflict distress upon an older adult like fear or mental pain is considered emotional abuse and can include harassment, threats, and humiliation.
Another form of elder abuse is confinement, which occurs when older adults are restrained or isolated for reasons that have nothing to do with their health or safety. All forms of abuse can happen to any older adult, though research shows that people who have no family or friends nearby to check up on them or disabilities are more likely to be harmed.
Signs of Abuse
Some older adults who are being abused are unable to ask for help, whether they are ashamed, incapacitated, or don’t realize they’re being mistreated. It’s important, then, to know the signs of abuse or neglect. You may want to talk with them when you’re both alone if you’re concerned and seek medical attention as soon as possible if they’re injured.
Common signs of abuse include:
- Looking disheveled with dirty clothes or unwashed hair
- Displaying signs of trauma
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, burns, or scars
- Mounting unpaid bills despite having the means to pay them
- Loss of weight for no reason
- No longer enjoying hobbies or favorite activities
- Becoming agitated or socially withdrawn
- Signs of restraint or punishment, like broken glasses
Who Abuses Older Adults?
Both women and men can abuse older adults, and oftentimes the abuser is a family member. This is especially true in instances of financial abuse, which can involve an adult child stealing money from their parent or persuading them to sign documents that unknowingly give them money or control of their accounts.
Other parties commonly found guilty of elder abuse include:
- Caregivers: We trust caregivers to treat our loved ones with respect, but sometimes people who care for older adults take advantage of them. Caregivers can include family members, neighbors, full-time workers, or volunteers.
- Nursing homes: Nursing home abuse is fairly common, and a facility can be held responsible for damages if it can be proved that they didn’t train their staff properly or maintain their premises. Other elder care facilities include hospitals, state institutions, and daycare centers for adults.
- Medical professionals: Doctors, nurses, dieticians, and physical therapists can be held responsible for abuse or neglect if they give their patients an inadequate standard of care.
Our elder abuse attorneys in Fort Lauderdale understand this may be an emotionally upsetting time for you and your family and are able to handle the paperwork, evidence collecting, and other details of your case so we can get the compensation you deserve.