Warning signs that an elder is being abused by a caregiver include bruises that cannot be explained, behavior changes, arguments between the patient and the caregiver, bedsores and unexplained changes in finances. If a person suspects elder abuse, she should notify the local police immediately. Caregiver laws protect the elderly patient from all forms of abuse, says California Elder Abuse Attorney Steven C. Peck.
Physical abuse occurs when the caregiver causes physical or emotional harm to the patient. This can be in the form of physical abuse, where the caregiver assaults the patient; sexual abuse, when the caregiver forces the patient to engage in unwanted sexual conduct; or emotional abuse, when the caregiver belittles the patient.
Elder abuse is a serious offense with penalties varying in each state. According to the Montana Codes Annotated, a first-offense elder abuse charge in that state is considered a felony with a penalty up to 10 years in state prison, $10,000 fine or both. If another person is aware of abuse and fails to report it, he may also held responsible.
Neglect occurs when the elderly person relies on the caregiver for all her needs and these are not met. These needs can include toileting, feeding, medications and ambulation. Neglect is when a caregiver knowingly refuses to care for the patient. This can include not providing food or medications, or allowing him to be alone for an extended period when she is the under the caregiver’s care. Neglect also occurs if the patient requires turning in bed every two hours to prevent bedsores and this is not done. The penalty in Montana is the same for neglect as it is for abuse.
Elderly patients and the families establish trust with their caregivers. This is how the caregiver can take advantage of the patient by either asking for money or convincing her to give the caregiver power of attorney over his finances. This is considered financial fraud. No person is to exploit an elderly person into giving him money or other financial assets.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.