Abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older Americans has increased nearly 150% in the past decade. Approximately 4 to 6 million older Americans are the victims of physical, psychological, and other forms of abuse and neglect each year, although experts believe that for every reported case, there are 23 unreported cases.
In Arizona, it is thought that 130,000 reported and unreported cases of elder abuse or neglect occur each year, including 70,000 in Maricopa County alone. Elder abuse takes many forms. Your loved ones can be abused at a nursing home or other long term care facilities. Arizona elder law allows abused elders and their families to pursue compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial harm that elder abuse inflicts. Do not let someone rob your loved one of his or her dignity and well living in an assisted living facility. Learn how you can hold abusers responsible during a free consultation with experienced Sun City assisted living abuse lawyers at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. Call us or send us a message to learn how you can protect the rights of a vulnerable loved one.
Common Types of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse Experienced in Arizona
The American Psychological Association recognizes five major types of elder abuse. These types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse: The use of physical force against an older person or vulnerable adult, such as hitting, slapping, shoving, or kicking them, constitutes physical abuse. So does the use of restraints, including chemical restraints (i.e., drugging a senior to incapacity).
- Verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse: Any nonphysical treatment that causes fear, emotional pain, or mental anguish is considered abusive. It can include name calling, making threats or insulting or disrespectful comments, giving the “silent treatment”, and coerced isolation.
- Sexual abuse: Rape is the most serious type of sexual abuse, but any unwanted sexualized behavior, such as inappropriate touching, taking photographs, making somebody look at explicit images, and sexual exhibition is also abusive.
- Financial exploitation: Anyone who deceives an elder or improperly uses their authority (such as a power of attorney) to defraud a senior could be committing financial abuse. Examples of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults can include scams, embezzlement, forgery, forced property transfers, and using a senior’s money to make purchases.
- Neglect: Failure by a caregiver to meet a senior’s physical, social, or emotional needs may be considered neglect even if it is unintentional.
What Characteristics of Abusers and Victims Should You Watch For?
While abused elders and those who abuse them do not neatly fit a single profile there are certain characteristics of each that can serve as red flags for concerned loved ones. According to the Arizona Attorney General, 90% of abusers are known to the victim, and more than two-thirds are relatives of the victim.
Abusers may also be:
- The victim’s sole or primary care provider
- Socially isolated
- Substance or alcohol misusers
- Forced to provide care and unprepared to do so or resentful of their duties
- Financially of emotionally dependent on the elder
- Previous abusers of other family members
Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect tend to be:
- Over 75 years old
- Physically or mentally impaired
- Widowed or divorced
- Inexperienced with financial matters
- In the same household as the abuser
- An incapacitated or vulnerable adult
How Can You Report Potential Nursing Home Neglect and Elder Abuse in Arizona?
Elders who are victims of abuse often remain silent about their abuse out of fear, self-blame, or in order to protect the abuser. Arizona’s Reporting Law makes it mandatory for certain people (doctors, nurses, social workers, and others) to report elder abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS), but concerned family members are also encouraged to report. To report abuse or neglect, you can:
- Call the APS Adult Abuse Hotline (877- SOS-ADULT), the Area Agency on Aging 24 hour Senior HELPLINE (602-264-HELP), or your local police department.
- File a report online.
Learn More About Sun City Elder Abuse
Additional resources can be found at:
- Arizona Senior Citizens Law Project
- Arizona Department of Economic Security
- Arizona Long Term Care Ombudsman
- Arizona Attorney General Task Force Against Senior Abuse (TASA)
Proving Fault in Nursing Home Neglect Cases in Sun City, AZ
Victims of elder abuse and their families must prove that the abuse alleged caused the injuries suffered if they are to receive compensation. An elder law attorney can collect evidence of the abuse, such as witness testimonies, photos, and any video taken of the incident to support the allegation. Additionally, medical records and documentation of injuries can show the effects of the abuse.
What Type of Compensation is Available for Elder Neglect Claims in Arizona?
Compensation for nursing home abuse victims is meant to help in the recovery process. This can reimburse assets wrongfully removed as well as pay for any medical procedures related to the treatment of those injuries caused by the abuse. Additionally, this compensation can pay for identifiable future medical bills, such as surgery, rehabilitation, and therapy.