It can be shocking to suspect an elderly person has been abused or neglected, and you may not know how to react. The following will inform you about what to do if you suspect elder abuse.
We strongly recommend talking to an elder law attorney for guidance before acting. Anything you say to anyone can become evidence if a legal proceeding develops. An elder law attorney can provide valuable advice on who to contact in what order and the exact details needed to make the intervention the most effective possible.
If it appears that a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, there are a few steps you may take to better assess whether abuse is in fact occurring.
You should first speak with your loved one. Your loved one has the greatest potential to reveal to what extent abuse or neglect have occurred. Victims can be intimidated by threats to keep quiet, however. The abused may also suffer from medical conditions that make recall difficult or inaccurate.
Keep a journal of your discussion or record it. Document the date and time of every conversation you have about the matter and your impressions of the outcomes. Record all new developments as well.
Be aware of the most common signs of abuse and neglect. We have compiled the following guides to recognizing signs of abuse and neglect:
Make a record of anything that may indicate elder abuse or neglect. The evidence may include:
Never think that any detail is too small. Let professionals with experience in these situations make that call. What may seem small to you may be a very significant signpost to a professional.
Again, speaking to an elder law attorney may be advisable before addressing the administration of the nursing home or assisted living facility depending upon the strength of your evidence. Be aware that most if not all nursing home administrators have been well trained about how to protect the legal interests of the facility.
The goal of addressing the administration is to give them an opportunity to offer an explanation and take immediate action. Hopefully, that will bring a close to the matter.
If the action taken by the administration of a nursing home or assisted living facility seems insufficient or incomplete, you may consider contacting a New York State Ombudsman for further assistance. Remember that everything said to an ombudsman may also become evidence in a future court proceeding, so be aware of the legal implications.
The National Center On Elder Abuse also provides many helpful resources regarding resources in New York.
It is advisable to contact an experienced elder abuse lawyer before talking to anyone else. The leadership of the nursing home or assisted living facility has been trained about how to protect their legal interests, so it's only fair that you have the same protection for your interests.
The attorneys at Banville Law have dealt with instances of elder abuse and neglect over many years. We know how to interact with facility leadership and their likely responses. We can guide you through this difficult time.
We handle these matters with great compassion and sensitivity, but we're equally experienced at preserving the evidence of elder abuse or neglect and pursuing your legal rights. We're your voice for justice in a court of law, and we take that responsibility quite seriously. For a free consultation, contact us today.