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Elder Abuse: What the signs are and what can be done?

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Learn what elder abuse is, what the signs are and what can be done to stop it.

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Elder Abuse: What the signs are and what can be done?

  1. 1. Elder Abuse Presented by Sarah M. Allen Pabian & Russell, LLC sallen@pabianrussell.com265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  2. 2. Overview What is elder abuse?  Serious physical or emotional injury  Financial exploitation  The failure of a caregiver or an elder to provide for one of the necessities essential for physical or emotional well-being Who perpetrates it?  Family members and caregivers  Long-term care facility staff  Strangers 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  3. 3. Financial Abuse What is it?  “Acts of omissions by another resulting in a substantial monetary or property loss to an elderly person.”  Examples: Unauthorized use of checks or credit cards, stealing property, convincing an elder to make a poor investment or fake charity donation What are the signs?  Unpaid bills, missing property, inconsistent financial statements, unusual changes to an estate plan, etc. 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  4. 4. Emotional or Psychological Abuse What is it?  Causing emotional pain or stress for an elder  Examples: Name calling, verbal insults, threats, harassment, using the elder as a scapegoat, ignoring the elder, etc. What are the signs?  Easily upset or agitated, sudden changes in attitude or behavior, the elder is fearful of certain individuals, withdrawal or apathy, rocking or sucking behaviors  Caregiver suffers from depression or substance abuse 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  5. 5. Physical Abuse What is it?  The intentional use of physical force against an elderly person that results in physical pain or injury  Examples: Hitting, shoving, kicking, withholding medication, forcing an elder to consume drugs or alcohol, confining or restraining an elder What are the signs?  Bruises, complaints of soreness, sprains, broken bones, medical issues arising from medication mismanagement, rope marks, withdrawal or apathy, rocking or sucking behaviors 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  6. 6. Neglect and Self Neglect What is it?  Failure to provide the elder with the necessities of daily living, including adequate food and water, hygiene, shelter, clothing, medications and other essentials  Self-neglect was not classified as elder abuse by the Massachusetts legislature until 2004 What are the signs?  Poor hygiene, weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions, and unpaid bills 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  7. 7. A Growing Problem Massachusetts first established its elder protective service system in 1984  At that time, there were 1,500 reports of elder abuse  In 2011, there were 19,500 reports 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  8. 8. Prevention What Elders Can Do:  Execute a durable power of attorney  Hire trustworthy financial advisors and accountants  Enroll in direct deposit What Attorneys Can Do:  Unscheduled visits  Communication  Meeting with the elder alone  Referrals to support services 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  9. 9. Issues to Consider Who is your client? What does the elder wish to do? Legal remedies  Guardianship and Conservatorship under M.G.L. c. 190B  Petition for Protective Services under M.G.L. c. 19A  Restraining Orders under M.G.L. c. 209A  Referral to the district attorney’s office 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  10. 10. Elder Protective Services in Massachusetts Administration  Administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs  There are 22 protective service agencies (“PSAs”) in Massachusetts  Agencies investigate reports of abuse of adults ages 60 and older What happens when a report is made?  A caseworker is assigned to investigate  The elder, family members, physicians, and other close friends and family members are interviewed  If abuse is confirmed, the elder is offered services to address the situation  In serious cases, a report is filed with the district attorney 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  11. 11. Filing a Report Contact the local PSA during business hours or call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922- 2275, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week Some professionals have a mandatory duty to file a report  Failure to file a report may result in a fine 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com
  12. 12. Other Resources Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans (www.consumerfinance.gov) National Adult Protective Services Association (www.apsnetwork.org) Administration on Aging (www.aoa.gov) AARP Money Management Program (www.aarpmmp.org) National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org) Better Business Bureau Scam Stopper (www.bbb.org/scamstopper) 265 Franklin Street ▪ Boston, Massachusetts ▪ 02110-3113 ▪ Phone 617.951.3100 ▪ Fax 617.951.9929 ▪ www.pabianrussell.com

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