Abuse of the elderly is a silent and dangerous epidemic that is still growing in the United States. Many people do not know how to report elder abuse. Some may know how to report elder abuse, but they choose not to out of fear. On this page, you will discover tips and resources you can use to know how to report elder abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse: When Should I Be Concerned?
Before examining how to report elder abuse, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms. Physical abuse can be easy to spot due to injuries suffered. Blatant neglect can also lead to physical injuries.
Though not as easy to detect, cases of emotional abuse can leave behind lasting psychological damage that can take even longer than physical injuries to heal. If you have any suspicion that someone is being treated unfairly and their basic human rights are being violated, it’s important to know how to report elder abuse.
How to Report Elder Abuse: Police
If a situation is so severe that health and safety are being threatened, there is no debate on how to report elder abuse: contact your local police department. Older Americans can be defenseless, fragile and frail, and the abuse can be so extreme that it can potentially be fatal.
The victim needs to be taken away from the situation immediately, and police will remove the person from the facility and place them in protective custody. If you suspect an elder is being physically injured or otherwise neglected, alert police or dial 9-1-1 as soon as possible.
How to Report Elder Abuse: Protective Services
When thinking about how to report elder abuse, most people may not realize that there are state agencies that have specifically been created to handle such cases. Every state in the union has a form of Adult Protective Services. These agencies all have toll-free numbers that were created to report elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. All calls can be anonymous and confidential.
How to Report Elder Abuse: Elder Law Attorneys
When considering how to report elder abuse, people may never think that contacting an attorney is a good way to go. In fact, notifying an attorney who specializes in elder law can help in many ways.
If an attorney determines that the residential facility should be held responsible for the financial expenses you incurred as a result of the abuse, they will fight on your behalf for the damages you are entitled to.
A lawyer can also use their public standing to serve as an advocate against the facility. Simply by speaking to an attorney, you may stop further abuse that is going on while also potentially stopping abuse in the future.
Elder abuse is a sensitive and painful subject. More is being done today to combat the problem, but too often it is kept quiet and out of the public eye. By knowing how to report elder abuse, you help give a voice to the victims that have otherwise been silenced.