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Debunking Common Elder Abuse Myths

Garcia & Artigliere

Ask any elder abuse attorney and you will quickly learn that elder abuse is a very real problem. However, a number of myths have circulated about this problem that makes it harder for loved ones and attorneys to protect the elderly well. We wish to debunk some of these myths so you can ensure your elderly loved ones are properly protected.

Myth #1 – Physical Abuse Is Obvious

If you walked into your loved one’s care facility and found them with a face full of bruises, you’d likely suspect abuse; however, bruises and other physical pain can be attributed to getting older. At the same time, physical abuse doesn’t always leave visible signs. Therefore, to determine whether abuse is occurring, you need to be vigilant both by asking questions and watching for signs.

Myth #2 – Older People Always Report Abuse

Don’t assume that your loved one is safe if she’s not mentioning abuse. In fact, one study published by the National Research Council indicated that only 1 out of every 14 cases of elder abuse is actually reported. Many times abuse happens at the hand of another trusted loved one or family member, and the elderly individual may fear to get someone they care about in trouble. If the abuse is happening to an elderly individual who is aging in place, she also may fear that reporting it will get her stuck in a nursing home.

Myth #3 – Those Living at Home Aren’t at Risk for Elder Abuse

Unfortunately, this is far from true. While some elder abuse does occur in nursing homes, it also occurs at the hands of trusted caregivers for those who are aging in place. You can’t assume that your loved one is safe just because they’re cared for at home.

Myth #4 – Smart, Educated Elders Aren’t Going to Be Victims of Scams

Con artists know how to fool everyone, even those who are highly educated and in full control of their mental faculties. Callers indicating the elderly individual owes money are a common type of fraud. Another common scam is to impersonate a younger relative of the older individual and ask for money for a serious problem. It would be a very heartless grandparent who would say no to their grandchild who was locked in jail overseas, and these scammers are quite adept at imitating the loved ones of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Scams involving the elderly hurt all involved quite deeply, so be aware of where your loved one is sending his money.

As you can see, understanding elder abuse can be tricky. If you suspect someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse, or are uncertain about this, talk to an elder abuse attorney to learn what your rights and responsibilities are. Contact Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 for assistance today.


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