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When your elderly family members need help: Is someone hurting Grandma?

If you grew up near your grandparents, you probably have very fond memories of spending time with them. But as they aged, they may have started experiencing health problems or cognitive issues. For example, Grandma may have some form of dementia that makes it impossible for her to take care of herself.

Grandpa may have had several strokes leaving him unable to communicate and struggling to manage finances. Often family member try to help in these situations, but just as frequently, they hire caretakers or financial advisors whom they then rely on to care for the elderly family members.

When someone you love is vulnerable

This may seem like a wise solution. And, certainly, in some circumstances it can be. But some startling statistics have been reported from the World Health Organization regarding elder abuse. Their research has shown that 16 percent of people over the age of 60 have experienced some type of age-related abuse. These kinds of abuse include:

 

  • Psychological: Including name-calling, restricting access to friends and family and destroying the person’s property.
  • Financial: This includes misuse of the elderly person’s funds, property or other assets.
  • Financial neglect: This can include failing to make housing payments, pay medical or utility bills, or provide the person with food or clothing.
  • Sexual and Physical abuse: This may include being hit or slapped by caregivers, or being fondled or touched inappropriately.

Is there help?

Fortunately, there is a growing area called Elder Law that helps combat such incidents. Parents and grandchildren of elderly family members can ask an attorney to address their concerns.

For example, an attorney can review financial documents, inspect nursing homes and ask for appropriate records and pursue legal action if evidence suggests there malfeasance is occurring.

This legal area can help family members be more assured of good quality care and appropriate fiscal management.

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