Elder abuse is a major issue across the United States. Recent numbers released in New York State noted that only about one in 22 cases of elder abuse is reported, and aging individuals in other states like Delaware have similar challenges being heard. Those who are in a position to recognize elder abuse should know the signs of someone being targeted as well as the right steps to take within the limits of elder law.
Isolation is a major sign of elder abuse. This is when a person stops going to events or places they frequented before; for example, not showing up to church or seniors centers. This may signify that someone is being neglected or is suffering from depression due to abuse. People should also be on the lookout for bruises, burns, cuts or other wounds.
Anxiety and agitation with others is another sign, as seniors who are being taken advantage of may be confused or suspicious about their situation. Those involved in the financial industry or close family members may be in a good position to notice unusual spending patterns. Suspicious changes to legal documents, like wills and powers of attorney, should also be identified.
Those who are suspicious of elder abuse may have a few options available. Contacting a Senior Services Center or Crisis Center in Delaware may be an option, as well as contacting the police to report abuse. Seniors or their loved ones can also reach out to a lawyer to understand their rights and discuss their elder law concerns.