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June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

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Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Bexar County.


How to Spot Elder Abuse and What to Do About It

1 in 10 adults ages 65 and older is expected to experience some form of elder abuse in the United States.

Elder abuse takes many forms and can be difficult to spot. In simple terms, elder abuse is any act by another person that causes harm to an older adult. It can simply be neglectful or it may be intentional. Either way, the senior citizens of Texas have a right to live free of abuse.

In a recent news report, Dr. Leo Lopez III of University Health reported that Bexar County leads the state in reported elder abuse cases. Dr. Lopez also stated that many more cases likely go unreported and that these numbers are unacceptable.

Regardless of how old you are or what part of Texas you live in, you can do your part by learning the signs of elder abuse and what to do if you discover a senior citizen is being abused.

Common Signs of Elder Abuse: What to Watch Out For

Elder abuse is a broad term that encompasses a lot of harmful behavior. Because of this, it is typically broken down into 3 categories: abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Spotting Abuse

Physical abuse includes things like involuntary seclusion, physical punishment (beating, pinching, slapping), verbal harassment, and sexual abuse. Warning signs of abuse include:

  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety,
  • Seclusion from family members,
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries,
  • Burns,
  • Staff delaying visitation,
  • Flirting/inappropriate relationships between the caretaker and the patient,
  • Staff restricting patient access,
  • Becoming withdrawn,
  • Torn clothing,
  • Or blood stains.

If you notice these signs, physical or emotional abuse is likely taking place.

Spotting Neglect

Neglect occurs when the caretakers are not providing services or things necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm. Signs of neglect will include things like:

  • Bed sores,
  • Appearing disheveled or dirty,
  • Appearing underfed,
  • Being over- or under-medicated,
  • Suffering from a treatable medical condition.

If you notice these signs, the senior is likely being neglected.

Spotting Exploitation

Senior citizens often need help with their finances, so it isn’t uncommon for someone else to make financial decisions for them. However, seniors must give express permission for this to happen, and they are often taken advantage of by “friends” or nursing homes.

The most common signs of exploitation are sudden changes in spending habits or banking patterns and unexplained large sums of money missing from bank statements.

What to Do About It: How to Report Elder Abuse in Texas

 If you believe you or someone you know is suffering physical or mental abuse and in immediate danger, immediately call 9-1-1.

If you believe that a senior citizen is being abused, do not remain silent.

The first step is always to talk to them about your suspicions. However, seniors will often feel afraid to speak up for fear of punishment. Who you will call to report the abuse (or your suspicion of abuse) will depend on what kind of facility the senior is receiving care from.

  • Not in a Health Care Facility — Call Adult Protective Services at (800) 252-5400.
  • Long-term Care Facility that Revieves Medicaid Funding — Call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (800) 252-8011.
  • Nursing Home/ALF/Home Health Provider — Call the Texas Department of State Health Services at  (800) 458-9858.

Seeking Legal Help for Elder Abuse in Texas

Regardless of what type of abuse you or your loved one has suffered, you have the right to seek legal help. Depending on the circumstances of the abuse, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries.

Especially in cases where the elder is in a nursing home or assisted living facility, cases of elder abuse can become complicated. It is difficult to go up against a facility and its insurance carrier, which will have legal teams to back them up.

Hiring an elder abuse attorney in Texas will level the playing field.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Abuse? Call Carabin Shaw Elder Abuse Attorneys Today

Elder abuse cases are on the rise across Texas. Don’t hesitate to get help.

Carabin Shaw has represented those abused and neglected in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across Texas for over 30 years. We put our clients first because we care. Call our team for a free case evaluation to find out the legal options available to you at 800-862-1260. We look forward to serving you.

Contacting a Carabin Shaw attorney is free and does not obligate you to work with the firm.

¹KSAT Report

²Texas Attorney General Resources on Elder Abuse

³NIH Signs of Elder Abuse


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