According to a study by the National Council on aging, about 10 percent of every senior citizen of 60 and above have suffered or are suffering elder abuse.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is any action, continuous actions, or inaction on the part of a trusted party who is supposed to be responsible for an older adult, of which such action or inaction results in discomfort or harm to the older adult.
Types of elder abuse
There are different ways an elder can suffer abuse. Knowing each type will help you or your loved one know when abuse has occurred in order to take any necessary step.
The seven prevalent types of elder abuse as described by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) are:
- Physical elder abuse: This occurs when an older adult is subjected to physical pain intentionally by another person. It often leads to bodily harm or in more serious cases, death.
- Financial elder abuse: There is financial abuse when a person in a trusting relationship with the older adult intentionally, illegally and improperly uses the funds of the elder for their own selfish gains, disregarding the needs of the elder.
- Negligence: There is negligence or elder neglect when a person who is supposed to be responsible for an older adult fails to act as expected of them, or fails to protect them from harm through carelessness, and such inaction consequently results in harm to the adult.
- Elder abandonment: This type of elder abuse is sometimes intertwined with neglect. However, elder abandonment occurs when the person who is supposed to be responsible for the older adult consciously and intentionally deserts them without informing the relatives or home facility, or making any formal agreements.
- Psychological and emotional sexual abuse: This are acts which produces fear, intimidation, or mental pain to the elder.
- Sexual elder abuse: This occurs when an older adult is coerced against their will to be involved in sexual acts with and by another party or parties.
- Elder self-neglect: There is elder self-neglect when the elder can no longer care for their own personal needs but does not take any step to ensure they get help. The elder simply neglects himself or herself.
Elder abuse laws effective in Florida
Elder abuse in Florida is covered by the Florida Statutes, Chapter 415, which is known as the Adult Protective Services Act. When there is any allegation or report of elder abuse in Florida, this Statute instructs that the Florida Department of Children and Families must begin investigating into the matter within a day of receiving the report if the report requires it. For serious cases, the elder is immediately protected right where they are. The investigation should not exceed 60 days.
Chapter 825 of the Statutes defines intensified abuse of an incapacitated or older adult as a first degree felony. It also defines elder neglect (negligence) resulting in physical harm of the older adult as second degree felony.
Reporting elder abuse in Florida
If you or your loved one who is an elder suffers abuse from anyone, be it a child, relative, or personnel in a home care facility, do not hesitate to contact and report your case to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs any time of the day on this phone number: 1.800.962.2873. The last five digits are spelled “ABUSE”.
If you wish to report online, click https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us
On their request, you must give detailed information regarding the abuse and the persons or parties involved. Note that the whole thing is confidential, so you need not worry about the accused knowing and abusing you all the more.
Sadly, the majority of the accused parties of elder abuse cases are the relatives of the elder
According to a report by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the majority of those accused of elder abuse are the children, grandchildren and other relatives of the older adult. This is sad but expected. However, about 2 out of every 10 cases occur in a home facility.
Get help from an elder law attorney Florida
Sometimes, you and your loved one would require more than just investigation, but also legal back up in litigating your elder abuse case, especially when you are going up against a reputable home. Whatever the case is, kindly contact our Florida-based law office to obtain legal help from an elder law attorney.