Elder abuse refers to any caregiver that inflicts harm or poses a serious risk of harm to an older individual. This can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, and theft.

These inexcusable acts can be perpetrated by strangers, in-home caregivers, and even friends or family members of the elderly person.

While many signs of elder abuse are physical, there are also many non-physical signs that can be harder to identify. For this reason, it’s important to visit and speak with your elderly loved one on a regular basis.

Here are some of the most common signs to look out for that may indicate that your loved one has become a victim of elder abuse:

  • Bed sores, broken bones, bruises, sudden weight loss
  • Isolation, depression, mood swings, personality changes
  • Poor hygiene, dirty clothes or bedding
  • Improper administration of medication
  • Unexpected changes in their financial situation, inability to pay their bills, unusual purchases

If you have any reason to suspect that your loved one is being abused, it’s important to take immediate action and remove them from the abusive environment as quickly as possible.

In addition to securing the safety of your loved one, you should also notify the proper authorities. This may include:

Local Law Enforcement: If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 right away.

West Virginia Adult Protective Services: You can file a report with Adult Protective Services (APS). This state agency conducts formal investigations into reports of abuse in homes and elder care facilities.

A Charleston Elder Abuse Lawyer: Once your loved one is safe and you’ve assisted them in getting any medical attention they need after an act of abuse, please consult a Charleston elder abuse lawyer at Stewart Bell, PLLC. Our office has extensive experience handling cases of elder abuse in Charleston, Huntington, and surrounding West Virginia communities and can help you demand justice from the responsible party.

If APS believes that your loved one’s situation merits an investigation, they will assign a caseworker to carry this out. From there, they can provide any necessary services to ensure the safety and well-being of your elderly loved one.

The National Center on Elder Abuse revealed that there were over 14,000 reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in 2014 alone. However, this number is likely higher, as many cases of elder abuse happen behind closed doors and go unreported due to the vulnerable physical and mental state of the victims.

Elder abuse is an epidemic in this country, and it’s up to you to take action to protect your loved one and seek justice on their behalf if the unthinkable happens.

As your elderly loved one ages, it’s important to do your research, understand their rights as a senior citizen, and know the signs of abuse and who to call if you ever suspect they’re being mistreated.

Our elderly citizens deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Spending time with your loved one and maintaining regular contact is key to helping ensure they’re receiving proper care. The more involved you are, the more likely you are to spot any changes in behavior or their physical well-being.

In an already difficult time, you should never have to worry about being able to afford quality legal representation to get justice for your loved one. At Stewart Bell, PLLC, our Charleston elder abuse lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. This means it won’t cost you anything to hire our team. We’re committed to helping victims of elder abuse and their families across West Virginia fight for the compensation they deserve for any damages associated with the abuse. You’ll never owe us anything unless we win your case!

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For more than 30 years, the lawyers of Stewart Bell, PLLC have helped the people and businesses of West Virginia protect their interests and rights. We understand the issues that injury victims and their families face after an accident and work quickly to obtain the MAXIMUM amount of compensation for every case we handle.

We have recovered MILLIONS of dollars for clients injured because of nursing home abuse, motor vehicle accidents or medical malpractice.

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