As our population ages, many families find the need to hire caregivers to assist with the care of their loved ones when they become ill, incapacitated or otherwise in need of regular assistance. Although there are many wonderful caregivers, there are just as many who are not. Some studies suggest that up to 10 percent of the elderly population that receive caregiving suffer some form of elder abuse. Unfortunately, many instances go unreported, so elder abuse might be even more common.
"Elder abuse" refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Elder abuse might include any or all of the following:
- Physical Abuse – Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
- Emotional Abuse – Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
- Sexual Abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
- Exploitation – Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
- Neglect – Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.
- Abandonment – The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.1
There are some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem, including:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
Markle Investigations offers measures to prevent elder abuse as well as services to investigate suspected elder abuse through the use of comprehensive background checks, caregiver "spot checks" and short or long-term surveillance. We work closely with family members, legal counsel, forensic accountants and, if necessary, law enforcement and other state agencies.