What to Do When Siblings Take Advantage of Aging Parents

A sibling trying to take advantage
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  • Elder abuse is becoming increasingly common, with 1 in 9 seniors suffering from it each year.
  • Documenting evidence, such as physical, financial, medical, and psychological signs, can help prove mistreatment in court.
  • Legal action and gaining guardianship rights are essential to protect aging parents from exploitation.
  • Consulting a reliable adult guardianship lawyer is vital to ensure older adults’ safety and best interests.

Aging parents are increasingly suffering abuse from their children, whether physical, emotional, or financial exploitation. This type of abuse occurs when a child takes advantage of an aging parent’s trust and vulnerability to access resources that may benefit them financially or otherwise. It can range from verbal threats to physical harm or even coercing older people into taking out loans or signing over property ownership.

Sadly, elder abuse is increasing as the population ages and parents become more dependent on their children for caretaking. According to a recent National Council on Aging report, one in nine seniors will suffer abuse this year, and approximately 5 million older adults are used yearly. Older people living alone are especially vulnerable, with one study showing they were three times more likely to experience some form of mistreatment than those living with someone else.

If you notice that a family member is taking advantage of an aging parent, or if you are in danger of being taken advantage of, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Document Evidence

Improving evidence collection

When it comes to elder abuse, documenting evidence is critical in ensuring that victims are protected, and abusers are held accountable. Evidence can come in many forms, including physical, financial, medical, and psychological. Having documented evidence of abuse will make it easier to prove the allegations in court and protect older people from further harm.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence includes tangible proof, such as bruises or other injuries that could indicate mistreatment. It also includes photos or videos taken at the time and medical records showing a pattern of carelessness or neglect. Often physical evidence may be difficult to obtain due to the abuser’s attempts to hide or destroy it, so any physical signs should be reported immediately.

Financial Evidence

Financial abuse often occurs when an older adult is coerced into making financial decisions they would not have otherwise made. Unusual bank withdrawals and transfers, missing funds, and sudden changes in legal documents such as the power of attorney or wills all indicate potential financial exploitation. If needed, gathering bank statements and other paperwork concerning finances can provide evidence for these types of cases.

Medical Evidence

Medical evidence is significant when establishing a pattern of mistreatment or neglect. Medical records showing frequent visits for injuries or inadequate treatment can be used as proof that someone was taken advantage of medically. Additionally, keeping track of medical prescriptions and refills can help reveal any inappropriate medication use by an abuser.

Psychological Evidence

Psychological abuse may not always leave visible injuries but can still devastate an older adult’s mental health and well-being. Witnesses’ accounts describing feeling scared around the abuser and conversations about threats being made toward the victim are good examples of psychological evidence that can help prove a case against an abuser or caregiver in court.

Take Legal Actions

If you are in danger of being taken advantage of or suspect a family member is mistreating an aging parent, taking legal action can help protect the victim from further harm. Speaking to an attorney experienced in elder abuse cases can advise on the best action and options available to protect older people and their rights. Additionally, filing a complaint with Adult Protective Services is another way to alert authorities and receive assistance.

In addition to legal actions, ensuring safety protocols are implemented is vital. These may include creating better lines of communication between family members and the aging adult, limiting spending or financial decisions made by caregivers, or even finding alternate living arrangements if immediate danger is present.

Taking Over Guardianship

Seeking guardianship for aging parents

Aging parents can be vulnerable to abuse from their children, whether physical, emotional, or financial exploitation. Ensuring that aging parents are protected and provided with proper care and attention is essential. One way to do this is by gaining rights over them to provide additional safeguards against potential mistreatment.

Gaining guardianship rights over an aging parent can help ensure they receive the best possible care and consider their plan options. A reliable adult guardianship lawyer can help assess a situation and suggest the best action. This includes outlining a plan for health care decisions, financial management, and legal representation if needed. Additionally, having a guardian in place means family members have someone to turn to when difficult decisions need to be made regarding end-of-life care or other matters related to senior citizens’ rights and well-being.

In some cases, getting guardianship over an aging parent may require family members to show that they have the parent’s best interests at heart. This includes proving that medical needs are adequately met and that financial accounts are managed responsibly. Any evidence of mistreatment or potential abuse should also be reported immediately, as this could affect the likelihood of being granted guardianship.

Final Thoughts

Regarding elder abuse, taking action is essential to protect aging parents from exploitation. Documenting evidence and filing a complaint with the proper authorities can help ensure that abusers are held accountable, and victims receive justice. Additionally, consulting a reliable adult guardianship lawyer may be beneficial in gaining rights over an aging parent and ensuring their safety. These steps can help protect aging parents from mistreatment and exploitation by those they trust most.

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