The popular TV drama, Better Call Saul, has brought much-needed attention to the financial exploitation of the elderly by Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. Jimmy McGill, the attorney who eventually becomes Saul Goodman, learns that his clients are being grossly overcharged for basic supplies, such as Kleenex ($14 per box), aspirin ($22 per bottle), and toilet paper ($3.50 for a single roll) by Sandpiper Crossing, an assisted living facility. He sues Sandpiper Crossing and works tirelessly on behalf of his clients to get them financial reimbursement and to prevent Sandpiper Crossing overcharging in the future.
The scenario in Better Call Saul is all-too-real for many seniors. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of seniors experience elder abuse every year. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (www.ncea.aoa.gov), most elder abuse fits into one or more of the following broad categories:
- 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 elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
- Sexual abuse - Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors.
- 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.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to abuse because they are more likely to be cognitively impaired and socially isolated. The National Center on Elder Abuse also tells us that the presence of one or more of the following red flags could indicate an elderly person is being abused:
- Change Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden change in alertness and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional 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 or those who should be in a position of trust are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
If you suspect that an elderly person is being abused, you should contact a good attorney as well as Louisiana's Elderly Protective Services ("EPS"). EPS investigates suspected elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, much like Child Protective Services investigates suspected cases of child abuse. When individuals who cannot care for themselves are harmed, the victims may use the judicial system to punish their abuser and prevent any further abuse.
If you are a concerned relative or friend of an elderly person you believe is suffering from abuse in the Louisiana area, we'd like to hear from you. Contact us online or call us at 504-527-6225 TO SET UP A FREE CONSULTATION.