Practicing Law With a Passion for the Rights of the Individual

Arizona Elder Abuse And Neglect Prevention Guide

Recognizing Signs Of Elder Abuse

What you may have once dismissed as simply the signs of getting older, may be something more - elder abuse or neglect. The following guide may help you determine whether your loved one is a victim of elder abuse.

Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse can be the most obvious to detect. Take notice of any open wounds, cuts, bruises, welts, discoloration, or broken bones. If the facility staff cannot adequately explain what has happened, you should take steps to investigate into suspected elder abuse. Also, take note of any sudden change of behavior in your loved one. If he or she begins to cower when certain staff members approach, that could be a sign of physical elder abuse. If you witness someone engaging in elder abuse towards your loved one or another resident, take immediate action.

Emotional Elder Abuse
Emotional elder abuse may be more difficult to recognize. Signs of elder abuse can be your loved one acting unusually upset or agitated, extremely withdrawn, or noncommunicative. If you notice unusual behavior, like rocking in bed or sucking a thumb, you may be witnessing the aftershocks of serious emotional elder abuse. If your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, he or she may not tell you what is happening due to fear of retaliation from facility staff.

Elder Neglect
Elder neglect can also be difficult to determine. If you notice your loved one losing weight and becoming listless, he or she may not be getting the nourishment and food needed to maintain good health. Dry, cracked lips and skin can be signs of inadequate hydration and the need for more fluids. To detect other signs of elder neglect you may have to familiarize yourself with some of your loved one's more intimate areas. You may need to discretely examine undergarments and skin to see if they are soiled with feces or urine. Residents who lie in their waste are much more likely to develop preventable pressure sores.

If you recognize any of these signs of elder abuse and neglect, your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse. There are steps you can take if suspect elder abuse or neglect:

  1. Contact the administration of the Arizona facility. Express your concerns and problems regarding potential elder abuse immediately and demand action be taken to counteract elder abuse.

  2. If you do not get any response from the Arizona facility regarding your elder abuse suspicions, you should contact the Arizona Aging and Adult Administration Department (contact information below) to file an Arizona elder abuse complaint. The state will visit the facility and investigate the suspected elder abuse. Be sure to follow-up with the investigator to see what actions are being taken to prevent elder abuse.

  3. You should also contact the Arizona Ombudsman. The Arizona Ombudsman serves as a resident advocate and supports Arizona residents' highest possible quality of life. The Arizona Ombudsman is also responsible for investigating Arizona elder abuse complaints and attempting to resolve concerns of Arizona elder abuse made by, or on behalf of, Arizona residents.

Elder abuse in any form should not be tolerated. You should take any and all steps necessary to protect the safety of those you love from elder abuse, including moving the resident to another facility. If you suspect elder abuse, you may need to take steps to enforce your legal rights.

Don't stand for elder abuse or neglect. Take action.

Resources Available to Victims of Elder Abuse or Neglect in Arizona: Listed below are resources in Arizona that can help you ensure you or elders in your care remain free from Arizona elder abuse:

The Aging and Adult Administration provides information and services to seniors within Arizona through Adult Protective Services, Benefits Counseling, Long Term Care Ombudsman, Program Legal Services Assistance, and the Older Workers Program/Title V. Each of these services assists in accomplishing the administration's number one goal to provide opportunities for keeping vulnerable adults and older persons in their homes and communities.
Adult Abuse Hotline - 1-877-SOS-ADUL
Aging and Adult Administration
1789 W. Jefferson, Site Code 950A
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Wilkes & McHugh, P.A.
Arizona elder abuse attorneys at Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. have represented many victims of elder abuse and neglect and their families. Our Arizona elder abuse lawyers have received national recognition for our efforts on behalf of victims of elder abuse.

Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. has helped thousands of families achieve justice when their loved ones were the victims of elder abuse. If you suspect someone you love is the victim of elder abuse, call Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. at 800-255-5070 or click here to have an Arizona elder abuse attorney contact you.