As a recent article points out, elder law is a “serious and growing problem we know too little about and, worse, too often ignore.” The article explores how various communities are attempting to deal with situations of elder abuse, whether they be physical, financial, or emotional.
A caregiver’s first instinct may be to call the police. This is what happened when a paid caregiver for an 85-year-old man discovered that the man’s adult son was drinking heavily, using drugs, and brought a handgun into the house. The caregiver informed her home care agency, who alerted the Adult Protective Services (“APS”) Staff for the community. Rather than investigate, APS called the police. The police informed the care worker that, unless “something happens,” they would not be able to do anything.
When the police are unable to intervene in a situation of elder abuse, it is important to find a different way to confront the problem. Often, the key challenge is finding a safe place for the elder to live free from any abuse. The solution may be to move the senior citizen into a care facility away from the person who is perpetuating the abuse. The first step towards ensuring the senior’s safety, however, is paying careful attention to the senior citizen so that you will be aware of any abuse that is occurring.