Every year millions of adults over age sixty experience some type of abuse. According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse “includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.”
Adults with dementia, however, experience a much higher rate of elder abuse.
According to the University of California, Irvine Center on Elder Abuse and Neglect, nearly one-in-two seniors with dementia, or roughly forty-seven percent, has been abused.
It defies belief that some people would harm the elderly, much less older adults with cognitive disabilities. Unfortunately, though, it does happen with more and more frequency.
These seniors are especially vulnerable because dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s Disease, can involve impaired memory, communication skills, and judgment.
Further, afflicted seniors are also less likely to report abuse and many might not even realize when abuse is happening to their person.
How can we work to prevent this from occurring to our Florida senior loved ones?
One of the best ways to protect a Florida senior from elder abuse is to proactively obtain a Florida durable power of attorney.
A power of attorney grants a designated person, like an adult child of an aging parent, the legal right to make decisions on his or her behalf. In general, it is one of the most important legal documents adult children of aging seniors can acquire to help a parent. Adding a durability provision ensures that the agreement can remain legally valid should the elder adult become incapacitated at any time.
Powers can be clearly defined, if needed. With respect to finances and health care, however, a durable power of attorney can allow for the hiring and firing of caregivers and health care providers, as well as, the ability to access bank accounts, investments and property, in order to hire professionals and pay bills. Using a watchful eye for signs of abuse, a durable power of attorney can provide the needed authority to act in an elder loved one’s best interests.
Your elder care attorney can also help construct a document that speaks to each family’s specific situation.
He or she can also provide valuable guidance about your Florida senior loved one’s rights should there be concerns about their elder care in the future. Of course, should you ever need to report elder abuse in Florida, do not wait. You can use this link to report abuse in the state of Florida.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to ask us your questions about this or any related elder care issue. We are your local community elder law firm here to help you get the support you need for yourself and the Florida seniors you care about.