One type of abuse in America that is rarely spoken of is elder abuse. Yet it is not uncommon: one out of every 10 older people in the United States will suffer some type of abuse, and every year there are two million elder abuse cases reported. From nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect to issues of long-term care planning, Social Security management, and guardianship, an elder abuse attorney can be the best choice for senior citizens and their loved ones to protect themselves and their families. Here’s what you need to know:
What Does an Elder Abuse Lawyer Do?
An elder abuse lawyer does more than simply prosecute the case if an older person has been harmed in some way. They are also experts and specialists in the needs and challenges of America’s older adults, which are often quite different from the challenges and needs that younger adults face. There are issues of estate planning, financial management, planning for guardianship or long-term healthcare, retirement issues, and assisted living facility monitoring that an elder care lawyer knows all about and can help you with.
What Are Some Specific Ways They Can Help?
If you’re having trouble envisioning what exactly an elder abuse lawyer can help you with, then read on:
- They can explain to you your rights as a residence in a nursing home.
- They can help you to draft a living will or other directives for end-of-life care.
- They can make sure that your power of attorney issues are perfectly clear so that there will be no problems if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
- They can explain to you the importance of estate planning and wills as well as help you figure out what to do if you’re heir is a minor.
- They can help prosecute a lawsuit against the healthcare facility or worker for abusing the elderly in their care.
- They can help you locate a long-term care facility and figure out how to manage the costs.
- They can help if you’re going to need to appoint a legal guardian for a child or grandchild.
- They can even help you if you are experiencing age discrimination or disability discrimination.
What Should I Ask a Potential Elder Abuse Lawyer?
As you’re choosing the right elder abuse lawyer for your family and your needs, there are some questions you should consider asking. Ask any potential elder abuse lawyer what percentage of their law practice is elder law. This will give you an idea of how expert they are in the field. Ask them how long they have been practicing, not just law in general, but particularly law related to elder abuse. If a company or lawyer is just switching over from another field into the field of elder law, they might not be able to help you navigate all of the important issues and complications that can come up. It’s also important to ask whether an elder abuse lawyer is willing to do home visits, as this may become crucial if an elderly family member is disabled in some way. You’ll also want to ask whether or not you can expect to work directly with the person you’re speaking with, or whether your case will be generally given over to someone else in the office. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to know before you begin. Finally, ask any potential elder abuse lawyer whether they are a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
Your rights as a senior citizen need to be protected and the laws are in place to do so. Navigating those laws and understanding your rights can be difficult, however, so if you feel taken advantage, have been abused in some way, or are worried about safeguarding your rights and needs for the future, look for an elder abuse lawyer in your area who can help you.