If You Suspect Elder Abuse: Reporting and Investigating Abuse (Part 3)
In Parts 1 and 2 of our series on Elder Abuse, we discussed the prevalence of elder abuse and how to prevent it. In this final part, we will explore what to do if you suspect elder abuse is currently occurring.
If you thoroughly screen your care provider, you’ve greatly reduced the chances of abuse occurring. However, there are no guarantees and in some cases, it may not be possible to choose your caregivers, whether for family or financial reasons. We previously listed some of the signs that can indicate elder abuse is happening. But if you suspect it is happening to your loved one, what should you do?
First of all, if you believe there is an life-threatening situation, don’t hesitate to call 911 or the police immediately. The police and/or social workers can investigate and intervene if there is an immediate danger.
Unfortunately, we have heard from families who have reported abuse but the police were unable to come up with enough evidence to pursue a case. Law enforcement resources are stretched across the country, and oftentimes, with high caseloads, they do not have the manpower to concentrate on your case. In this situation, retaining a private investigator may be appropriate. A private investigator will prioritize your case and devote the necessary time and resources into investigating the situation and finding the evidence you need to stop the abuse or hand over to the authorities for police investigation and possible prosecution.
If you are unsure whether your loved one is being abused, an investigator can use a variety of techniques and tactics to discover the truth, including installing hidden cameras, conducting surveillance, interviewing potential witnesses, reviewing medical records, and examining financial accounts. With these techniques, a private investigator can discover evidence to either confirm your suspicions or put your mind at ease.
Sadly, in our experience, when someone suspects abuse is occurring, their intuition is usually correct. And if abuse is occurring, it is critical to act quickly so that your loved one doesn’t suffer any further.