What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is any action or inaction on the part of a party who is supposedly responsible for the care of an elder, of which such action or inaction results in harm to the elder.
How to report elder abuse in Florida
To report elder abuse in Florida, you could make a phone call or do so online. To do it by phone, contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs on 1.800.962.2873. The number is open round the clock. To report on behalf of a loved one or any senior citizen, press 2 when prompted during the call.
To report elder abuse in Florida online, click on the following link: https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us
On their request, you must give detailed information regarding the abuse and the persons or parties involved. Note that the whole thing is confidential, so you need not worry about the accused knowing and abusing you all the more.
Laws regulating elder abuse in Florida
Elder abuse in Florida is covered by the Florida Statutes, Chapter 415, which is known as the Adult Protective Services Act. When there is any allegation or report of elder abuse in Florida, this Statute instructs that the FDCF must begin investigating into the matter within a day of receiving the report if the report requires it. For serious cases, the elder is immediately protected right where they are. The investigation should not exceed sixty days.
Chapter 825 of the Statutes defines intensified abuse of an incapacitated or older adult as a first degree felony. It also defines elder neglect resulting in physical harm of the older adult as second degree felony.
The Florida statute has also established a body to coordinate prevention of elder abuse throughout the state. This body is known as the Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator and can be reached via the following:
- Aging & Disability Resource Center of Broward County | 954.745.9567 | 5300 Hiatus Road, Sunrise, FL
- Miami Alliance for Aging | 305.670.6500 | 760 NW 107th Avenue, Suite 214, Miami, FL
- To obtain free legal advice for elders, contact The Florida Department of Elder Affairs on: 888.895.7873.
Types of elder abuse
There are different ways an elder can suffer abuse. Being educated on each type will help you or your loved one know when abuse has occurred in order to take any necessary step.
The seven prevalent types of elder abuse are:
- Physical elder abuse: This occurs when an older adult is subjected to physical pain intentionally by another person. It often leads to bodily harm or in more serious cases, death.
- Negligence: There is negligence or elder neglect when a person who is supposed to be responsible for an older adult fails to act as expected of them, or fails to protect them from harm through carelessness, and such inaction consequently results in harm to the adult.
- Elder abandonment: This type is sometimes intertwined with neglect. Howbeit, elder abandonment occurs when the person who is supposed to be responsible for the older adult consciously and intentionally deserts them without informing the relatives or home facility, or making any formal agreements.
- Psychological and emotional abuse: These are acts which produces fear, intimidation, or mental pain to the elder.
- Financial elder abuse: This occurs when a person who is supposedly responsible for the older adult intentionally, illegally and improperly uses the funds of the elder for their own selfish gains, disregarding the needs of the elder.
- Sexual elder abuse: This occurs when an older adult is coerced against their will to be involved in sexual acts with and by another party or parties.
- Elder self-neglect: This occurs when the elder can no longer care for their own personal needs but does not take any step to ensure they get help. The elder simply neglects himself or herself.
Many older adults find it difficult acknowledging the fact that they are no longer as strong as they once were, and so find it hard to bring themselves to seek for help. This can lead to self-neglect which is just as calamitous as other forms of self-abuse.
When is the right time to report elder abuse?
Elder abuse should be reported as soon as there is suspicion or occurrence of it.
We can help
If you or your loved one has suffered elder abuse or there is suspicion of such a case, we understand that it is not always easy reporting or validating your allegation with, and that is why we are here to help. No one deserves being abused no matter their age. Call our law office to speak with an elder law attorney.