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Read About Disturbing Elder Abuse Cases That Left Stain on 2016

As we kick off 2017, we hope the new year will be a better one in terms of elder abuse in Arizona. In this issue, we’ll review several disturbing cases of elder abuse in the Grand Canyon State, and provide tips for recognizing such instances.

Couple Caught Draining Finances From Bisbee Woman’s Bank Account

In August, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the conviction of a couple of theft from a vulnerable adult, fraud and misuse of a credit card. The husband and wife team were convicted of stealing about $25,000 from an 86-year-old woman the wife had been hired to care for. According to reports, the couple had taken physical and financial control of the woman within 60 days of the wife being hired as caregiver. They used her money to fund family vacations, groceries, car payments and other expenses. The wife was sentenced to 5 years in prison while her husband received a 7.5 year prison sentence.

86-Year-Old Woman Found Padlocked in House

The mother-in-law of a Department of Economic Security (DES) employee – an agency meant to ensure safety of children and adults in Arizona – was found padlocked inside a filthy home in Mesa. As she lay in her bed covered in her own waste, her pleas for help were heard from others outside. The DES employee, who had been with the agency for more than 20 years, was immediately fired. After the woman was placed in protective care at a Mesa facility, the daughter-in-law and her husband actually tried to remove her. Thankfully, law enforcement officials were notified and the couple were rebuffed. At last word, Adult Protective Services was working to gain guardianship over the elderly woman.

Elder Abuse Caught Live on TV Newscast

The Phoenix audience of a NBC News affiliate were stunned to see an elderly woman in a wheelchair slapped in the face during a live TV newscast. The incident occurred on July 11 when a 12 News journalist was finishing a report about another topic. Over his right shoulder, viewers saw the victim being pushed in a wheelchair and slapped in the face by her caregiver. Irate viewers saw the incident and flooded the TV newsroom with calls and also made calls to police. The reporter noticed a nearby officer, whom he asked to assess the situation. After seeing video of the incident, police arrested the caregiver on the spot on charges of assault. As the caregiver was being taken away by police, he yelled to the victim, “I’m going to get you!”

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse tells us that while the signs listed below are not necessarily proof that abuse has occurred, they can serve as clues that abuse may be happening. Those signs include:

  • Bruises, welts, black eyes, bedsores, bleeding or physical discomfort
  • Fractures or wounds in various stages of healing
  • Burns from cigarettes or cigars
  • Rapid weight loss or other eating disorders
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Changes in behavior
  • Quietness when caretakers are nearby
  • Unpaid bills
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Changes made to the patient’s will, and
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow an elder to be seen alone.

What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse

Here in Arizona, there are two agencies who are available 24/7 for you to report your suspicions of elder abuse. Adult Protective Services – 877-767-2385 Area Agency on Aging – 602-264-4357

If You Suspect Someone of Elder Abuse, Call The Oswalt Law Group

For victims of elderly abuse, compensation may be possible through personal injury lawsuits. To do this, you’ll need the skilled guidance of an experienced lawyer who thoroughly knows the elderly abuse laws of Arizona. Call us here at The Oswalt Law Group. The first consultation is always free, so call us at (602) 225-2222.

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