When an elderly friend or loved one moves to Scottsdale, Arizona, the last thing anyone would ever wish to hear about is an abusive situation. Yet, in the state of Arizona, elder abuse is a reality. As elder abuse litigation attorneys, we hear some of the most heartbreaking instances of vulnerable adults being hurt at the hands of someone trusted.
So what if you suspect someone you care about is being abused or neglected?
The Arizona Attorney General has published a guide to help in handling delicate situations like these. The Elder Abuse Information and Training Guide gives concerned family and friends tips and advice on recognizing possible elder abuse in Scottsdale and beyond.
The section titled, “How do you talk to a person you think is abused or neglected?” suggests using these steps as a guideline:
1. Establish trust/rapport
2. Get a general narrative of what happened
3. Get more specifics on what happened
4. Close with “friendly” conversation
The first step suggested is discussing the situation with your family member or friend. Gaining the trust of someone who has potentially had their trust violated may prove challenging at first. They suggest that it is important for the well-being and safety of the elderly person that he or she has someone in who to confide and open up. The following steps – gathering the vulnerable adult’s narrative of the situation – could be tricky to that trust building if too many direct or interrogative-type questions are used. Instead, the AG’s office encourages using more open-ended conversational techniques. A couple of examples of good questions include, “I see you have a bruise, tell me what happened” or “Tell me more about your daughter and your checking account.” Avoid doubting the truthfulness of the story in order to gain an understanding of the person’s perspective.
If during the process of speaking with an elder it becomes obvious that a potentially abusive situation exists –whether it be physical, financial, or mental/emotional abuse –you may want to report the situation. Scottsdale, Arizona encourages reports of elder abuse be made to Adult Protective Services at (877) SOS-ADULT [(877) 767-2385], the Area Agency on Aging at (602) 264-HELP [(602) 264-4357], or call your local police.
If elder abuse litigation is on your mind, please feel free to call the knowledgeable and caring attorneys and staff at Berk Law Group, your full service elder law litigation law firm serving Arizona residents in Scottsdale and the surrounding areas.