A Worcester elder law attorney provides assistance to seniors in exploring programs that can help them to remain active members of the community so they can live independently for longer and so they can ensure they have people looking out for them.
Unfortunately, seniors are very vulnerable members of the population. Many live alone and many do not have people checking in on them regularly to make sure they are still in good health. This can be a major problem if something happens to a senior who is living alone. In other circumstances, seniors may have caretakers who become abusive or neglectful- which is also a serious problem, especially if seniors are not able to speak out and get help for themselves.
Recently, the Boston Globe published an article about what happens when neighbors suspect that something might be wrong at the home of a senior who lives near to them or at the home of a senior they know within their community.
The article looks at whether there is a moral obligation to step in and call the authorities if you believe something is wrong, or whether taking this type of action might be considered a form of unwelcome meddling.
When Should You Call the Authorities if You Suspect a Problem with a Senior?
According to the Boston Globe, there was a recent tragic incident that shows the importance of calling the authorities if there is a possibility that something has happened to a senior in your local community. The case involved two sisters who lived together for years in a 4,000 square foot home. The sisters were reclusive, so there were few in the community who knew them well. However, neighbors eventually became concerned when they were not seen for a long time and they began to call the authorities.
Eventually, someone was able to get inside of the house and they discovered the body of a woman in her mid-60’s lying under the table in the home. Authorities believe that the woman may have been dead for at least a year before she was discovered. The home was condemned, and an autopsy was pending, according to the Globe.
This is just one of many examples in which neighbors eventually had to take action because there was no one else to step in and alert the authorities to a possible problem. Unfortunately, as the Globe points out, people often don’t know when to become involved if a senior is no longer seen around his home or if there are other potential red flags that suggest something has happened.
One local police officer who works as a liaison to the town’s Council on Aging described responding to calls that come in regarding the possibility that something has gone wrong with a senior. She, and other officers, will check in on the well-being of an older person when someone calls in and she describes the fear that when she goes out to the senior’s home that she might find the person dead.
As the population gets older, and as people tend to live independently more often instead of in extended family units, there is growing concern that many seniors won’t have enough people checking in on them. This is a big issue especially as the risks of both elder abuse and self-neglect are rising. Around 2,300 cases of elder abuse are already reported monthly to the Protective Services Division of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in Massachusetts, and many cases go unreported. To help prevent people from falling through the cracks, those who suspect problems should speak up.
Getting Help from A Worcester Elder Law Attorney
Knowing what to do when there may be a problem with a senior can be tricky. However, there are certain circumstances where you should definitely take action. If you suspect that nursing home abuse or caregiver abuse is occurring, you should contact Worcester elder law attorneys right away. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. can offer advice on how to report abuse and can help to take legal action in the event that a vulnerable senior is being abused or neglected.
Our legal team also helps seniors and their families to avoid situations of abuse or neglect. We work with seniors and their families to make plans for nursing home care or long-term care provided by trusted staff. We also provide help making a plan to pay for care and we assist seniors in exploring programs that can allow them to live independently and allow them to stay actively involved within their communities.
To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can provide assistance as you get older, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to get personalized advice on all aspects of planning for the aging process so you can enhance quality of life and protect both you assets and your legacy. Give us a call today to find out more.
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