How Prevalent Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is a significant concern that often goes unrecognized in our communities. In Michigan, understanding and addressing this issue is crucial for protecting our elderly population. At Bassett Murray Law Group in Ann Arbor, we’re committed to shedding light on this pressing matter and offering legal solutions to those affected.

Elder Abuse in Michigan

Elder abuse encompasses various forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and neglect. Unfortunately, it’s a prevalent issue in Michigan, impacting countless seniors. Recognizing the signs is the first step toward prevention and intervention.

Who is at Risk?

Elder abuse doesn’t discriminate – it can happen to any senior, regardless of their background. However, those with limited support systems or cognitive impairments are particularly vulnerable. Understanding these risks helps us stay vigilant.

Forms of Elder Abuse in Michigan

  1. Physical Abuse: Physical abuse of elders refers to causing physical pain or injury to a senior. It encompasses hitting, slapping, pushing, or any other form of physical harm. This could range from a caregiver roughly handling an elderly individual to physically assaulting them. It’s essential to watch for unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries in elderly loved ones.
  2. Emotional Abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse involves inflicting mental pain or distress on an elder. This type of abuse can be verbal or non-verbal. It may include humiliating, intimidating, or threatening the elder. Other forms are isolating them from friends or activities, verbal assaults, and treating them like a child. These actions can lead to anxiety, depression, or withdrawal in the elderly.
  3. Financial Exploitation: This involves illegally or improperly using an elder’s funds, assets, or property. Seniors are often targeted due to perceived vulnerabilities. Common instances include forging an elder’s signature, stealing money or possessions, or tricking them into signing documents that transfer assets. Also, overcharging for services or misusing a power of attorney falls under this category.
  4. Neglect: Neglect is the failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation. This form of abuse is not always intentional and can be due to a caregiver’s inability or ignorance.  It can range from not providing basic needs like food, water, or medical care to leaving the elderly person in unsafe conditions. It also includes not providing social stimulation, which is crucial for mental health.

Recognizing the Signs

Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is crucial for timely intervention and protection of our seniors. Elder abuse can manifest in various forms, and its indicators might not always be immediately apparent. Here are some key signs to look out for:

  1. Unexplained Injuries: These can include bruises, cuts, burns, or fractures that the elder cannot satisfactorily explain. Frequent injuries or a pattern of injuries over time are particularly concerning.
  2. Sudden Financial Difficulties: This might manifest as unpaid bills, lack of necessities despite having adequate resources, or sudden changes in banking habits. Unexplained withdrawals, new signatories on bank accounts, or changes in wills or power of attorney can also be red flags.
  3. Changes in Behavior: Look for signs of depression, withdrawal from normal activities, or sudden changes in alertness. An elder who is typically outgoing and socially becoming isolated and withdrawn is a concern.
  4. Poor Hygiene: Neglect can often be identified through poor hygiene or living conditions. This includes dirty clothes, unkempt hair, unpleasant body odor, or unclean environment. Bedsores or other untreated medical conditions can also indicate neglect.

Legal Protections in Michigan

Michigan law provides safeguards against elder abuse. Understanding these legal provisions is crucial for protecting your loved ones.

Preventative Measures

Taking proactive steps is critical. This includes setting up legal safeguards like powers of attorney, staying connected with elderly loved ones, and being aware of their financial transactions.

Contact Us, Bassett Murray Law Group 

Elder abuse is a severe issue in Michigan, but with vigilance and the proper legal support, it can be addressed. If you’re concerned about elder abuse or need legal assistance, the Bassett Murray Law Group in Ann Arbor is here to help. Contact us at 734-930-9200 or online for more information. Together, we can protect our elderly community and ensure they live with the dignity and respect they deserve.


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Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942

Petoskey Office
By Appointment only
3319 Lakeside Dr S
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: 231-427-2292

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942