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To whom should I report elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a serious problem, and given the increasing population of elderly Americans, is likely to be a growing problem in years to come. The variety of actions which constitute elder abuse is wide, and includes harm or threats of physical or mental harm; neglect in the provision of medical care, food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities; and exploitation of an elderly person’s money or property.

Elder abuse is a serious issue that deserves a response at all levels at which it is possible to respond. With respect to harm done to the victim, civil litigation can allow victims and their families to obtain damages for any losses and injuries suffered. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the losses and damages could be financial, emotional, or medical. In some cases it could even mean loss of life, which could involve wrongful death litigation. 

In addition to civil litigation for personal damages, it is important for victims and their families to report elder abuse to the proper authorities. Cases of abuse involving vulnerable adults, according to Attorney General Bill Schuette, should be reported to the state Department of Human Services, Adult Protection Services.

When reporting abuse, it is important to provide as much detailed information as possible. Doing so allows authorities to address an issue that is likely impacting more than just one individual. Abuse which occurs in residential facilities such as nursing homes or assisted living centers can and should be reported to both the Administrator of Director of Nursing for the facility, but also the Bureau of Health Care Fraud.

Victims who have questions about how to go about reporting the issue can contact the office of the Attorney General. If these issues come up in the course of pursuing civil litigation, victims should not hesitate to obtain guidance for their attorney.

Source: Michigan Office of the Attorney General, “Protecting Residents From Abuse & Neglect In Health Care Facilities,” Attorney General Bill Schuette, Accessed July 28, 2014. 

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