Long Beach Senior Isolation Lawyer
Your normally gregarious senior seems withdrawn, fearful, and despondent. His appetite and behavior have changed dramatically since your last visit. While this may be because of his medical diagnoses or the simple reality that the aging process is not always kind, sometimes it is evidence of a far more frightening reality - that of elder abuse.
Seniors who are kept isolated from their loved ones are uniquely vulnerable as targets of abuse. Why? Because they are removed from their only source of help and assistance and they have no way to defend or protect themselves. Social isolation is in and of itself a form of elder abuse.
What Is Social Isolation?
Social isolation is the separation of an individual from his society, including peers, family, and other support providers. Social isolation can be:
- Limiting the person’s access and communication with outside sources by restricting phone calls, mail, and visits.
- Telling others that the person does not wish to communicate or is unable to do so.
- Restraining or restricting the movement of the person other than for medically necessary or safety-related purposes. This may constitute false imprisonment.
- Using physical or psychological restraints or threats of harm to prevent the person from connecting with the outside world.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Unfortunately, like all psychological abuse, social isolation leaves no physical marks. So how can a family member know if a beloved senior is suffering at the hands of his caregiver or facility? First, look for the signs and symptoms of social isolation:
- Unexplained marks that look like restraints were used
- Mail that was unopened, returned to sender, or not responded to
- Limited visits
- Signs of fear or psychological indications that the senior does not feel safe
- Restricted movement or schedule for the senior
- Fewer interactions with peers and family members
If you suspect social isolation, the best thing to do is contact the authorities and spend time with your senior outside of the facility or away from the caregiver. When you send mail, ask for a response. In addition, make sure that you have a reason to pop in from time to time on unscheduled visits. Check to see how doors are locked and whether your senior’s mobility aids are nearby to give him the freedom to move about.
If you find that your elder family member has been mistreated and socially isolated through any of these methods, reach out to Siegel Law at (562) 645-4145 for help. Our Long Beach elder law attorney is compassionate and experienced in difficult cases.