Caregivers and conservators of aging loved ones serve a vital role in elder care. Managing day-to-day healthcare, emotional support, and finances means you have a majority stake in their well-being. Such a position can be arduous and time-consuming. Still, the elder you're caring for may give you prominence in their will or trust because of your dedication to their comfort and security.
Unfortunately, other family members or close friends of the aging loved one can sometimes grow jealous of your role in their life. The amount of time spent with them, emotional bonds, and financial arrangements can fuel family grudges. It can surprisingly lead to the sad yet common scenario of being falsely accused of elder abuse.
How Does Pennsylvania Address Elder Abuse?
The Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA) mandates reporting suspected abuse of aging adults under conservatorship or in official facilities. Nursing home, hospice, and other facility employees and administrators must register allegations with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging office or local law enforcement. While they work to ensure an elder is taken care of, nefarious practices can lead to you being falsely accused of abuse.
Several common types of elder abuse are:
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Neglect or endangerment
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Pennsylvania's Penalties for Elder Abuse
OAPSA asserts that elder abuse may be pursued as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the crime's severity. Sanctions are severe; therefore, if you're falsely accused, it's vital to get professional help right away, so you don't have to worry about the following:
- Misdemeanor elder abuse: Fines up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail
- Felony elder abuse: Fines up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in jail
Facing a false accusation can be enraging, especially if you have committed to honoring a conservatorship or being a dedicated caretaker. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from outrageous allegations and keep your reputation intact.
False Elder Abuse Allegations Can Come in Any Situation
For allegations to be reported to OAPSA, some abuse must be suspected. Regardless of the alleged elder abuse, the accuser must establish that such abuse was intended.
For example, you may bolster an aging loved one's estate by investing money for them. However, overzealous friends or family members may allege abuse if that investment fails. You may be liable for what occurred if a corroborated history of bad financial investments is unearthed. However, even if you never intended for the negative outcome, don't think that automatically absolves you. Your actions could be misrepresented in a court trial to paint a picture inconsistent with the truth. You need an attorney to defend you from false elder abuse accusations.
How Can Attorney Joseph D. Lento Help?
Caregivers and conservators spend countless hours caring for beloved elders. It's disturbing to think that you might be accused of elder abuse, yet false accusations happen often. If you're accused of elder abuse in Pennsylvania, it's essential not to face the charges alone. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his expert team at the Lento Law Firm will fight to protect your rights. Call 888-535-3686 today or visit the confidential online consultation form.