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Elderly Woman Dies After Alleged Neglect by Family

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A Memphis woman died last month after allegedly being severely neglected by family members.

Betty Cleveland, 77, was found in her home with her legs “burst open and rotting from the inside,” as well as other injuries to her body, according to police. She died later at a hospital where she was taken after her daughter called Crossroads Hospice for help. When hospice care workers arrived and saw Cleveland’s condition, they called an ambulance and the police.

Cleveland’s daughter Rose Fayne, and Fayne’s son Rodney Cleveland, are facing charges of willful physical abuse or gross negligence. Guardianship is the legal term for a person who is designated with the care of a minor or incapacitated person, which can include an elderly relative who is unable to care for him or herself.

A guardian is legally and morally responsible for providing adequate care, including food, shelter, and medical treatment. Houston elder law attorneys know that this type of abuse is a serious crime and unfortunately an all-too-common issue for older Americans. It can be committed by guardians, family members, friends, health care workers, and even strangers.

Types of elder abuse can include:

  • Physical abuse: This is defined as any use of physical force that may result in injury, pain, or impairment, such as hitting, pushing, shaking, slapping, kicking, punching, biting, burning, etc.
  • Sexual abuse: This is any non-consensual sexual contact with an elderly person, including unwanted touching, all forms of sexual assault and battery, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse: This form of abuse is classified as inflicting pain, distress, or mental anguish on an elderly person through verbal or non-verbal acts. It may include verbal assaults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment.
  • Neglect: The refusal or failure to fulfill obligations as a guardian can be classified as neglect. This may include not providing life necessities and day-to-day essentials such as food, shelter, medicine, personal safety, personal hygiene, etc.
  • Abandonment: Deserting an elderly person at a hospital, nursing home, public area (such as a business), or residential home can be considered abandonment.
  • Financial exploitation: One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial and includes any type of illegal or improper use of the elder’s assets. Cashing checks without permission, forging signatures, misusing funds or possessions, coercing or deceiving an older person into signing documents can all be considered financial abuse.

Get Help with Elder Abuse Issues
If you or a loved one has been emotionally, physically, or financially mistreated, an elder care lawyer in Houston can help you pursue legal options. Contact Attorney Keith Morris today for help with filing lawsuits against guardians.