Parenting Your Parents – Serious Injury Law Group talks Elder Abuse

By: Lillian Lalo
Pyp Serious Injury32
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Alabama News Network) – Charles “Chuk” James and Gerald Brooks are partners at the Serious Injury Law Group.
Brooks says their job is to make sure that when mistakes are made, those mistakes are paid for, and a lesson is learned.”
“The only way for a lesson to be learned is for there to be a consequence for that action or inaction,” said Brooks.Both Brooks and James have years of experience with elder abuse cases, a subject they both feel passionate about.
“There are two things that really tug at my heart and that is when the most vulnerable amongst us are abused. That is young children and our elderly who are not in a position to defend themselves,” Brooks said.

Brooks said when they help clients with an elder abuse suit, it is often too late.
“We are here to serve, but honestly, I hope someone never has to come to our office because if they come to our office, it means something has gone wrong.  And some of the best ways to (prevent an elder abuse case), and having the need to visit the Serious Injury Law Group, is to visit your loved ones regularly,” Brooks said.

If your loved one is living in a nursing home or care facility, both Brooks and James recommend visiting frequently and varying your visit schedule.
“You can get away with more stuff than you can with a patient or resident whose family comes to see them every Sunday after church. Or stops by and sips coffee with them,” said James.
“If they know you come every Sunday at 5:00, guess what? Every sunday your loved one is going to be sitting up in bed, dressed, and looking great. But on Monday at 7:00 am, maybe not,” Brooks said.

When you visit your loved one, be proactive and check their condition. Is there a sudden decline? Are they getting their medications and being fed timely?

“If you see a change in their appearance, something such as cracked lips, can be an indication of dehydration,” said Brooks. “And you want to periodically check out their skin. Not necessarily do a full body assessment, but just make sure that there are not any bed sores that you are not aware of.  Frequently family members don’t become aware of bed sores until they are very advanced and when the medical facility doesn’t have any choice but to tell you.”Brooks also urges people to not be afraid to ask doctors questions.
“You need to insist on answers that you can understand. Don’t take medical jargon. (Ask) what does that mean? Your loved one had a period of hypotension? Well, what does that mean? They had low blood pressure. Ask questions and get medical providers to explain things to you in medical terms that you can understand,” Brooks said.

If you are starting to look at nursing home facilities for your loved one, both lawyers recommend checking with the Alabama Department of Public Health to see if any complaints have been filed against the facility.
“You can ask current family members of residents what their experience has been. The most important thing you can do before intrusting someone with your loved one is to do your due diligence and make sure that it is a facility and a staff that you feel comfortable with,” said Brooks.

It may be years, or even decades before you need to choose a nursing home. There are still good legal practices everyone can do today.

James says that everyone, no matter their age, needs a will.
“Even if you feel like you don’t think you have  anything, you want to make your intentions known. Put them in writing. Wills are very simple to write. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out document that is 25 pages. I’ve seen wills as simple as one or two paragraphs,” James said.He also encourages everyone, no matter their age, to have a living will.
“Some people want life sustaining measures in the event that they are unable to speak or act on their own. Some people are like – hey- I don’t want to be on a ventilator. I don’t want to be on a feeding tube. So go ahead and get that in writing. Don’t just tell your loved ones what you want,” said James.

Interested in learning more about the Serious Injury Law Group? Visit

Categories: Parenting Your Parents, Parenting Your Parents