What to do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
No one knows why people do terrible things, especially to those who have no means of defending themselves. Elder abuse happens everyday all over the country, and it is important to hold those who commit it accountable for their actions.
Elder abuse typically happens in nursing home settings. Those residents who do not have the support of local loved ones are particularly susceptible to being abused. What should you do if you notice that someone is being abused? You should report it immediately and follow up with an elder abuse attorney. Below, we will discuss the signs of elder abuse for which all loved ones should remain alert.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse comes in many different forms. These include:
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse includes beating, depriving, neglecting, the use of restraints in nursing home settings, or simply the negligent administration of medical services. If you notice bruising on your loved one’s body, particularly on the wrists and ankles, you have a right to know why your loved one is being restrained. Bedsores are often signs of neglect and indicate that your loved one is not being cared for properly or moved often enough.
- Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse includes the use of intimidation, threats, yelling, ridiculing, humiliating, isolating, or terrorizing an elderly person. While this happens in nursing home settings, it also happens in homes where an family member is charged with caring for an elderly individual
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse most often happens in nursing home settings to victims who are unable to defend or speak up for themselves. Family members who suspect sexual abuse should provide all gathered evidence to the police and reach out to an attorney right away.
- Neglect as abuse. In cases in which someone is a primary caregiver, neglect is a form of abuse. Signs of neglect can include rapid weight loss, bedsores, worsening of medical symptoms, and more. This form of abuse commonly happens in understaffed nursing homes.
- Financial exploitation. Seniors are often the victims of financial scams when unethical caregivers exploit their positions to deprive seniors of their money. Scams come from both inside and outside of the family, and nursing home staff sometimes exploit their position to rob their charges. If your loved one is no longer able to manage finance affairs, then he or she should have a trusted person acting as a power of attorney to ensure that his or her money and accounts are managed for their loved one’s benefit.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
It often happens that elder abuse goes unchecked for months or even years. The elderly victims themselves fear the repercussions of telling anyone about the abuse they face. In cases in which a person is utterly dependent on a caregiver, this is even more likely. Shame is also a factor when elder abuse goes unreported. As a loved one, you should gather as much evidence as you can and report the abuse to authorities immediately. You can then file a lawsuit against the caregiver or nursing home that employs them.
Contact the Nawrocki Center for Elder Law Today
The Nawrocki Center represents the interests of seniors when it comes to estate planning, long-term care needs, and protecting them from financial exploitation and abuse. Talk to us today about how we can help you or your loved one protect your interests.