Millions of elderly people become the victims of abuse each year. Elder abuse can occur in any setting. Many elderly people suffer at the hands of a loved one, but abuse in a nursing home setting is not uncommon. Reporting elder abuse is important for anyone who comes into contact with a victim. However, people who may have contact with a victim of abuse often miss the signs of abuse because of a lack of knowledge. Understanding what to look for when abuse is suspected is important. Attorneys can help victims and their families recover compensation for financial losses and medical expenses when an investigation into the situation is launched.
Elder abuse is common because of the inability of many elderly people to defend themselves against physical abuse and exploitation. Staff members at nursing homes may engage in elder abuse by neglecting patients when there are not enough staff members present to take care of everyone in the facility.
Detecting the Signs of Elder Abuse
Millions of unreported cases of elder abuse occur each year. People who interact with the elderly need to learn how to detect the signs of abuse in order to know when to file a report with authorities. Abuse can occur in a private residence or a long-term care facility. The most common abusers are family members who suffer from mental illness or addiction.
– Physical abuse occurs when a person intentionally causes physical harm to an elderly person. Assault is a common form of physical abuse. Withholding medication, forcing medication on a person or restraining an elderly person are also forms of physical abuse.
– Emotional abuse relates to the way an elderly person is treated by another person. Verbal abuse includes shouting at or belittling a person. Psychological abuse involves ignoring or isolating an elderly person.
– Sexual abuse can be physical, but non-physical sexual abuse occurs when a person forces an elderly victim to watch sexual videos or live acts. Forcing a victim to undress without physically abusing the victim is also a form of sexual abuse.
– Neglect does not have to be intentional to be considered abuse.
– Fraud and financial exploitation include billing elderly patients for services that are not received, stealing personal financial information from a victim and identity theft.
Abuse can often be detected by the way an elderly person interacts with a caretaker. Tense relationships with a caretaker may be related to abuse. Changes in the personality of an elderly person may also indicate abuse.
Caretakers who are abusive are generally resistant when a person wants to spend time alone with a victim. Abusers are fearful that signs of abuse will be detected if another person is allowed to be alone with a victim.
– Signs of physical abuse include bruises, welts, broken bones, missed or extra doses of medication and marks on the wrists or ankles that could be caused by restraints.
– Signs of emotional abuse include witnessing a person threatening, belittling or yelling at an elderly person. Some victims of emotional abuse also display signs of dementia like sucking or rocking.
– Signs of sexual abuse include bruising or bleeding around the genitals, unexplained contraction of sexually transmitted diseases or torn clothing.
– Signs of neglect include weight loss, poor hygiene, unsafe living conditions, inappropriate clothing and sores. Victims of neglect may also be left unattended in a public place.
– Signs of fraud or financial exploitation include changes in beneficiaries in a will, unpaid bills, large withdrawals from a bank account, missing items and the addition of authorized users on a bank or credit card account. Inadequate care, duplicate billing and crowded facilities are all signs of healthcare fraud.
Getting Help With Elder Abuse
Victims of elder abuse and their families need someone in their corner in the aftermath of elder abuse incidents. While it is important to contact the authorities to file a report and have an investigation started, victims of elder abuse are often left with significant financial losses related to exploitation and physical abuse. Our experienced law firm can help victims recover financial compensation to pay for the financial losses that result after elder abuse occurs. Contact us for more information. A representative can help you schedule a consultation.