To protect your loved ones, know the types of elderly abuse and the signs to identify possible abuse.
It’s a horrible topic to think about, but one that’s important to acknowledge. Though you may have searched long and hard to find a quality residence or caregiver for elderly family members, you may start suspecting that your loved ones are not be receiving the care you’ve paid for—or that they deserve. It’s important to understand the various kinds of abuse that can take place at nursing home facilities so that you can identify the problem and seek help immediately.
According the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are six main categories of abuse of the elderly:
- Physical Abuse—Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need
- Emotional Abuse—Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts
- Sexual Abuse—Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors
- Exploitation—Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder
- Neglect—Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder
- Abandonment—The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person
Some of these types of abuse may be easy to spot, while other abuse can remain hidden, especially if the elderly person has trouble communicating, is mentally challenged or ill, or feels threatened. If you cannot trust or rely on communication from the elderly person to tell you what has happened, look for these signs of potential abuse:
- Significant weight loss
- Bedsores, unattended-to medical problems, or poor hygiene
- Unusual depression, removal from social situations, or change in activities and interests
- Strained relationships, avoidance, or harsh words between the elderly person and caregivers
- Bruises, burns, or other unexplained injuries
- Sudden change in financial situation
Elderly persons who are also disabled are more likely to experience abuse, but they are less likely to identify and report it, so it’s especially important for you to look for the more hidden signs of abuse.
If you suspect at all that an elderly person in your life is being abused, seek help right away. If you suspect that someone is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1. You should also contact a lawyer right away. You want to ensure that the elderly person and your family are protected. Your first consultation with us is free, and our experienced attorneys will work with you to investigate the problem and work toward a resolution.