Elder abuse is a common under-reported problem. While reports indicate as many as 10 percent of seniors are abused or neglected, research also suggests that for every one case of elder abuse that is reported to programs and agencies, as many as 24 cases are not identified.
There are many reasons why elder abuse is so often unreported. Many seniors, especially those with dementia, may not have the ability to remember the details of attacks and reach out to appropriate individuals to help them. Seniors who are being abused may also be isolated and may have no ability to make reports of the abuse or neglect that they are being forced to endure.
Because seniors often cannot stop the abuse they are being subjected to, it is important for those who interact with older individuals to be aware of signs of abuse and take appropriate action. Reporting abuse to law enforcement and adult protective services agencies can ensure that a proper investigation is conducted in order to identify and end abusive behavior.
Abuse victims and their families should also consult with an experienced attorney to get help taking legal action to hold abusers accountable. The Villages nursing home abuse lawyers can help you to pursue a claim against caregivers, nursing homes, and others responsible for causing harm.
What are the Signs of Abuse?
Abuse against the elderly often involves physical abuse, such as hitting, burning, pushing, kicking, scratching, or otherwise causing physical harm. This type of abuse can be identified by unexplained cuts and bruises, broken bones, broken glasses or torn clothing, burn marks, and other physical signs of abuse. When seniors show signs of fear around a particular caregiver, this could also be a sign of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is another common type of abuse, but it is more difficult to identify when this wrongful behavior is occurring. If a senior experiences mood changes, depression, or a loss of interest in activities and hobbies, this could be an indicator that emotional abuse is occurring. Emotional abusers may take steps to isolate seniors and cut them off from sources of help, so this is something else to watch for.
Chemical restraint is another form of abuse that is common in nursing homes. If a senior is given antipsychotic medications to make the senior docile and easier to care for, this is an indicator of chemical abuse. It can be dangerous, as antipsychotic medications can interact poorly with other drugs seniors may be taking for health conditions.
Sexual abuse also occurs among seniors, more commonly than many would believe. A diagnosis of an STD, missing clothing, or redness around the genital areas is an indicator that this type of abuse is happening.
Finally, neglect can be considered a form of abuse as well. If a senior is dehydrated, malnourished, has bed sores, is not being provided medication, or is not having basic hygiene needs met, these are red flags of neglect.
If you have reason to suspect abuse or neglect, reach out to The Villages nursing home abuse lawyers at Babiarz Law Firm, P.A. to get help identifying your options for taking legal action to hold abusers liable for losses the abuse has caused.