Elder Abuse: A 101 Guide to Spotting Elder Abuse
If you have an elderly loved one who is living in an assisted living community, a nursing home, or some other environment that is outside of your constant access, you probably worry about them a great deal. Not only are elderly at risk for all of the conditions and issues that can come with old age and failing health, but there are also issues of elder abuse and neglect that are cause for concern. Whether you are worried about a neighbor, a parent or relative, or a long-time friend who is at risk, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the warning signs of elder abuse so that you can take action quickly if you see it.
The most common indications that an older person may be being victimized by an abuser include:
- Signs of physical abuse, including unexplained bruises on their body, broken bones for which there are no good explanations, burn or abrasion marks on the skin, and pressure marks on the wrists, ankles or waist that may indicate that they have been restrained
- Signs of emotional abuse, including changes in mood, such as depression or withdrawal and diminished interest in engagement with normal social activities and hobbies
- Signs of sexual abuse, including bruising around the genitals or breasts, bloody underwear, pajamas or bed sheets, and evidence of sexually transmitted diseases
- Signs of financial abuse and exploitation usually show up in credit card bills with unexplained charges for items that they are not likely to use, withdrawals from financial accounts, missing personal items and cash, and a general change in their financial situation
- Signs of neglect include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, unusual weight loss, and unattended hygiene and medical needs
- Lack of cooperation or evidence of tension from the staff, including refusing to let you see your loved one without them being present in the room at the same time
It is important to keep in mind that not every negative occurrence that takes place in the life of an elderly person is an indication of abuse. The elderly person may be prone to bruising as a result of medication that they are taking, may lose their balance easily and that can result in a fall. However, if the person that you are concerned about expresses fear or tells you that they are being abused, it is important to take them seriously. It is generally a good idea to schedule visits to a nursing home or care facility at a variety of times without announcing when you can be expected.
If you do suspect elder abuse or neglect, your first step needs to be ensuring the safety of your loved one. Call the appropriate authorities, as it is better to be safe than sorry and a truly caring facility will appreciate that you are acting out of concern. If you find that your loved one has been victimized and you need legal representation in order to help pay for any medical expenses, relocation needs or damages that they have suffered, the caring attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to set up an immediate appointment.
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