We all hope that our elderly friends and relatives will be treated appropriately when placed in the care of a home aid or nursing facility, but sadly, that is not always the case. All too often, older patients are neglected, mistreated or abused; unfortunately, due to their deteriorating health, they cannot always tell you about the injustices being done to them. For this reason, it is crucial that you learn to recognize the signs of elder abuse, lest your elderly loved one fall victim to this growing problem.
Types of Abuse:
Physical abuse occurs when someone uses bodily force to hurt or injure an elderly individual. Physical abuse can entail hitting, force-feeding, sexually abusing and/or physically or chemically restraining a patient (through the use of psychotropic drugs).
Intimidating, isolating or humiliating an elderly person can all be forms of emotional abuse. If your elderly relative makes sudden changes to his or her will, this may be a sign that someone is emotionally abusing him or her.
If a caregiver fails to provide the necessities of life to an elderly patient that is considered neglect. Signs that your elderly loved one has been neglected include dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, bedsores, poor hygiene and unsanitary living quarters.
If the person who has assumed care for your elderly loved one stops providing assistance without finding a replacement caregiver, that is considered abandonment.
If a person manipulates a confused elderly patient to gain access to his or her bank accounts or property that is considered a form of abuse as well. This type of financial exploitation can be seen when elderly relatives are convinced to overpay for goods or services, sign property over to unexpected individuals or give ill-intentioned people access to and control of financial accounts and/or credit cards.
What to do next?
If you suspect that your relative has been the victim of any type of elder abuse, the most important step is to remove your loved one from the harmful situation. Once a safe situation has been secured, you may want to report the suspected individual or institution to the office of Adult Protective Services (APS) or the State Licensing Agency. You will also likely want to consult with an experienced attorney, to help you determine the appropriate legal course of action to be taken. If you are in need of assistance, the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin can help. Contact our office today for a free, confidential consultation.