Watching a loved one become older and frailer can be a sad and distressing experience. This is often worsened if that person is unable to look after themselves anymore and requires care.
Shockingly, instances of elder neglect and abuse are on the increase. It’s heartbreaking to think of your relative being mistreated when they are at their most vulnerable, and at a stage in life when they should be being treated with the utmost respect.
But how can you recognize the signs of neglect and what should you do if your loved one is being abused? Read on to find out more about this upsetting topic.
Signs and Types of Elder Neglect
While elder neglect in senior care facilities is becoming more common, most cases do not get reported. Sometimes abuse is hard to spot, especially if it’s not physical in nature. If the older person does not have their full mental faculties, they won’t be able to explain fully what is happening to them.
When carers fail to respond to the needs of a senior, either in a facility or at the elder person’s home, this counts as neglect. Sometimes it is a case of carelessness, but sometimes the abuse is deliberate.
Types of abuse include physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial exploitation. Physical abuse may be easier to identify as there will be bruising and unexplained injuries. Fear of a particular person could also indicate abuse.
Signes of general neglect include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, poor personal hygiene, and unsanitary living conditions. All of these signs should be taken seriously as a red flag that your loved one is not being looked after properly.
How to Act on Concerns
If you think that someone is in immediate danger, you should act quickly. Don’t hesitate to call the police if someone is being harmed.
If you are worried but don’t have proof, you could raise your concerns with the caregiver and see if things improve. Make sure you keep good records though, as you may need them later, especially if you end up in court.
There will be different rules on reporting in different states. A good place to start if you want to raise your concerns formally is with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Whatever stage you are at in the process of reporting elder neglect or abuse, a personal injury lawyer can help. You should take legal advice to see if it would be advisable to pursue a lawsuit against the abuser, whether that is a care home facility or an individual.
A good attorney will help your loved one to secure a settlement to compensate for damage and distress caused. This may be physical or psychological suffering or loss of money in the case of financial abuse.
Get Help Now
If you are worried that a friend or relative is being subjected to elder neglect, do not delay in getting help. The consequences can be severe for older people and can include serious financial risks such as loss of their estate through fraud, severe psychological harm, or even death.
Now you know what to do, don’t hesitate to seek advice if you have concerns. Make sure you explore other health and finance articles on the blog too, for any other information you might need to deal with this upsetting situation.