We agonize over the decision of whom we should entrust with the care of our elderly relatives and friends. We, however, hear more and more about nursing homes and elder care facilities that abuse that trust and take advantage of – or in the worst cases, inflict harm on – our elderly loved ones.
Often elders are too frail to care for themselves, and that frailty renders them vulnerable to unscrupulous people who prey on their need for assistance. This abuse has not escaped the attention of lawmakers, however, as all 50 states have passed elder abuse laws to deal with this problem.
To help your elderly relatives and friends, you must be able to recognize the signs of elder abuse. Elder abuse includes a range of harm from overt, visible physical injuries to neglect, which commonly results in dehydration, malnutrition, and infections caused by bedsores left untreated. If you visit your elderly friend and notice signs of abuse or neglect, the facility may be mistreating or neglecting other residents as well.
There are a variety of ways you or your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Physical abuse. This happens when a nursing home resident is the victim of force that causes them harm. This includes striking, scratching, pushing, biting or the inappropriate application of restraints. You will be able to most easily recognize the signs of this sort of elder abuse.
Emotional abuse. These actions by caregivers or others within the nursing home cause emotional pain for a victim. These include humiliation or neglect of the nursing home resident. These victims often are the targets of ridicule or blame.
Sexual abuse. If someone attempts sexual contact without consent with a nursing home resident, this is the clearest example of sexual abuse. It works hand-in-hand with physical and emotional abuse of the victim. These victims often are tricked or forced into having sexual contact with their assailants.
Financial abuse. Caregivers have close access to the patients, often giving them the confidence of the nursing home residents. These residents could be pressured into giving these predators sensitive information that could bleed what little is left of the residents’ assets.