The experienced Omaha nursing home lawyers Shanks Law Firm know that nothing could be more devastating than learning that your loved one has been neglected or abused by nursing home employees; the very people you trusted to provide care? Nursing home residents are extremely vulnerable and dependent on their care givers. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal responsibility to care for their residents properly and safely. When they neglect that responsibility, you need to seek help.
“Elder abuse” is defined by the US Administration on Aging as “the intentional or negligent act by a family member or caregiver that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older adult.” “Elder” is defined as anyone 60 years or older. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of elderly abuse cases in 2010 was 5,961,568. Looked at another way, the percent of the total elderly population in the US abused in 2010 was 9.5%. Indiana’s elder population in 2010 was 1,128,000. It is suspected that about 12% of that population was subject to some form of elder abuse. The percent of nursing homes that have been in violation of elder abuse laws was found to be at 36%.
Know What to Look For!
Elder abuse can manifest in a variety of ways including:
- Physical abuse (inflicting or threatening to inflict),
- Sexual abuse,
- Emotional or psychological abuse (mental or emotional anguish through verbal or non-verbal acts),
- Financial or material exploitation (illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of the money or property of an elder),
- Neglect (refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection),
- Self-neglect (allowing activity by an elder that threatens his or her own health), or
- Abandonment (desertion of an elder by anyone who has assumed responsibility or custody of that elder).
Symptoms and Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can come in several forms. To help protect your loved ones, keep an eye out for these common signs of elder abuse as laid out by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem include:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
Most important is to be alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.
Seek Help from an Experienced Attorney