Injuries Due To Elder Abuse & Neglect
Many of us have older friends or relatives who either live in nursing homes and assisted care facilities or receive home health care services directly in their homes. While these can all provide a valuable service in ensuring our loved ones get the care and attention they need, personal injury cases involving elder abuse and neglect are unfortunately common.
Sadly, the victims in these situations are often reluctant to reveal what is happening to them. They may have been threatened by the abuser and they may feel ashamed or fearful concerning the reactions of others. This makes it all the more important for family members to be vigilant, both in understanding how common the problem is and in knowing the signs that elder abuse or neglect is occurring.
The Facts About Elder Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every ten older adults report being abused or neglected each year, while nearly twice that number may be victims in cases that go unreported. Abuse often takes place at the hands of nursing home or assisted facility staff members and from personal assistants and home health care aids, involving intentional acts meant to harm, punish, or threaten the individual. Common types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing, slapping, and kicking
- Emotional abuse, which often involves name calling and put downs
- Sexual abuse, which includes sexual acts and harassment
- Financial abuse, which involves stealing or fraudulent activities, such as opening or illegally accessing accounts
- Neglect, which may include depriving the victims of basic needs, or failing to provide the medical care and attention they deserve
The CDC advises that elder abuse and neglect can have serious impacts on victims. In addition to jeopardizing their health and wellness, acts of abuse can lead to a general overall decline and may even hasten death.
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Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
As there are a variety of reasons why elder abuse victims may be reluctant to tell anyone what is happening to them, it is important for family members and friends to be alert to the signs and to intervene when necessary. The National Council On Aging advises that symptoms may include:
- Unexplained cuts, scratches, and bruises
- Broken bones and soft tissue injuries, such as muscle strains or sprains
- Bed sores and poor hygiene
- Sudden change in alertness and withdrawal from usual activities
- Sleep disturbances and depression
- Increased anxiety and anger
- Objects missing from their room or residence
- Unexplained bank withdrawals or credit card charges
If you notice any of the above signs, you should notify the facility administrator or the home health care supervisor immediately. Take your loved one to the doctor or to the nearest emergency room, where they can be thoroughly examined for additional signs of injury.
Get Help Today
If it is determined that elder abuse or neglect did occur, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our South Carolina injury attorneys can advise you on your legal rights, while helping you hold responsible parties accountable through a medical malpractice or personal injury claim. Call or contact us online today and request a free consultation in our Charleston office or at one of our locations throughout the Upstate.