What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
It is unknown exactly how many elders in America with face elder abuse on a regular basis, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys usually estimate the number is around 10%. While some cases involve an abusive family member, many actually involve orderlies, caretakers, and other residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This puts the elder’s family in the difficult position of trying to identify and stop elder abuse from a distance.
There are five elder abuse categories, according to the CDC:
- Physical: Harm caused by harsh contact and intentional hitting.
- Sexual: Exploiting an elder for sexual acts.
- Emotional: Verbal abuse or aggressive behavior to cause psychological trauma in the elder.
- Neglect: Not meeting the basic needs of an elder in care.
- Financial: Stealing from an elder, or coercing the elder to provide money.
It can be difficult to actually be able to recognize that an elder is being abused, though. Due to the limited living spaces of nursing homes, it is believed most elders who are abused fear retaliation and choose not to report the incident.
If you want to help stop elder abuse and protect your senior loved one, you should:
- Stay vigilant: It is often up to close family members to spot the telltale signs of elder abuse and do something about it. Unexplained bruising, bedsores, malnourishment, isolation, mood swings, depression, and fear of a particular orderly or resident are among the top indicators that an elder is experiencing some form of abuse.
- Talk to your elder: If your elder does not live with a mental illness or memory disorder brought about by aging, you may wish to talk with him or her about the possible abuse. Be sure you have privacy to encourage openness.
- Report the problem: Some cases of elder abuse that only involve neglect may be caught early before the elder becomes significantly harmed. Speaking with the property manager in such cases might be helpful. However, you should first talk to an attorney to determine if there is a better alternative.
- Call the police: When you identify clear signs of intentional elder abuse that put the health of your elder in jeopardy, you may need to get the authorities involved immediately to protect them.
- Find a new nursing home: After elder abuse has been identified, you might not be able to assume that the nursing home or assisted living facility has the capacity to improve its standards. You may want to start looking for a new facility right away.
When your elder is safe and sound, you should contact the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg as soon as possible. With our Orange County elder abuse attorneys on your side, you can be confident that a team who truly cares about you and your family will be standing up for justice and fair compensation. We treat elder abuse cases with utmost seriousness and never back down from the opposition, no matter how formidable the opposition.
Need our help? You can contact us at any time to request an initial consultation.