Four Signs of Elder Abuse or Neglect
With more and more Americans living longer and therefore requiring more health care for longer periods, loving families often have to rely on healthcare professionals of all types. You want to provide your loved parent or grandparent with a high level of care that keeps them safe, healthy, and happy. But how can you know if you can trust healthcare providers or if you should be concerned about something? The answer is often to be diligent and know what the signs of elder abuse or neglect look like. Here are a few indicators that may warrant further investigation of nursing home abuse or other.
1. Physical Injuries
Certainly, the most obvious signs that an older person is being abused are similar to the signs in younger people experiencing physical abuse. These generally include physical injuries like broken bones, bruising, or sprains. Abuse can also show up in scars, welts, cuts, or even burns. With an elderly person who could be on life-saving medications, the physical injury may also include not being given proper medications at the right times.
You should discuss any physical injuries with all care providers or agencies as well as talking with your loved one. If excuses for such injuries don’t seem to add up in your mind, keep investigating until you’re satisfied or until you feel that the answers warrant more professional investigation.
2. Physical Deterioration
Elder abuse and neglect is often not as clear as outright broken bones — especially if the damage is emotional or mental. This may, instead, manifest itself in a physical deterioration of general health and well-being.
Look for things like unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, disorientation, confusion, or the sudden inability to do normal activities. Neglect often shows up in disheveled appearance, a lack of proper daily hygiene, or inappropriate clothing for the weather or situation. While some situations have more innocuous explanations, don’t dismiss the possibility of a serious cause.
3. Emotional Deterioration
Someone who is bullied or emotionally stressed may find little incentive to perform daily tasks or engage in the world around them. Has your previously-energetic grandparent recently become depressed or anxious? Do they appear to fear or dread a particular caregiver? Does a provider bully or make fun of the victim? Keep an eye out for troubling interactions. No interest in the activities of daily living could stem from nursing home residents being abused by a staff member.
Emotional deterioration is often harder to observe and find answers for than physical signs. For this, family and friends must be willing and able to draw the person out to talk about their fears, concerns, or emotions. It can often only be done over a long period of being involved in the senior’s life.
4. Controlling Behavior
Anyone who engages in elder neglect or abuse doesn’t want the victim’s family or friends to become so involved as to realize what’s going on. Look for signs that a caregiver or provider doesn’t want other family members around when they are with the senior. They may encourage a person to isolate themselves or isolate their finances from loved ones as well. Elder abuse includes financial abuse and this can be hard to identify.
What to Do Next
If you’re concerned that a loved one exhibits some of these signs of elder abuse or neglect, take action to protect them both now and in the future. Draw out the senior in conversation to try to determine additional symptoms of trouble as well as to find the extent of any abuse or neglect.
Then, consult with an experienced local attorney to determine if personal injury is likely occurring and how to proceed. Time is of the essence, since both abuse and neglect can ruin a senior’s happiness and health very quickly. At Galligan Law, we can help protect your family from all types of injury — no matter if it’s intentional or unintentional. Call today to make an appointment.