Elder abuse can take a variety of different forms, often making it difficult to spot. Some types of elder abuse involve intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involve neglect, and others involve financial scams and exploitation. Sometimes elder abuse comes at the hands of the elderly’s own family members, and other times the abuse comes at the hands of nursing home facilities or paid caregivers.
If you believe or suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of some type of elder abuse or nursing home neglect, it is important to immediately consult with authorities. You should also contact an experienced elder abuse attorney to help you protect your loved one’s legal rights.
Elder Abuse Statistics
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some type of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. The reason is that the signs of elder abuse may not always be apparent and detectable.
Studies further show that abusers of elders are nearly equally spread between men and women. In nearly 60 percent of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. However, institutions, such as nursing homes and their employees, also comprise the perpetrator statistics as well.
Common Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is not always easy to spot. Unfortunately, most elder abuse cases go undetected, leaving victims helpless and unable to seek the justice they deserve. As such, it is important for loved ones to remain vigilant of the common signs of elder abuse in order to be able to help. Below are some common signs of elder abuse:
- Open wounds or bed sores.
- Extreme weight loss.
- Chronic infection.
- Disappearance of personal items.
- Unaccounted for depletion of finances.
- Argumentative or fearful behavior towards the staff at nursing home facilities.
- Inadequate explanation for an unexpected disability or death.
- Sleepiness or confusion not associated with a previously diagnosed condition.
- Delayed access to loved ones.
- Unexplained or sudden injuries.
- Withdrawal from normal activities or a sudden change in mood.
How to Report Elder Abuse
If you suspect that an elderly loved one is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. If danger is not immediate, but you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, you should still report it as soon as possible. Relay your concerns to the local Adult Protective Services office, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or police.
If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator helpline immediately at 1-800-677-1116.
You should also immediately consult with an experienced elder abuse attorney to help you seek monetary justice against the individuals and/or institution responsible for the abuse.
If you suspect a loved one has become the victim of elder abuse, you need an experienced and caring legal advocate on your side. The experienced elder abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates are available to personally review your case. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 949-727-9300.