Abuse can be subtle to the eye but have devastating consequences for your loved one. There are several different categories of elder abuse; learning about them can help you spot the signs and step in right away Spotting unexplained bruises or injuries, listening to your loved one’s concerns and making more frequent visits can help you detect the signs of abuse.
- Physical Abuse: Just what it sounds like, your elderly relative is harmed physically by hitting, pushing or scratching. Misuse of restraints falls into this category as well.
- Emotional Abuse: Scaring, neglecting, demeaning and humiliating the elderly patient all fall into this category, as does anything else that causes emotional stress and harm as a result of malice or neglect.
- Sexual Abuse: Watch for, and protect your loved one against, unwanted sexual attention from caregivers or other residents.
- Financial Abuse: Theft of money, accounts, jewelry, identification, gifts and personal possessions happens at an alarming rate, and you should monitor your elder’s accounts, credit reports and belongings regularly.
What to do if you suspect abuse
Act quickly if you suspect a problem; the faster you stop the abusive behavior, the better it will be for your loved one. Report your concerns to authorities and document the problem; you should also seek legal advice and file a lawsuit if warranted. Filing suit not only protects your loved ones, but it also exposes the offending agency or individual and keeps other seniors safe as well.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Record and document what your loved one is telling you and make sure you ask about any concerning incidents. Asking open-ended questions and inquiring about the staff members they like and don’t like can also clue you into the actual problem. Take your findings to the facility’s management or to the authorities that have jurisdiction over the home. Reporting elder abuse and getting your claims on record not only triggers an investigation, but it also documents them as well.
See an Attorney
Knowledgeable nursing home or elder abuse attorneys can help you understand your options, define the abuse and help you seek compensation. Penalizing the perpetrators not only wards off further maltreatment for your loved one, but it may also improve conditions for other seniors as well. A skilled attorney can guide you through the complicated process and help you establish a case against the person or facility that harmed your loved one.
Once you suspect mistreatment, don’t delay. Even if you are unsure what type of abuse is occurring, or are not sure of the exact details, you should still take steps to investigate your concerns.