Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Learn how to recognize the basic signs typically shown by elderly individuals who have experienced elder abuse and neglect while living in an assisted living residence or nursing home care facility.

The United States is home to more than thirty-five million people over the age of 65. Many of these senior citizens will at one point be placed in either an assisted living or a nursing home care facility. Many of theses care facilities provide adequate and professional care for their residents. However, some individuals may find themselves in less than ideal conditions, vulnerable to neglect and abuse by uncaring staff members.

Laws vary from state to state but all states require nursing home residents be guaranteed specific rights. Residents have the right to receive humane, dignified care at all times. They have the right to be in an environment free of physical, emotional and verbal abuse as well as the right to be treated with respect. Unfortunately, residents will sometimes not receive these basic rights and it can be very hard to detect when a resident is the victim of elder abuse and neglect. Because of their vulnerability, it is usually difficult for nursing home residents to advocate for themselves when they are in a situation of abuse or neglect. Therefore, it is important for family members and friends to be aware of certain signs. Listed below are several indicators of elder abuse and neglect:

• Personal hygiene needs not being met
• Unexplained weight loss
• Ongoing infections
• Unreasonable restraint practices
• Heavily medicated behavior
• Unexplained sores or wounds
• Claims of being hit or mistreated
• Withdrawn, depressed, or anxious behavior.

The consequences of nursing home neglect and abuse are serious and often result in injuries, malnutrition, dehydration and even death. Almost one million older adults are the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in this country every year. Please keep in mind, the appearance of one or more of the warning signs listed above does not necessarily mean abuse or neglect has occurred. Please be sure to treat these signs with an appropriate level of care and attention and don't jump straight to accusations. That being said, if you are concerned a loved one is a victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact Berman & Riedel, LLP today to talk with one of their elder abuse attorneys. To learn more about the topic and what precautions can be taken to prevent elder abuse please visit www.PreventElderAbuse.com.