As America’s elderly population has rapidly increased, a serious problem has risen along with it. It’s called nursing home abuse. It’s the degradation of our most vulnerable citizens who were entrusted to the care of medical professionals. That trust is being betrayed on a daily basis across the country and across New York State.
People place their elderly loved ones in the care of others with the intention of getting the best possible medical attention for their care. Modern medical care is beyond the scope of our time limitations and our expertise, so professionals are highly paid to provide that care. Far too often, we’re not getting that care and may be getting something far worse.
The people of New York who have family members in the care of nursing homes and assisted living situations need to know the signs of nursing home abuse and what to do about it. At last count, more than 30% of the US population was 65 or older. That number is growing and so is the problem. We’re determined to stamp out elder abuse in nursing homes and other professional care settings.
Common Types of Elder Abuse
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 10 percent of all nursing home residents experience some form of abuse every year. That’s hundreds of thousands of our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. Their neglect or abuse is unacceptable.
Elder abuse in nursing homes and professional care facilities fall into the following categories. An abuse victim may be subjected to any one or any combination of the types of abuse listed below:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Financial Abuse
Abuse is defined as an active effort to harm another. This is different from neglect which is defined as failure to provide adequate care or the deliberate withholding of necessary care. Below we detail the indications for each type of abuse and give guidance for how to report your findings. Read about common signs of nursing home neglect here.
Signs Of Physical Abuse
When you visit your loved one in a care facility, watch for the following signs of physical abuse:
- Poor hygiene
- Ripped or bloody bedsheets
- Bloody clothing
- Unexplained bruises or scarring
- Burn marks
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Hair loss
- Physical wounds, particularly if left untreated
- Bed Sores
Some of the above signs, such as poor hygiene or bed sores, could be signs of neglect also. The important thing is to note and document any such change and let the investigators determine the exact cause.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Many family members miss signs of emotional of abuse because mood changes are expected during the aging process. However, normal changes in mood generally occur over a long period of time. The effects of abuse can take hold instantly.
Watch for sudden alterations in mood, like:
- Childlike behavior
- Withdrawn attitude, an unexplained refusal to communicate with friends or family
- Anxious and/or fearful demeanor
- Tension or change in demeanor when a particular caretaker enters the room
Again, some of the above may be caused by neglect or physical abuse as well. Let the investigators determine the actual cause. Be aware of any of these changes and report it to qualified people.
Signs Of Financial Abuse
Surprisingly, financial forms of elder exploitation are self-reported by the elderly more often than emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Routinely check bank statements for the following signs:
- Duplicate billings for the same healthcare service
- Unexplained financial transactions
- Subscriptions to unnecessary services
- Unexplained loss of money or personal items.
The financial abuse of the elderly costs more than $2 billion a year according to experts. Be prepared to report any of the above to professionals.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Only 1 in 14 abuse cases are reported to the proper authorities. This has to stop, or the problem of nursing home abuse will continue for generations to come.
Time is of the essence. Report nursing home abuse immediately to preserve the evidence and to stop the harm.
Please read our detailed information about reporting nursing home abuse here.
Contact A New York City Elder Abuse Lawyer
Contacting an experienced elder abuse attorney is the best step towards uncovering the truth and successfully resolving the matter. The personal injury attorneys at Banville Law have helped many victims secure the justice they deserve.