National Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15th marks National Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Set in motion back in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, the purpose of this day of awareness is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
Virtually all countries are expected to see substantial growth in the number of older persons between 2015 and 2030, and that growth will be faster in developing regions. Because of this number is on the rise, the amount of elder abuse can be expected to grow with it. While the taboo topic of elder abuse has started to gain visibility across the world, it remains one of the least investigated types of violence in national surveys, and one of the least addressed in national action plans.
Every year, approximately 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Additionally, experts believe that for every reported case of elder abuse or neglect, as many as 23 cases go unreported.
Several types of abuse that are recognized as elder abuse include physical as in hitting, punching, slapping, burning, pushing, kicking, restraining, false imprisonment/ confinement, or giving excessive or wrong medication as well as withholding treatments and medications. Psychological and or emotional abuse can be in the form of humiliation.
Neglect can be in the form of depriving the elder of proper medical treatment, food, heat, clothing or comfort. Also included in neglect can be leaving an at-risk older person unattended. Abandonment, rights abuse, and self-neglect are also recognized as elder abuse in the United States.
An important step in protecting the rights of our elderly loved ones is to learn the dozens of warning signs associated with nursing home abuse and neglect. With this knowledge you’ll hopefully be able to help your loved one before the problem progresses.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Weight Loss: While medication can affect a person’s appetite, this isn’t the only cause of weight loss in elders. Nursing home facilities are responsible for ensuring that all residents receive the necessary nutrition and hydration they need to maintain a healthy weight and remain in good health.
Bruises: Similar to weight loss, certain medications can make a person more susceptible to bruising, but bruising is rarely accidental. If you notice bruises in patterns or clusters, or bruises that re-appear, this can be the sign of intentional bruising. A study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Bruising as a Marker of Physical Elder Abuse, reported that bruises occurring as a result of physical elder mistreatment are often large and occur on the face, lateral right arm, and back of the torso.
Reclusiveness: You probably know your loved one better than anyone else. If you notice that they are becoming less social and are experiencing mood swings, it may be a result of elder abuse or neglect.
Poor Living Conditions: Sometimes evidence of nursing home abuse does not directly deal with your loved one, but rather the state of the conditions they reside in. Check out their room for bed bugs, unsanitary bathroom stalls, or cracked windows for example. If a nursing facility fails to maintain their facilities, you can almost guarantee they are also failing to maintain the standard of care for your loved ones that you expect.
What To Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
Learning the warning signs of abuse and knowing how to report it is another great step. Adult protective services, the police and the long-term care ombudsman program are organizations that you can call on for assistance and information.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Don’t let another day pass without an experienced advocate on your side in your fight against a negligent nursing home or managed care facility. Contact us for a free consultation with a one of our experienced Texas nursing home negligence attorneys, or visit any of our locations. We serve victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and their families across Texas and nationwide.
No appointment is required during normal business hours, and bilingual staff members are available to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. Se habla español.
- Written by Jill Fowler