One of our most beloved populations is also one of our most at risk. Every year, elders suffer serious physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the very people entrusted with their care and safety. While this abuse can happen anywhere, it is an especially alarming risk at nursing homes and extended care facilities where elderly residents are at the mercy of their care providers.
While many nursing homes offer exemplary care to their older residents, some, sadly, are less scrupulous. They may be understaffed or their care providers might not be qualified to provide necessary care. This can lead to neglect. Additionally, some staff members may even be intentionally abusive. Elderly people are not often able to communicate their abuse, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to this type of behavior. This is why it is necessary for family members to watch for the signs of elder abuse.
Elderly people can occasionally fall down or become injured through no fault of their caregivers. However, physically injuries can also be a sign of a larger problem with their care. Watch for unexplained bruises, welts or abrasions. Additionally, if your elder relative has suffered a broken bone or sprain, be sure to discuss it with the staff of the nursing home and demand a full explanation.
Sometimes the signs of elder abuse are much more subtle. If your relative is being neglected, he or she may experience a weight loss. Further, long period spent in bed without proper care can lead to bedsores, a common sign of neglect. Look for a lack of care such as dirty bedding, soiled clothing or other symptoms of neglect.
Finally, if your relative seems withdrawn or depressed, he or she may be suffering from emotional abuse. These symptoms can be the most difficult to spot, especially from a relative suffering from dementia. Keep a close eye on the caregivers, especially when they interact with your relative to see both how they treat him or her and how your relative reacts to their presence.
Elder abuse is a terrible problem in North Carolina and across the nation. If you believe your loved one has suffered from elder abuse, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lanier Law Group, P.A. right away.