What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 at 9:01 pm
When we get old or ill, we rely on others to take care of us. Having the limitations of old age can be frustrating, especially when we have to lean on our family, friends, or professional caretakers, in order to do our daily activities. While most people would never even dream of taking advantage of an elderly person, elder abuse and nursing home abuse are more common than we’d like to think. Our aging population, especially those with additional illnesses or disabilities, is particularly vulnerable, and sometimes end up being abused by those they trust the most.
Elder abuse is defined as any form of mistreatment of an older person that results in harm or loss. Elderly individuals are susceptible to all forms of abuse, including but not limited to:
- Financial exploitation
- Emotional and psychological abuse
- Sexual abuse and assault
- Neglect and abandonment
- Physical abuse
Whether your aging loved one is in their own home, in your home, or in any kind of facility, it’s important to always keep your eye out for signs of abuse. It may be hard at first to identify patterns of abuse, especially if this individual is disabled or unable to communicate well. However, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Unexplained bruises, bumps, or broken bones
- Jumpiness, jitters, or being easily frightened
- Missing medication
- Regularly unwashed hair or clothes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Financial withdrawals that can’t be accounted for
- Missing valuables or personal items
- Sudden changes in mood
- Sudden changes to wills and other estate planning documents
- Significant isolation from friends and family
It’s an unfortunate reality, but elderly people are abused or otherwise taken advantage of every day here in Atlanta. All are vulnerable, but especially those who are mentally compromised or those who are physically dependent on others for basic daily needs. Remember that abusers can be anyone, and often seem like normal, kind people. Adult children, neighbors, nurses, doctors, therapists, romantic partners, professional caretakers, nursing home staff, and anyone else who has personal contact can be a suspect.
If you think that someone is abusing an elderly person, it’s important to report it. Nurses and other similar professionals are mandated by law to report abuse, but anyone can speak up. Adult Protective Services is available to help, and exists in all 50 states. If the abused individual is in a long-term care facility, find the ombudsman in your area. And don’t forget- there are many experienced elder abuse attorneys in Atlanta who are here to assist you.
Ready to learn more or get justice for the mistreatment of an elderly person? Get in touch with us at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today. Ask for your free consultation to get started.