Older adults deserve compassionate and attentive care, but unfortunately they are often the victims of abuse and exploitation, even in nursing homes that are meant to provide quality care. If you are concerned about an older adult like a parent or spouse, it is essential that you can recognize signs of elder abuse or exploitation and seek the proper legal outlets to handle your suspicions.
What is Elder Abuse and Exploitation?
Elder abuse is defined by the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse as, “any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.” It can occur in many forms, including physical, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse, domestic violence, and neglect. It is estimated that up to six percent of the elderly experience some type of abuse that leads to devastating effects like loss of independence, homes, life savings, health, security, and dignity.
What Signs Indicate Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse can be recognized in a number of ways. It is so important to differentiate signs of abuse from symptoms of deteriorating mental health in order to prompt timely intervention and reduce the effects on the older person’s wellbeing. In general, symptoms can be categorized as physical and behavioral. Most older adults who endure abuse demonstrate both physical and behavioral symptoms. Since physical symptoms sometimes take longer to manifest themselves, the behavioral symptoms often provide the first clues of abuse.
Common behavioral symptoms include unusual or newfound anger, fear, anxiety, nervousness, or depression. An older person might suddenly begin to avoid eye contact, cringe at others’ movements, or withdraw from social situations. Physical symptoms can range from bruises and welts to signs of missed medication or chronic bed sores.
Taking the Appropriate Steps
If you suspect elder abuse of a loved one, immediate action is essential. Contact an elder law practice like the Law Offices of Kimberly K. Muenter, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Muenter offers comprehensive legal support and defense for every issue affecting seniors, so you can trust that her expertise will help you respond appropriately to elder abuse. Call Attorney Muenter now at 941.567.1671 to learn more.