As medicine advances, Americans are living longer than ever before. However, that trend is also causing more older adults to require nursing home care as they become too old or ill to care for themselves. It goes without saying that older adults deserve compassionate and attentive care, yet sadly they are often the victims of medical abuse 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 you learn to recognize signs of elder abuse and seek the proper legal support to handle your suspicions.
What Is Elder Abuse?
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.
Subtle Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be recognized in a number of ways. Since the elderly can’t easily identify, vocalize, or explain their abuse, it’s our responsibility to notice the signs and demand prompt intervention.
Most older adults who endure abuse demonstrate both physical and behavioral symptoms. Since physical symptoms sometimes take longer to manifest themselves, the behavioral symptoms can 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. Since abuse often takes place in the form of neglect, signs can also include weight loss, accelerated medical problems, and more.
Get Legal Help
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.