Elder abuse can take many forms. It can involve neglect, abandonment, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, physical abuse, or sexual assault. When elder abuse occurs in the nursing home setting, it is considered nursing home abuse.
As populations in nursing homes and assisted care facilities have grown, there has also been an unfortunate increase in residents experiencing neglect and abuse - from both facility employees and fellow residents. What makes these situations even more difficult is that the abuse and neglect isn't always easy to identify.
Because many elderly victims don't speak out about abuse - either because they are afraid or because they simply aren't able to due to their condition - it often becomes the responsibility of loved ones and family members to watch for warning signs. If you suspect that your loved one may be a victim, look for these signs of abuse:
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained bruising
- Restraint marks, specifically around the wrists
- Broken bones
- Unwillingness to talk about physical injuries
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Unusual withdrawal from normal activities
- A sudden change in personality
- Unusual depression
- Fearful of caregivers
- Frequent arguments with caregiver
- Social isolation
Signs of Financial Exploitation
- Sudden change in financial situation
- Personal belongings go missing
- Money mysteriously disappears from bank accounts
- Identity theft
- Unexplained credit card purchases
- Changes in the person's will
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), there are approximately 14 million adults in the U.S. aged 65 and older, and some of these vulnerable adults are abused by service providers, care assistants, and others. The NCEA reports that people with dementia are at greater risk of elder abuse than those without, and recommends that families of these individuals take the time to monitor their physical, emotional, and financial health. One 2009 study revealed that as many as 50% of elderly individuals with dementia were a victim of some kind of abuse, and a 2010 study found that 47% of participants with dementia had been mistreated by their caregivers (NCEA).
If you believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, it is time to take action! Contact a South Carolina personal injury lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to discuss your situation. We offer FREE case evaluations and serve clients throughout the state. We can even come to you!