What Does Elder Abuse Mean?
Elder abuse is a topic that’s underreported across the United States, and many families don’t realize the risks their aging loved ones are in when they move into an assisted-living facility or hire a part- or full-time caregiver. What’s more, is that our vulnerable elders are often at the mercy of family members who have little to no compassion for their ailments and increasing needs. Elder abuse can take on many forms—including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation.
Thousands of men and women in their “golden years” struggle with significant health concerns that impact their ability to perform everyday tasks as well as cognitive impairment. It’s all too easy for people (especially the very individuals and facilities you pay to care for your family member) to take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Many elders living in nursing homes struggle to tell their visitors about the abuse or neglect for fear of retaliation from staff.
Family members often have full schedules and find it challenging to find the time to visit their aging loved one as much as they’d like to, which can make spotting the signs of elder abuse difficult. Speak with your loved one about their care and ask if they have concerns about how they’re being treated when you’re not around. Visit as often as possible and do thorough research about the facility and caregiver’s background. It’s critical to act right away if you suspect elder abuse or neglect at a nursing home or your loved one’s caregiver by reporting the abuse to Adult Protective Service or police and contacting a nursing home abuse or elder abuse attorney.
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact our Orlando attorneys immediately at (407) 712-7300.
The different categories of elder abuse have specific warning signs of abuse, including:
Physical Elder Abuse Warning Signs
Physical elder abuse is the most visible and often includes unexplained injuries and can involve:
- Burn injuries
- Rapid weight loss
- Ambivalence & behavior changes
- Untreated medical problems
- Poor hygiene
- Appearing over or under medicated
Signs of sexual abuse include unexplained STDs or genital infections, bruises in the genitals, thighs, and breasts, torn or stained clothing, and anxiety or fear around their caregiver.
Emotional Elder Abuse Warning Signs
Psychological or emotional abuse can be more difficult to determine and is mostly identified through personality and behavior changes, particularly when the caregiver, nurse, or nursing home employee is in the room. The caregiver may also “hover” in the room and avoid leaving you alone with your family member because they’re afraid of what they will tell you.
- Withdrawn behavior
- Isolation from other residents, family, and friends
- Sudden personality changes
- Sudden behavior changes
- Lack of interest in activities they usually enjoy
- Unreasonable suspicion
Financial Elder Abuse Warning Signs
Financial elder abuse is common across the United States. Predatory phone calls for false donations and email scams prey on retired adults who have worked their entire lives to save for retirement and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. Older adults can fall victim to the pleas of strangers, friends, and family members who are looking to make money off of their vulnerabilities and kindness.
Warning signs include rapid changes in his or her spending patterns and banking habits. Financial institutions such as banks and credit unions are trained to identify signs of financial exploitation of the elderly. Still, it’s important for loved ones to be aware of these potential problems as well.
Contact Our Orlando Elder Abuse Attorneys Today
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, contact our elder abuse attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright today at (407) 712-7300 for a free consultation. Our experienced team of attorneys in Orlando, Florida, specializes in these claims and can help you make sure your loved one is safe and pursue justice for the abuse and negligence.