Carlsbad Elder Abuse Attorney
When your loved one begins to suffer physically or mentally, this is a devastating reality. It can be hard for family members to accept, and a lot of care goes into the selection of the right nursing home or home care facility to partner with. This is an emotionally challenging time and one that can be even more difficult if you begin to suspect that someone is taking advantage of your loved one. This is known as elder abuse, and it’s illegal. Family members have rights to come forward to stop the abuse and potentially recover compensation from the responsible party.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
The discovery that your loved one may be impacted by abuse and resulting injuries can be an overwhelming and frustrating one. Many seniors require additional care as they get older. What was once managed by the individual or his or her spouse may become too challenging in the event that the senior declines in physical or mental capabilities.
As the senior loses these capabilities, others may step in. Although families manage to provide all the care that is necessary, in some situations the circumstances become too advanced and require an outside professional.
Care can come in many different forms, including activities of daily living, helping with estate planning and investment or assisting with bookkeeping and basic bill payment. The thought of someone else hurting your elderly family member is a frustrating one, but elder abuse in any format is a serious problem in the United States and becomes all the more important as our population ages.
Defining Elder Abuse
Elder abuse refers to any failure to act or intentional actions on behalf of a trusted individual such as a caregiver leading harm to an older adult. Elder abuse can encompass many different types of harm, including psychological, physical and financial. Research indicates that every three minutes a dependent adult or elder is abused in the state of California. Up to two million Americans aged 65 or older have been exploited, injured or otherwise improperly treated by someone else, usually a person they depended on for care.
Seniors are unfortunately a very vulnerable class in our society. Federal and state legislators have responded to this concern by enacting laws that are designed to protect seniors. One of the most common places where elder abuse happens is inside a nursing home. The discovery that your loved one may be suffering from physical abuse can be a daunting one, particularly if you begin to notice the signs and symptoms that he or she is suffering.
Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse happens anytime that somebody threatens, inappropriately handles, restrains or injures a senior. Some of these examples include, inappropriate use of drugs, threatening with a knife or a gun, force feeding, restraining a senior in bed or acts of violence.
Sexual Elder Abuse
Any sexual contact that happens against an elder's will can become a basis of a sexual elder abuse claim. This includes intentional touching and may include private home care workers, community workers or nursing home employees. Unfortunately, this type of abuse frequently goes unreported because elderly individuals are unable or unwilling to communicate what is happening. In some situations, the abuser may even be threatening the senior with repercussions.
Common Signs of Elder Abuse
One of the most important things you can do as a loved one of a senior is to watch out for the signs and symptoms of abuse. These can be varied, but you should also trust your instincts and follow up with the senior if you believe he or she is being abused.
Some of the most common signs of physical abuse or sexual abuse with an elder include:
- Unwillingness to talk when nursing or home care staff are around.
- Unexplained bruises.
- Multiple falls.
- Bed sores.
- Lacerations and cuts that are problematic for healing.
- Unexplained injuries in general.
- A change in disposition of the senior.
- Cracked or dry lips.
Your ability to stop the cycle of abuse may require stepping in and filing a legal claim to hold the relevant parties responsible when a loved one has suffered.