According to statistics, one in ten elders worldwide experiences a form of monthly abuse. However, given that only one in 24 cases is reported, we can expect the figures to be higher.
In this respect, it is important that we know how to recognize elder abuse – no matter if we are sons, daughters, or even elders, as well as our rights and how to apply them. Naturally, one of the first steps we have to do is request the help of a nursing home abuse attorney, so that we can find out more about how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Let’s see how you can recognize elder abuse, and which of your rights you can apply to such circumstances.
Symptoms of Elder Abuse
Many times, professionals miss the signs and symptoms related to elder abuse, mainly because they are very similar to the symptoms of deteriorating mental health.
Still, keep in mind that one’s ability to recognize elder abuse is paramount for prompt intervention, as well as to reduce the impact that the abusive actions had on the person’s physical and psychological well-being.
Obviously, symptoms of elder abuse can be divided into behavioral and physical. Here are some of the signs that will point you to discover if a certain elder is being abused:
- Bruises – these usually come in regular patterns or clusters.
- Black eyes and welts.
- Evidence of lack of medication or even overdoses of medication.
- Verbal report – some elders may even report their abuse.
- Depression, anger, anxiety, fear, and nervousness.
- Avoiding eye contact.
- Getting startled easily or even cringing; their eyes may also dart.
- Sudden apathy.
- Withdrawal behavior.
- In some cases, the person responsible for the care of the elder may not allow any visitors to be alone with the elder, or refuse them entirely.
Naturally, these were only a few of the symptoms that should make you take action. Keep in mind that there are physical abuse signs, emotional abuse signs, sexual abuse signs, neglect or self-neglect signs, financial exploitation signs, healthcare abuse, or fraud signs.
Knowing Your Rights
Always remember that every state comes with an Adult Protective Services law that you can rely on. This law helps adults with disabilities and older adults who need assistance, as a result of abuse.
Moreover, there’s also the Administration on Aging, whose purpose is the empowerment of older persons to remain safe within their communities, healthy, and independent.
Among the aforementioned, you can always rely on the National Center of Law and Elder Rights, Legal Services for the Elderly, which provides older people with legal assistance nationwide, as well as the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, which operate in all states.
In short, you could say that you don’t even need extensive knowledge of your rights. If you or your loved one has been abused, there are more than enough laws and associations and support groups to help you deal with this issue.
The Bottom Line
As soon as you notice elder abuse, you must act! Doing so will not only keep your loved one healthy, but will also make sure that the ones responsible will be held responsible in court for their actions.
Even though the elder is in a nursing home, they must be protected from abuse at all costs. This is the same as with children in kindergarten, or employees within their workspace.