Articles Posted in Signs of Elder Abuse

shutterstock_75930872294-300x200It is no secret that many people have difficulty asking others for help. Elders living in Southern California are no different. Even though physical and mental capabilities may start to diminish with aging, it is still not easy for many seniors to let others know they are struggling.

That is why it is up to all of us to keep an eye on aging family members or friends. Here is a list of warning signs that a senior you love may need help from family members or professionals.

  1. Abnormal or repeated phone calls If your grandmother, mother, father, or other elder family members begin making phone calls to you repeatedly, or at peculiar times of day, it may indicate confusion. It may also be a sign of memory loss, or could indicate that the elder is feeling lonely or depressed. If you notice these types of calls, try scheduling set calls with your loved one every day to see if they stick to those times and calls. If they don’t, it may be indicative of cognitive decline.

One of the largest generations in American history is beginning to transition into the elderly stage of human life.  In this stage, many people become less independent and, as a result, require assisted living and clinical care.  As aging individuals become dependents, they tend to lose their mobility.  Pressure ulcers are a direct result of the inability of a person to reposition their body unassisted.  In nursing homes and hospitals, elderly people are too often neglected and the price they pay can be severe.

Pressure Ulcers and Their Stages

Pressure ulcers (often referred to as bedsores, decubitus ulcers, and pressure sores) are a form of breakdown of the skin caused by prolonged and unalleviated pressure, incontinence, dirty or untidy bedsheets, and more.  Typically, they form in areas such as the heels, hips, buttocks, tailbone, shoulder blades, and elbows.  They are categorized based on severity:

shutterstock_680112613-300x163Elder abuse typically refers to the knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a custodial care provider, caregiver, or any other person that causes harm to a vulnerable adult. In California, anyone aged 65 and older is protected by the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. The laws are designed to help prevent neglect and abuse to California seniors. Neglect falls within the definition of elder abuse, and unfortunately may have dire consequences to the victim.

In broadest terms, neglect is a type of elder abuse wherein a caregiver fails to provide the elder with basic needs including water, food, shelter, heat/air-conditioning, personal hygiene products and medical assistance. Failure to adequately move or reposition a bedridden elder, for example constitutes neglect, just as failing to keep elders properly nourished and hydrated constitutes neglect.

Neglect is particularly dangerous for elders, as it can lead to life-threatening consequences. Such consequences of neglect include:

shutterstock_264466154-11-300x200The statistics about the frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common. It doesn’t even take in consideration, the numerous cases that go unreported every year. When it does happen to them, nursing home residents may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid that reporting it will result in additional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse carry shame and embarrassment and sometimes they suffer from dementia and other ailments which make it difficult to report the mistreatment. To help protect your relatives and loved ones, you can ask them questions that can get them talking and can result in exposing nursing home abuse.

 Questions about Daily Activities

 It’s important to ask about the residents’ daily activities and whether anyone is interfering with them. When this does occur, it can be considered willful deprivation and shows signs of neglect or a form of emotional abuse that attempts to exert control over individuals. Here are questions to ask:

shutterstock_1717046857-300x203Nursing home residents are confronted with numerous safety issues while living in the facility. Although some accidents seem almost inevitable because nursing homes house mostly older people, there are ways to be proactive. Nursing home staff should have safety measures in place to deal with obvious problems, so that they can mitigate injuries and lessen the impact. If you have a loved one who is a nursing home resident, you will want to recognize their vulnerability and how you can help them. Read on to learn about top three safety issues facing nursing home residents.

  1. Falls: This is one of the biggest concerns for nursing home residents. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because many individuals realize that falls are one of the main causes of fatalities for seniors. Ironically, getting help with moving around (to shower and bath, for instance) is one of the reasons that people move into nursing homes; they want to reduce the risk of falling. However, falls can still occur in nursing homes, due to negligent staff or poor design of the facility. Here are some things that you can check to see if the nursing home staff is doing their best to help prevent trips and falls:
  • Does the staff help the residents stay physically active, so they are less likely to fall?

shutterstock_264466154-1-300x200Many seniors in the U.S. experience some form of abuse while they are residing in a nursing home. And many cases are unreported. Although neglect is considered a form of abuse, it is also considered a separate type of injury entirely. The distinction is minimal when it comes to ensuring safety for nursing home residents: Either way, you will want to get help for your loved one. However, it is important to recognize the differences and to get clarification on what is truly happening to them in their nursing home. Read on to learn the difference between abuse and neglect.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

The federal government considers abuse “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinements, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.” Nursing home abuse includes several types, including the following:

shutterstock_1858881685-253x300Older adults have a higher risk of choking. Some have documented medical conditions that put them at even higher risk. Because of this, nursing homes must take reasonable measures to help decrease the chance of it occurring, and be ready to respond quickly when it does. Read on to learn important information on how you can help ensure that your loved one is protected from choking accidents in their nursing home.

Higher Risk of Choking Among the Elderly

As we age, we are at a higher risk of choking due to the mouth and throat muscles beginning to weaken and lose their strength over time, making it more difficult to swallow food. Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) affects all ages, but it’s more common in the elderly. Additionally, older people are more vulnerable to choking because the following situations are more likely to occur:

shutterstock_251528320-300x200Skilled Nursing facilities are places for seniors and others who don’t need hospitalization, but can no longer care for themselves at home. Unfortunately, the place that is supposed to be a safe haven is just the opposite when the residents are subjected to abuse. Compared to other forms, sexual abuse in nursing homes doesn’t occur as often, but it appears to be increasing. According to the Administration for Community Living, there have been over 20,000 complaints of sexual abuse in nursing homes over the past 20 years. This equates to be about three people being sexually abused at a nursing home every day.

Because there’s no national database, it’s difficult to know how extensive this problem really is. Given the stigma associated with sexual abuse and the illnesses such as dementia that many patients suffer, many cases go unreported. The Covid-19 panic has only made things worse due to social distancing that has made it more difficult to detect signs of abuse.

Definition of Sexual Abuse

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/08/20.08.21-300x200.jpgPlacing a beloved family member in a nursing home or long-term care facility is never easy; it requires a lot of trust to leave their care up to the staff and the facility you’ve chosen. You rightfully expect staff and the nursing home to have the highest standards and provide the best, most compassionate care possible – that includes protecting them from neglect or abuse and addressing any lapses in proper care quickly and thoroughly.

Unfortunately, this often does not happen; in 2017, law enforcement were not alerted in over a quarter of serious nursing home abuse cases despite state and federal laws that mandate police notification. In fact, a pattern of behavior to cover up these abuses has surfaced; this means it’s important to be on the lookout for ways nursing homes could be trying to cover their tracks.

Failure to Comply with Reporting Laws

https://www.consumerattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/07/shutterstock_1422187700-20.07.14-300x200.jpgIn 2018, 52 million Americans aged 65 and older accounted for 16 percent of the country’s population. The size of this group, set to nearly double in the next 40 years, accounts for the high demand of nursing home and long-term care needs in the United States. As people make the difficult decisions about the care of elderly loved ones, it’s reasonable to expect any facility tasked with caring for a family member to exhibit the highest levels of professionalism, compassion, and respect for them at all times.

Unfortunately, far too often this is not the case. Understaffing, lack of proper training, and insufficient supervision of staff members, nurses, nursing assistants, and health aides all contribute to the abuse of these vulnerable patients. It can be difficult to spot emotional or psychological abuse of a patient – unlike physical abuse that results in bruises or broken bones, they often don’t present obvious signs that something is going wrong.

The difficulty is even greater with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in family members being allowed little or no in-person contact with nursing home residents to visit and observe them for signs of abuse. However, it’s still possible to understand common types of emotional abuse and look for signs it may be occurring, even if the victim won’t admit outright that they are being abused.

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