Protecting Our Loved Ones Against Elder Abuse
June is National Elder Abuse Awareness Month. It is important to highlight the abuse that elderly people oftentimes endure because of people taking advantage of their vulnerabilities at their age.
According to the National Council on Aging, Elder abuse includes “physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.” This abuse is, unfortunately, common as 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced it. The NCOA estimated that as many as 5 million elderly Americans are abused each year.
As people age, their physical health starts to decline and they become weaker, making it harder for elderly people to stand up for themselves and fight back against behaviors such as bullying. They may not be able to hear or see as well, or they may have physical or mental limitations meaning it is easier for caregivers to take advantage of them.
Know the Signs of Elder Abuse
Abuse can show itself in different ways. It can be bedsores, bruises, or chafing that can mean your loved one is being restrained to a bed or wheelchair or physically abused. Make sure you check in on your loved one’s mental health as well as look for physical signs of potential abuse. If your loved one has a withdrawal from normal activities or is in an unusual depressive state they could be experiencing emotional abuse from the caregiver.
Emotional abuse could be seen as belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by the caregiver. Check for signs of sexual abuse and financial abuse as well. Sexual abuse could show itself through unexplained STDs or other genital infections, and bruising near the genitals or around the breasts.
Financial abuse could mean unexpected withdrawals from their account or changes in their financial situation. You should be aware that your loved one may not be able to explain to you that they are being abused. If you know the common symptoms of abuse, you may be able to identify it in your loved one to help ensure their safety.
Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Elder abuse is a real thing. The Virginia personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC have helped victims and their families for over 34 years. If you or your loved one has been injured through elder abuse or medical negligence at a nursing home or assisted living facility or in some other manner, contact us to discuss your situation. The consultation is free, and our no fee promise means you don’t pay any legal fees unless we settle or win your case.