Just Say No To Elder Abuse
There are an estimated 71,000 nursing home residents in the state of Florida. Of that number, 90% have said that they have experienced or witnessed neglect in their facilities. September is Grandparents Month and we’d like to use this opportunity to encourage you to check in with your elderly loved ones. Everyone has the right to be safeguarded against physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse, but when it’s hard for someone to stand up for themself. You need to be their advocate. If you don’t know where to start, The Lewis Law Group is here to help.
What is Elder Abuse and Is It Different From Neglect?
Hearing the words “abuse” and “neglect” might trigger images of physical injuries. However, these terms encompass a broader spectrum of problems. They are described by Federal nursing home regulations as:
- Abuse: Any deliberate act causing injury, unjustifiable confinement, intimidation, or deprivation of care or services; punishment that leads to physical harm, pain or mental distress.
- Neglect: A failure, whether deliberate or unintentional, to ensure freedom from pain or harm, and the failure to respond to potentially risky situations, resulting in harm or distress.
Different Kinds of Abuse
Both abuse and neglect tend to fall into one of these main categories. They are:
- Physical: Abusive acts like slapping, kicking, pushing, pinching, beating and shaking
- Medical: Failure to provide proper care for existing medical conditions, or failure to get the proper medical care for new illnesses
- Sexual: Acts of sexual assault
- Emotional: Isolation or seclusion from others. Threats and verbal abuse would also fall under this category.
- Neglect: Persistent or prolonged denial of sufficient food or water
Warning Signs of Physical or Verbal Abuse and Neglect
Far too often, signs of abuse or neglect go unrecognized. The only way to put a stop to it is to learn the signs that it is happening.
Consider this real-life scenario:
One day, Sam's son, Jerry, visited him at the nursing home. Jerry was disturbed to find food stains on Sam's clothes. He also observed sores on his heels. Sam appeared depressed, which was completely different from the cheerful attitude Jerry usually has when his son visits.
Being able to recognize these signs of abuse/neglect will help Jerry get his father the proper care he needs. Some other signs that indicate a person may be experiencing abuse or neglect include:
- Fractures, falls and head injuries
- Bed sores
- Reluctance to speak in front of staff
- Unexplained or sudden death
- Cuts, wounds, bruises or welts that remain unexplained
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Abnormal behavior (isolation, social withdrawal, incoherence)
Ensure the Well-Being of Your Loved Ones
Elder abuse is a deeply concerning issue that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Sadly, many older adults suffer in silence because they don’t know how to report their mistreatment, or they’re simply fearful of the repercussions. This silence only perpetuates the cycle of abuse. If you suspect any form of physical or emotional harm, whether in the care of a nursing home or in-home caregiver, it is your responsibility to take action. Reach out to the trusted legal team at The Lewis Law Group.
Together, let us put an end to elder abuse and find peace of mind for you and your loved ones.