It is no secret that the senior community is often overlooked and under appreciated.
However, these oblivious behaviors are what make our elderly so susceptible to neglect and abuse.
There are a number of reasons senior citizens are abused and suffer neglect. It can be at the hands of a facility, a caregiver, or loved one.
Being alert to the many signs can help protect them and make the abuser accountable for their actions.
By taking a proactive approach to your loved one’s care and seeking legal assistance for any wrongdoing, you can help prevent this from happening to other unsuspecting individuals.
Reasons for the Neglect and Abuse
When you entrust an assisted living community to care for your loved ones, you expect them to provide the ultimate in services. This means providing nutritional meals, entertainment with various activities, ensuring that hygiene is maintained, and their recommended medications are administered on time.
Unfortunately, many of today’s staff members in this field are overworked and under paid. While this shouldn’t affect the level of commitment and dedication for those in their care, you’ll find that it often does.
Forms of Senior Abuse
Some elderly are afraid to report any abuse or unscrupulous behavior. Those that are at least bold enough to complain, are most likely written off as being difficult, feisty, or something similar; thus, the complaints are left unheard. It is best not to wait until you suspect a problem before keeping an open eye for signs of neglect and abuse.
It is better to give the facility the benefit of the doubt that the staff is taking good care of your loved one but to always be mindful of potential mistreatment. The physical aspect of senior abuse can be as serious as rape, battery, or assault.
Emotional abuse is another culprit that can haunt a senior citizen left in the hands of a poor caretaker. This can be in the form of insults, humiliation, taunts and threats. The caregiver may also threaten them with additional harm if they report the incident.
In some cases, neglect is implemented by withholding meals, medication, or failing to take care of personal hygiene and needs. The facility in charge may also house caregivers who steal money and valuables from the individuals in their care.
Obvious Signs of Abuse
Early warning signs of abuse can be detected by taking a proactive approach to the care of your loved ones. This includes being open to obvious signs of trauma such as open wounds, bed sores, cuts, and abrasions.
Other signs include stained clothing, poor hygiene, foul odors, unexplained weight changes, and infections. They could also harbor mental anguish such as emotional withdrawal, odd behaviors, or listlessness.
You can help. Try making unexpected visits to deter abusers by not having a clear window of opportunity. If suspicious activities occur and you are discouraged from visiting your family member, keep in mind that you can call the local law enforcement for an escorted visit.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary such as missing money, personal belongings, or family heirlooms report it immediately.
Watch closely for bruising and odd behavior. If your elder falls ill, get a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment options. Sadly, some abuse and neglect gets out of control and results in death. Of course, no one will willingly admit that they played a part in your loved one’s demise.
If you suspect wrongful death, you should contact an attorney immediately. According to The Perecman Firm, “Close family members may make a claim for wrongful death any time someone is killed as a direct result of negligence or wrongdoing.” An attorney cannot bring your loved one back, but he can bring the culprit to justice.
At any time you feel uneasy about your loved one’s care; you can start by registering complaints with the management team. If you’re not satisfied, and you don’t see results, you can file a complaint with an attorney.
An attorney familiar with nursing home neglect can be helpful dealing with your claim and get the desired results. They can also ensure that your complaint is registered, and the necessary retribution is sought after.
Domonique Powell, the author, has volunteered at senior shelters and has heartfelt sympathy for their angst. She urges you to take time out for the elders in your life. An online search for wrongful death attorneys brought her to The Perecman Firm which served as an inspiration of this article.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation/9157765300/