According to statistics from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one out of every 10 people in this country who are over the age of 60 has experienced some incident of abuse each year. This means that 5 million seniors in this country are abused every single year. However, only one out of every 14 of those incidents are ever reported to police or other authorities. Family members who have elderly family members living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes need to know what types of elder abuse takes place and what the signs of abuse are. Too often, the elderly victim is too frightened to speak up.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can take on many forms. Often the victim is being subjected to several types of abuse by the same abuser. Tragically, in 60 percent of elder abuse cases, the abuser is a family member or friend. Some of the more common types are:
- Confinement by isolating or restraining without adequate reason;
- Deprivation, which may involve withholding medications or access to needed medical devices;
- Emotional abuse;
- Financial exploitation, such as misusing or stealing funds.
- Neglect, depriving a person of medical care, food, personal hygiene, or attention;
- Physical abuse, such as hitting, pinching, pushing, and slapping; and
- Sexual abuse.
What Are the Signs of Abuse?
Many elderly victims are too ashamed or too frightened to tell anyone that they are being abused. Here are some of the common signs that may indicate your loved one is being subjected to abuse:
- Behavior mimicking dementia, such as thumb sucking or rocking; Dehydration, infections, malnutrition, and other signs of neglect.
- Disheveled appearance, losing weight, or bedsores;
- Increased anxiety or agitation in the presence of certain people;
- Increasingly withdrawn or depressed behavior;
- Unexplained bruises, broken bones, or other injuries;
- Unexplained loss of money or property; and
- Worsening medical conditions without a reasonable explanation.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, it is critical to contact law enforcement immediately and report the abuse. The situation should also be reported to any administrators of the facility they are in. Alternative arrangements should be made for your loved one’s care in order to ensure their safety. You should also consider contacting an experienced North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney to find out what other legal recourse you may have on behalf of your elderly family member.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.