According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), hundreds of thousands of older Americans are abused, neglected, and exploited each year. Many of these elderly persons are frail and vulnerable to abuse because they cannot fully take care of themselves and must rely on others to help them. Sadly, many caregivers act unscrupulously and intentionally cause harm to befall the elders of our society.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania has stiff elder abuse prevention laws that can help protect those who need it most. If your loved one is in the care of others, it’s important to stay privy to any signs of abuse and to report the matter immediately if you suspect it. You may be able to prevent nursing home abuse by thoroughly researching the institution before committing a loved one to living there, read these tips for choosing the right nursing home.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The AoA defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”
Abuse can come in myriad forms, such as physical, emotional, or sexual. Our firm handles elderly abuse injury claims on a regular basis. We have served clients whose loved ones suffered abuse in various (and sometimes horrific) ways.
Below are examples of some of the most common types of neglect we’ve come across.
- Physical battery such as kicking, slapping, pinching, pushing, shaking, or hitting
- Physical assault or threats of abuse
- Verbal and emotional threats and other forms of intimidation
- Restraining by physical or chemical means
- Sexual contact that’s non-consensual
- Withholding or failing to provide food and health care needs
- Exploitation, such as misusing funds or taking assets
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
There are several telltale signs, some of which are below.
- Physical indications of abuse such as bruises, welts, pressure marks, burns, and unexplained fractures
- Unusual depression or anxiety
- A withdrawal from normal activities
- Change in alertness, reduced responsiveness
- Bruises around the breast or genital area
- Bedsores, poor hygiene, and unexplained weight loss (all signs of neglect
- Obvious signs of a strained or tense relationship between the elder and the caregiver
- Unexplained death
Perhaps one of the most trustworthy indicators that your loved one might be being abused is your instincts. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong, that something just isn’t right with your loved one, do something. Investigate the issue or alert someone. “The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on,” the AoA advises.
Protecting Your Loved One
If your loved one is in imminent danger, call 9-1-1. You can also call Adult Protective Services, as well as the Long Term Care Ombudsman program for help. Those found responsible for elderly abuse or neglect can be criminally charged and civilly liable.
If your loved one suffered injury or death as a result of elder abuse in Pennsylvania, please call the caring, knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC for a free consultation. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to learn more about your rights when your loved one has been victimized by abuse.