Elder abuse and neglect is all too prevalent in today’s world. As baby boomers continue to age, the number of individuals in nursing homes continues to increase. In order to monitor and attempt to reduce the number of abuse victims, the National Center on Elder Abuse studies the trends and prevalence of elder abuse in America. According to one of their studies, it is estimated that 1 in 13 older adults had been victims of at least one form of elder abuse in the previous year. One of the most devastating statistics reveals that those who suffer from dementia become even greater targets. According to a 2009 study, almost 50% of people with dementia experience some form of abuse.
These statistics are discouraging, especially for those whose only option is residing at a nursing home. Knowing the different types of abuse and recognizing their identifiers can help save elderly victims and hopefully lower the number of individuals that suffer from nursing home abuse.
Common Forms of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
There are five common forms of abuse and neglect that many elders are subjected to:
- Physical abuse is one of the most prevalent types of abuse and can be relatively easy to spot. Physical abuse can include acts such as hitting, beating, and shoving in addition to the inappropriate use of drugs and force-feeding. If you notice any unexplained injuries such as bruises, bone fractures, or wounds, physical abuse may be to blame. In some cases, the caregiver will refuse to allow visitors to see the elderly person alone to keep them from telling their loved ones about the abuse.
- Sexual abuse occurs when the elderly person is subjected to any non-consensual sexual contact. One should look for bruises around the breasts or genital area, unexplained venereal or genital infections, and torn or bloody underclothing.
- Emotional/psychological abuse is the infliction of anguish, distress, or pain through verbal or nonverbal acts. This may include insults, intimidation, and humiliation. Identifying this form of abuse requires attention to the individual’s emotions and behavior. Being non-responsive or withdrawn can be a sign that your loved one is suffering from this type of abuse.
- Financial exploitation refers to the illegal or improper use of a person’s property, funds, or assets. This can be done by cashing an elderly person’s checks without permission or forging the person’s signature for financial gain. If you come across a sudden change in your loved one’s bank account or an unauthorized withdrawal of funds, you may need to consider the possibility that they are suffering from financial exploitation.
- Neglect is a blanket term for failing to fulfill the obligations or duties owed to an elder. This usually occurs with life necessities such as clothing, personal hygiene, food, or medicine. Signs of this include untreated bed sores, dehydration, poor hygiene, and malnutrition.
Call a Milwaukee Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer
Noticing that your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect while under the care of a nursing home can be devastating. Staff members at these facilities are expected to provide your loved one with the utmost care, and a nursing home should be held responsible for any forms of abuse or neglect is inflict upon their residents. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, our attorneys have experience in all areas of personal injury and have successfully litigated many such cases across the state of Wisconsin. We provide our clients with aggressive representation to help your loved one get the compensation that they deserve. If you or a loved one have suffered any form of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact our Milwaukee, WI personal injury attorneys at 414-271-1440 for professional legal help.