News & Resources: Blog

Protecting Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

Published: February 24, 2021

The process of choosing a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in-home medical care is complicated, difficult, and often emotional. The last thing on your mind is the possibility that those responsible for the care of some of our most vulnerable loved ones would abuse or neglect their patients. Unfortunately, it does occur way too often and leaves the victims and their families struggling with the ramifications. The abuse can come in many forms and being able to prevent and detect it allows families to ensure the health and safety of their loved ones. In this blog, we discuss the different types of abuse, how to spot them, and how, if needed, an elder law attorney can help protect your loved ones.

Types of Elder Abuse

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” According to the US Department of Justice, at least 10% of adults age 65 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year,
with some older adults simultaneously experiencing more than one type of abuse. Below are some of the types of elder abuse according to elderabuse.org that you should be aware of to prevent and detect:

  • Elder Neglect– When a responsible caregiver fails to meet the medical, social, or psychological needs of an older adult.
  • Physical Abuse- When violence, force, or the threat of force is used to harm an older person.
  • Financial Abuse/ Exploitation- When someone takes money or property from an older person without their knowledge, understanding, or consent.
  • Psychological Abuse- When someone attempts to intimidate, demean, or belittle an older person with words or actions.
  • Sexual Abuse- When someone forces unwanted sexual contact on an older adult.
  • Nursing Home Abuse- When any form of abuse occurs in an institutional setting such as a nursing home.

Signs of Elder Abuse

While the prevention of any abuse is the ultimate goal, being able to identify the signs of elder abuse allows us to put a stop to it and hold the abusers responsible. Below are some of the signs your loved one is being mistreated or abused:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruising, cuts or welts
  • Bed sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts or unusual depression
  • Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
  • Caregivers that do not want the patient to be left alone with others
  • Sudden changes in financial situation or missing personal items

How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, it is imperative to report it as soon as possible to the nursing home or caretaking facility involved.  You will also want to document any discussions or interactions that you may have with that facility or agency. An attorney with experience and knowledge in all facets of elder law can help advocate for you and your loved ones when abuse takes place.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

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