Omaha Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home abuse is becoming a widespread issue within the elderly community. Of the nursing home population, 44% have reportedly been abused, while only 10% of elders living at home have experienced abuse.
The vast difference in numbers shows that we must do more to protect our loved ones while they are in the care of others. The elderly are often the targets for abuse and neglect because they often cannot fend for themselves, they sometimes cannot advocate for themselves, and they are not in constant contact with family members. If your loved one is in a nursing home, thoroughly research the facility, keep in constant contact, and be on the lookout for any signs of abuse or negligence.
The most common types of abuse are physical, emotional, and financial. It is important to educate yourself on the signs of abuse so you can identify the issues quickly and keep your loved ones from harm.
Physical abuse and neglect of an elderly person is highly dangerous and could be fatal, especially when combined with other preexisting health issues he or she may have. Physically abused elders have a 300% higher risk of death. Physical abuse and neglect can be easy to spot, as your loved one may have unexplained injuries such as bruises, welts, black eyes, cuts, broken bones, head injuries, etc. But, abuse and neglect can be harder to identify, too. Signs of physical abuse and neglect include:
- Weight loss
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Bed sores
- Worsening overall health
- Poor hygiene
- Increased vulnerability to illness and infection
- Psychological changes
- Anxiety and fear of others
- Eating disorder
- Withdrawals and depression
- Refusal to take medications
- Changes in behavior and personality
Emotional abuse can be harder to detect since there are no outwardly visible scars from it. Being constantly berated or talked down to can have negative effect on the victim’s physical and mental health. It is dehumanizing, and it can cause deep and painful suffering. The signs that a patient may be experiencing emotional abuse are:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Inability to make decisions
- Loss of interest
- Low self-esteem
- Passive and non-communicative behavior
- Changes in behavior and personality
Even knowing the signs, it can still be hard to detect emotional abuse because behavioral changes in a senior citizen could be attributed to illness or struggling to deal with the loss of independence. If it is, in fact, abuse or neglect, the victim’s behavior will often change when the abuser comes around. Signs and symptoms to look for include:
- Nervousness or cowering in patient
- Abrupt change in patient’s mood
- Basic hygiene not being provided to patient
- Aggression or tension between patient and caregiver
- Caregiver refuses to let you talk to patient alone
- Caregiver isolates patient from family
- Caregiver gives contradicting statements about patient’s behavior or injuries
- Caregiver treats patient like a child
Financial abuse is another common form of abuse to the elderly. Every year, over 500,000 elderly people are victims of financial scams that cost up to $3 billion annually in lost funds. The elderly make up 70% of America’s wealth due to the fact that they have larger savings. This fact (coupled with the fact that they can be helpless and sometimes too trusting) can make them easy targets. Common forms of financial abuse include theft, fraud, real-estate exploitation, contractor fraud, and investment and insurance scams. Unfortunately, the elderly are most likely to be scammed by a family member, nursing home resident, or caregiver. This crime is committed “close to home.”
Getting a Lawyer Involved
If you or someone you know has been a victim of nursing home or elder abuse, you need to take action.
Bottlinger Law L.L.C. is here to help. We can provide assistance on how to regain your assets from financial abuse or file a lawsuit against a nursing home. Contact an Omaha personal injury attorney at our office at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.
- Nebraska DHHS: Adult Protective Services
- Elder Abuse - CDC
- Elder Justice - National Council on Aging
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