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Elder Abuse Warning Signs

Worried that your loved one is being mistreated?

Hopefully, you are wrong. Hopefully, your mother, father or other family member is not being subjected to any type of nursing home abuse. Hopefully he or she is in good hands and is being given the highest level of care and attention by the people you have trusted. But if there is any chance that you are right, you should not take any chances. As soon as possible after you have noticed signs that your loved one may be the victim of elder abuse in nursing home or assisted living facility, you should take action to investigate the situation and find the truth.

Nursing home abuse takes many forms, from emotional abuse and neglect to sexual abuse and even physical violence. Regardless of the specific type of mistreatment, any type of abuse of the elderly is utterly unacceptable, particularly when it is perpetrated by those who have been entrusted with their care. Most of the people who work in nursing homes are caring and well-intentioned individuals, but it is frequently the case that the facility is woefully understaffed with the result that the caregivers are overworked and stressed. There is also the fact that such facilities will often attract predatory individuals who see an opportunity to vent their cruelties and take advantage of the helplessness of residents. While your suspicions may be entirely unfounded, you should not rationalize the evidence or make excuses. Nursing home abuse does occur, and if it is happening to your family member it is your duty to put an end to the mistreatment before it is too late.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Some of the signs that a nursing home resident is being abused are relatively obvious. Bruises, cuts, and hospitalization for unexplained injuries should all cause you to be suspicious that your loved one has been subjected to some type of physical violence. Injuries may be the result of rough treatment or mishandling on the part of a caretaker, or could be caused by an outright attack. Burns or abrasions on the skin are sometimes a sign that the victim has been placed under restraints such as being tied down to a bed. Other physical signs to watch for include sudden weight loss, dehydration or other deterioration of health, which may indicate that the individual is not receiving proper care or is not eating due to emotional distress.

When investigating for elder abuse, you should not only look for physical injuries but also for emotional trauma. You may notice that your loved one has changed, is less cheerful or not as outgoing as before. He or she may be withdrawn, irritable or anxious, or may be fearful about being left alone. If you ever show up for a visit and are informed that you will not be allowed to see your family member, or will not be allowed to meet in private, you should treat this as a major warning sign.

Don't Wait to Take Action

You should not count on your family member to come to you for help. Nursing home abuse can be both degrading and humiliating, and the victims frequently will not speak out about the situation. To make matters worse, their loved ones may not notice the signs or might hesitate to take action because they don't want to invade the victim's privacy. You may not get an honest answer the first time you ask, but with compassionate insistence you may be able to encourage him or her to confide in you. As soon as you have grounds to believe that your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, come to Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. for help. We have more than 70 years of combined experience, and we fully understand the sensitive nature of the situation. An attorney from our firm is ready to meet with you and explore your legal options, and we may be able to help you sue for monetary damages. Remember, by taking action now you may not only be able to protect your family member, but could also be saving other innocent victims from suffering similar abuse.

Weinstein & Scharf, P.A.
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