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Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes

Elder Law Lawyer

Elder abuse in nursing homes can have many forms, making it difficult to identify at times. Common signs that elder abuse is happening are related to personality or behavioral changes, physical symptoms or wounds, or unexplained financial transactions. By understanding all the ways that elder abuse can happen, families of a senior person are more prepared to take action if the moment comes that they need to. As a Bergen County, NJ elder law lawyer from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC explains, depending on the abuse, signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse may entail but are not limited to:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Broken bones, cuts, or bruises
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sudden loss of money
  • WIthdrawal from loved ones

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) reasons that 1 in every 10 senior people suffers some kind of abuse every year, yet the signs often go unnoticed or underreported. To prevent abuse of the elderly in nursing homes, relatives must take prompt action by contacting local authorities and a lawyer as soon as possible. Any person is vulnerable to experiencing elder abuse at some point in their life, however, those at an increased risk include: 

  • Those who have a caregiver that lives with them and relies on the senior person for financial support, has a criminal background, or abuses drugs.
  • Adults who are over the age of 80, particularly those with medical conditions that affect cognition and communication.
  • Elderly people who live alone, don’t participate in nursing home group activities, or are rarely visited by relatives.

The physical signs of abuse tend to be more obvious. A nursing home resident who is being mistreated may have broken bones, burns, welts, bruises, concussions, head injuries, bed sores, and pressure marks. But relatives who frequently check up on how their senior relative is doing in the nursing home are helping prevent their family members from being abused. If family does not visit often, perpetrators may think they are less likely to get caught committing abuse. If your loved one has bruises on their thighs or chest, bleeding or irritation of their genitals, or exhibit inappropriate relationships with a caregiver, then they may be victims of sexual abuse and immediate intervention is needed. 

Emotional abuse may or may not have physical symptoms. But physical abuse can coincide with emotional abuse. This form of abuse can be just as damaging in the long term compared to other types of mistreatment. Being nervous to talk freely, withdrawing from others, and suffering from mental health problems are all signs that emotional abuse may be happening. 

Financial exploitation can occur when staff or others who are around the resident have access to their personal information. Common signs of financial abuse include large amounts of money suddenly missing from bank accounts, the senior person is not able to access their finances, and there are unexplained transactions or purchases the resident could not have done themselves. 

Anyone who suspects that their loved one is being neglected or mistreated in a nursing home must take action quickly, so that further incidents cannot occur. If you are worried about your senior relative, then now is the time to recruit help from law enforcement and a nursing home abuse lawyer.