The elderly are one of the most vulnerable populations in society. Unfortunately, many people will exploit this vulnerability in a variety of ways, which results in the elderly being abused or neglected by caregivers. Over 500,000 elderly Americans who are 60 years of age or older experience neglect or abuse annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, this statistic only illustrates a part of the total problem, since many times elder abuse incidences will go unreported. Although elder abuse can occur in various settings, one of the most common settings is within a nursing home.
Defining Elder Abuse
Knowing the legal definition of elder abuse is important, since this will determine whether or not a lawsuit should be filed with the help of any nursing home abuse attorney omaha ne. Elder abuse, as defined by the Administration on Aging, is knowingly acting in a negligent manner while in the role as a caregiver, resulting in serious risk of harm or actual harm to a “vulnerable adult.” The Administration on Aging is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Six Types of Elder Abuse
According to the CDC, there are six types of abuse which can occur to those who are 60 years of age or older. These types of elder abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Financial manipulation or abuse is another form of elder abuse identified by the CDC. Another form of elder abuse is abandonment of a vulnerable person.
Defining Elder Neglect
Nailing down an exact definition of “neglect” when it comes to elder abuse is significantly more difficult than legally proving physical abuse. This is because of the numerous types of neglect that can take place as well as how the facts may vary according to the specific situation. However, generally, neglect is any failure of a caregiver to fulfill obligations during the care of an elderly person. This pertains to a hired caregiver staff or even family members.
Usually neglect will occur in the form of a denial of basic needs. This can include denial of food, clothing and medical care. Also, denial of shelter and even hygiene are common forms of elder neglect.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
It is important to keep an eye on loved ones who may be vulnerable to elder abuse. Some signs of physical abuse look out for are mysterious injuries, such as broken bones, burns or bruises. Frequent usage of medical providers may also be a sign of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse may produce fearful behavior, changes in personality, anxiety and fear of interaction with caregivers. Sexual abuse may result in development of genital or anal pain or even sexually transmitted diseases. Signs of neglect may come in the form of poor hygiene, malnourishment or even unpaid bills. Abandonment may result in unsanitary living conditions or lack of necessary medical treatment. Financial exploitation could result in discrepancies between an elderly person’s available assets and standards of living.