When a parent or loved one requires care beyond what you can provide, difficult decisions must be made about who will provide that care or where it will be.
Often, we make the decision to entrust our loved ones to an in-home nurse, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. We do this with the belief that those professionals are educated about elderly care and will take good care of our loved ones. Sadly, this is often not the case.
SIGNS OF ELDER ABUSE:
- PHYSICAL ABUSE: bruises, abrasions, burns, broken bones
- EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Sudden and unexplained changes in mood or behavior like sudden depression, withdrawal from usual activities; frequent arguments between the elder and the caregiver
- NEGLECT: Poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, bedsores, medical needs that are not met
WHO IS MOST AT RISK:
Any elderly adult who relies on help from a caregiver is at risk for abuse, neglect or mistreatment. However, elderly adults who are isolated or have a mental impairment are most at risk. Studies show that almost half of elderly adults with dementia have been abused or neglected by a caregiver. The most recent COVID restrictions at nursing homes could result in cases of neglect going unnoticed or unreported by family members simply because they are not able to see the warning signs regularly or at all.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY LOVED ONE:
Checking in on your loved one frequently is one way to reduce the likelihood of abuse or to catch the warning signs early. Especially in nursing homes where caregivers have many residents to see and a limited time to do it, knowing that someone is “watching” can help ensure your loved one gets the care needed.
If your loved one is in a nursing home or other type of nursing facility, installing cameras in your loved one’s room is another way to deter neglect at best or at least have evidence of it at worst.
Listening to your loved one and his or her caregivers can help you spot warning signs, and providing support when you are able can help prevent abuse from happening.
There are many reasons why abuse occurs: inadequate training in dealing with the special needs of the elderly, understaffed and understocked facilities, and caregivers with their own emotional stresses are just a few of the factors that contribute to elder abuse and neglect.
However, elder abuse and neglect is a serious issue that is not at all acceptable, regardless of the contributing factors. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should take action to protect your loved one:
- If the danger appears life threatening, call 911.
- Report abuse to Elderly Protective Services in Louisiana at 833-577-6532.
- Speak to an attorney with experience in elder abuse to find out what kind of action can be taken to stop the abuse and hold those responsible accountable.
At our office, we have both personal experience and legal experience with elder abuse and neglect. We’ve helped many families get the care they need for their loved ones as well as justice their families deserve. Give us a call at 337-347-7177 to talk to an attorney today.