The average life expectancy of someone living in the United States has increased dramatically over the past century. Living longer, however, also typically increases the likelihood of spending time in a long-term care facility or nursing home. If you have an elderly loved one who is a resident of a nursing home, it is imperative that you be on the lookout for signs of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Sadly, abuse of the elderly is a growing problem in the United States. Just as the young make easy victims, so do the elderly, for many of the same reasons. The elderly are often physically or mentally unable to defend themselves from abuse or neglect by caregivers. In addition, even those who are able to complain often fear doing so because they are dependent on their abusers. While there are many elderly caregivers who are compassionate and competent, there are also far too many who prey on the elderly. If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, he or she could become the victim of physical or mental abuse and/or neglect. The elderly are also frequently financially victimized by unscrupulous individuals who prey on the elderly. Because your loved one may be unable, or unwilling, to tell you about abuse or neglect, it is up to you to look for the signs, such as:
- Excessive bruising
- Signs of unnecessary restraints
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Unkempt or dirty appearance
- Medical problems with no explanation (medication may be being withheld)
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Unpaid bills stacking up
- Unexplained funds missing
Checking on your loved one on a regular basis is always a good idea; however, showing up unannounced at an odd time is an even better idea. If you suspect abuse or neglect, chances are that your fears are founded. Try and talk to your loved one in private and assure him or her that you will make sure the abuse or neglect stops if your loved one will confide in you. Next, consult the experienced attorneys at Simon & Gilman, LLP to determine what steps should be taken to stop the abuse and ensure that the perpetrators are held responsible. Both an individual caregiver as well as the nursing home could face civil and criminal penalties for a Queens nursing home abuse or neglect.