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Nursing homes and elderly care facilities tend to be pictured as ultimate safe havens for the elderly; places we can trust to house, care for, and supervise the needs of aging loved ones. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; the unsettling reality is that, every year in the United States, nursing home abuse and neglect occurs far more commonly than we are led to believe.

The major issues of nursing home abuse are far too often underplayed by society and the media, being either too sensitive to tackle head-on, or dismissible given uncertain circumstances. Nursing home abuse is a serious, even fatal virus within the elderly care industry, one more widespread than many Americans would like to think.

In these cases, finding help or legal guidance can be seen as a frustrating complicating factor in an already sensitive issue. Fortunately, there are professional resources available to make dealing with nursing home neglect simple, and get victims and victims’ families the support and compensation they deserve. Nobody deserves to be treated in the ways so many American elderly are treated every year. 

There Are Tens Of Thousands Of Abuse Cases Every Year

The way the media reports on nursing home neglect and elderly abuse, you’d think these unfortunate circumstances occurred far and few in between. This is, sadly, the result of underreporting; nursing home abuse is one of the most downplayed problems in not just the U.S., but also internationally.

According to nursing home abuse statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), one in ten older people living independently in communities are maltreated in the United States. In fact, the NCEA believes that as many as two million elders, whether in nursing homes or not, experience some kind of neglect or abuse. These staggering numbers are upsetting, to say the absolute least, and reveal much about elderly care in America.

If you suspect a loved one may be experiencing nursing home neglect in their care facility, don’t brush it off. It’s not a matter to take lightly, and can dramatically worsen as time progresses.

Different Types Of Abuse In Different Circumstances

Typically, when you think of nursing home neglect cases, you likely picture hitting, medical neglect, or other physical forms of maltreatment. While these are terrible truths of nursing home malpractice, there are other types and forms of abuse that may not come to mind when considering “abuse.”

This is a leading cause of nursing home neglect’s underreporting. In thousands of cases, the types of abuse (which seriously detract from the wellbeing and quality of life of victims) are considered lesser as they are non-physical, but are rather emotionally or psychologically jarring. Nursing home abuse is a shape-shifting malpractice, and can take virtually any form, including:

  • Yelling, threats and humiliation
  • Isolation from family, friends and activities
  • Sexual abuse
  • Withdrawal from normal activities 
  • Neglectful monitoring, which can result in dehydration or malnutrition
  • Negligent medical care, which often complicates later conditions
  • Financial abuse of the elder’s assets

The Potential Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect

Just like the causes and types of nursing home neglect, the warning signs go beyond what is physically recognizable. The following list is a brief compilation of things to be wary of if you suspect a loved one is an unfortunate victim of caregiver abuse; it is by no means complete (as abuse can take practically limitless forms), but should give you some direction in identifying signs of nursing home neglect.

  • Sudden weight loss, whether due to malnutrition or emotional anxiety
  • Irritation or unexplainable anxiety, and fluctuating changes in mood
  • Forgetfulness or severe memory loss, which may be a form of repression/selective memory
  • Depression or withdrawal from normal activities
  • Bruising, ulcers or overly sensitive areas
  • Bed sores
  • Strong, negative reaction to certain stimuli
  • Uncharacteristic purchases made by the elder or their caregiver, including failure to pay bills or keep appointments

Nursing Home Abuse Can Be Caused By A Number Of Factors 

There usually is not one factor that contributes to nursing home abuse; for abuse to occur, there is a combination of social, economic, and psychological factors that contribute to putting an elder at risk for maltreatment. According to the NCEA, contributing factors to nursing home abuse may include:

  • Dementia and cognitive impairment
  • Caregiver burden and burnout
  • Financial circumstances
  • Physical weakness
  • Level of dependence on a caregiver
  • Living situations: home, nursing home, long-term care, imbalanced relationships with one partner exerting control over the other

Most Nursing Home Abuse Cases Are Perpetrated By Loved Ones & Friends 

Unfortunately, most nursing home neglect cases are caused by the people the most vulnerable in society trust the most. This includes family members, friends, and caregivers. These abusers can range across the socioeconomic spectrum and be either men or women of any age or race. 

Sometimes, strangers such as con artists will attempt to take advantage of the elderly through scams or fake contests. These scams can cost seniors thousands of dollars.

You Can Receive Compensation to Recover From Abuse

In light of all the negative points in this article, there is some solace for victims of nursing home abuse, should they pursue legal action. The hardest part in a nursing home neglect case is initially getting the attention of authorities; there is a high barrier of entry for neglect victims and victims’ families looking to take official action.

Once the issue has been brought to light, however, there is a real chance for getting remedial compensation for years of neglect and emotional hardship. Often, the greatest asset a malpractice victim can have when taking their claims to court is an experienced, practical and compassionate nursing home abuse attorney.

How to Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect nursing home abuse, it’s important to report it! If you’re noticing any of the symptoms, contact programs such as Adult Protective Services (APS) for help. For reporting numbers, contact Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

Remember, call 911 or the local police in cases of urgent danger!

Remember! You’re Never Alone 

When you or a loved one are recovering from nursing home abuse or negligence, or seeking financial compensation for wrongdoings done during perceived “care,” it’s important to keep in mind that you are not alone. There are experienced, compassionate nursing abuse attorneys in your area who can help you get the support you need in these unsettling circumstances. By hiring a licensed legal professional in your area, you can find support for your loved ones, and ease the recovery from malpractice and nursing home abuse.

Don’t let nursing home abuse continue uninterrupted; contact Lowman Law Firm today to learn what you need to do to give justice to the loved ones who need it most.

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