Few things are more frightening than suspecting your elderly parent, spouse or other family member is being neglected or abused in a long-term care facility. Whether it’s a nursing home, assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility, abuse and neglect can happen.
The World Health Organization reports astonishing statistics on the topic of elder abuse:
- Approximately one in six people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.
- Abuse rates are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with two in three staff members reporting they committed abuse in the past year.
- Abuse of older people increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Abuse of older people can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
- Abuse of older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly aging populations.
- The global population of people 60 and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050.
Detecting abuse is particularly difficult if one is unable to visit a family member or loved one regularly. The question becomes:
“How can I tell if my elderly loved one is being abused?”
- Visit as often as possible. Check your family member for skin sores (bedsores), proper hydration, weight and mood.
- If you are unable to visit regularly, insist upon video calls every day or two. Even if your loved one is unable to effectively communicate, you can do a visual inspection of their surroundings.
- When you visit or place a video call, are their necessities (canes, walkers, water, books, phone) within reach? How is their general demeanor? A mood change can be indicative of fear or depression.
- Become friendly with the staff. In some abuse cases, an honorable staff member will let you know if others are not treating residents properly.
- Look for cuts, bumps, and bruises.
If any of the previously mentioned items are concerns, document these occurrences with dates, notes, voice recordings of conversations, and pictures. We recommend calling us if you have concerns so we can advise you of your rights and provide insight on the information you should gather to help prove your case. There is no charge for this consultation.
Recently, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed “Shirley’s Law,” which establishes an elder abuse registry. The registry is expected to be live by Jan. 1, 2023.
If you have a loved one or family member you suspect is being abused, you may be correct. Trust your instincts and call us for counsel. It’s far better to err on the side of caution and disprove your theory than to ignore signs of abuse.
Call 256-650-5500 to contact our office and speak with one of our attorneys or paralegals. As always, we never charge a fee unless you win your case.