Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

When it comes to elder abuse and neglect it can be difficult to detect and even more difficult to compile statistics. This lack of hard numbers can make the problem seem minuscule, when in actuality we are talking thousands, if not millions, of older American citizens becoming victims of abuse and neglect every year. Elder abuse can happen anywhere and to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic and culture. For many older people abuse and neglect can occur in their home, assisted facilities, nursing homes, and even in hospitals. The nursing home specialist at Rosenbaum and Associates have vast experience in the field of elder care and are able to advise on suspected claims of abuse and neglect throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region.

Elder abuse can take many forms most of which occur behind closed doors. The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate actions, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” The following indicators and risk factors do not necessarily signify abuse or neglect but it can be helpful in assessing whether the older adult is in a position of harm. Common risk factors for abuse include, isolation, having few social interactions throughout one’s day, poor physical health, decreased mental health or dementia, and substance abuse.

Visual cues can be harder to see on an older citizen if they are particularly keen on wearing layers. A strong indicator is any unusual or unexplained sudden injuries, such as bruises, burns and cuts. Unkempt appearances especially if this individual in the past took time to put themselves together. Sudden and extreme changes in the older adult’s personality such as from being outgoing to withdrawn, or depressed, or easily startled and showing signs of anxiety. Also equally as important as the older adult’s appearance and personality is that of their caretaker. Particularly concerning is if the caretaker does not allow the older person to speak for him or herself. If you see the caretaker displaying anger or indifference towards the older adult, including berating, taking down, yelling, and or hitting the older adult, contact the Older Adult Protective Services. Social workers and investigators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take reports of suspected abuse and neglect. In the Philadelphia region the number is 215-765-9040.

If you happen to see an elder exhibiting any of the signs stated above please take a moment and inquire into what happened. If you believe the story is either a little too perfect or just does not hold up to scrutiny, then do not hesitate to report your concerns through proper channels. It is better that an investigator comes out to survey the person’s situation and find nothing, then the alternative of not speaking up and having the older adult suffer in silence.

If you believe you or your loved one has suffered elder abuse and neglect please contact the nursing home specialist at Rosenbaum and Associates. If you would like more information regarding nursing home abuse and neglect please contact us online or call 1- 800-7-LEGAL-7 for a Free Case Evaluation.