The holidays are a time when many people opt to visit elderly loved ones in nursing homes. This provides an important opportunity not just for visiting and sharing holiday joy, but also for checking in with the senior in your life and making sure that he or she is OK.
Unfortunately, there are far too many seniors in nursing homes who are not OK because they are the victims of elder abuse or neglect. Our Munster nursing home abuse attorneys want to remind every visitor to a nursing home this holiday season to be on the lookout for potential red flags or signs of trouble that could indicate problems in the nursing home.
Elder Abuse a Widespread Problem
While it may seem unthinkable, elder abuse is a widespread problem in Indiana and throughout the United States. While many cases go unreported and it is difficult to get exact figures, estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse indicate that anywhere between 1 million and 2 million individuals aged 65 and older are victimized by some type of elder abuse or neglect.
Both abuse and neglect can be devastating to a senior’s health and well-being. In fact, the Senior Journal has reported that elderly individuals subject to mental or physical abuse have a three times greater risk of passing away within three years of the abusive or wrongful behavior than a senior who is not victimized by bad treatment.
Spotting Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be physical, financial, mental or emotional. It can also include being neglectful and depriving a senior of care. There are a variety of different signs that abuse is occurring and family members should be on the lookout for indicators of abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse offers some things to be on the lookout for including:
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Cigarette burns or other unexplained burns
- Bruises that cannot be explained
- Any injuries that cannot be explained
- Inadequate personal hygiene
- Dirty or unhygienic living conditions
- A significant decrease in weight or signs of malnutrition
- Unexplained or unexpected mood changes, including depression or anxiety
- Genital bruising or an STD
- Financial transactions that are unusual or that cannot be explained
- Missing property or money
If you identify any of these potential signs of abuse, it is very important that you take appropriate action. The holidays are a time when nursing homes are aware that residents tend to have more visitors than at any other times of the year. As such, even most bad nursing homes will clean up their act during this time. If the nursing home you visit is being abusive or neglectful during this season, things are likely to be much worse at other times of the year.
Indiana provides resources for those who suspect elder abuse through the Family and Social Services Administration. Details on adult protective services as well as on nursing facilities in the state can be found on their website.
Attorney Burton A. Padove represents personal injury victims. If you or someone you love has been injured, call (219) 836 2200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Highland Injury Attorneys & Your Risks of an Autumn Traffic Accident, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, October 30, 2012
Thousands of Recalled Products Posing Injury Risks in Highland, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2012