Nearly 1 in 10 senior citizens in the U.S. faces elder abuse from a caregiver, relative, or other party, yet only a fraction of these instances of elder abuse are ever reported. Why is that the case? Because, often times the person who is the victim of the abuse is unable to understand the caregiver abuse he is enduring or to express it, or, even where it is expressed, initial recipients of this information such as family members, fellow residents, or others do not properly respond. As a family member, friend, or associate of an elderly person, you should, therefore, be on the lookout for signs of caregiver abuse and help that person in taking the initial steps to get the assistance they need in fighting back against the abuse.
Signs of Caregiver Abuse
Whether an elderly person is being taken care of by an in-home caregiver or at an institution, they are at risk of neglect or physical, mental, sexual, or financial abuse.
Common signs of physical abuse and neglect include:
- Broken bones, lacerations, and bruises
- Abrasions and cuts on skins from ropes and restraints (beds, wheelchairs)
- Bug bites and insects in rooms
- Weight loss and dehydration
- Uncleaned clothes and dirty bedding or towels
- Mold in room or facilities
- Old or unreplaced toiletries
Common signs of mental abuse including yelling, threatening, and intimidating include:
- Isolation and requests not to be visited
- Recent, unexplained changes in mood
- Talking to oneself, rocking back-and-forth, and thumb-sucking
- Nervousness around caregivers and others
Why Victims of Elder Abuse Often Don’t Self-Report
Again, it is sadly the norm that those who are experiencing elder abuse often don’t report it, even to close friends and families. For those with significant mental and physical limitations, they may not even be aware that the abuse is occurring or, even if they are, may not be able to express it clearly. But in other cases, there is a hopelessness that no one will be able to help the situation or, worse yet, than no one even cares about the situation. There is also a fear of reprisal from the caregiver – who, by definition, the abused victim is dependent upon – and a hesitancy to get involved in the legal system.
State and federal law provides numerous protections for victims of elder abuse, and experienced elder abuse attorneys are out there to stand by the side of victims and guide them through the process of getting the justice and recovery they deserve, but often it takes a courageous person in that elder’s life to be on the lookout for the signs elder abuse and to work with that victim to get them the assistance they need. This can be as simple as a concerned family member or friend reaching out to an experienced elder abuse attorney in the area to discuss the circumstances and potential options.
Contact the CA Elder Abuse Attorneys at Johnson Moore Today
At Johnson Moore, we have dedicated our practice to defending the elderly from abuse. We know full well that elder abuse victims and their families often face stonewalling, denial, and even intimidation when they try to take action against elder abuse. We will listen to your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. Contact Johnson Moore today to schedule a free consultation on your potential California elder abuse claim.