Although statistics indicate that nearly 10% of seniors experience elder abuse, all too often the victims of elder abuse do not expressly inform others when abuse is occurring. This may be due to mental and physical impairments that make them unable to comprehend that abuse is happening or to communicate that fact to others. But it also may be due to their being unaware of their rights, fear that telling others will invite further abuse, or despair or hopelessness that anyone will help even if they do tell. Thus, it is often up to family members and others to spot the signs of elder abuse and get in contact with an elder abuse attorney who can take decisive action to hold abusers accountable while protecting the victims from further harm.
Senior citizens are generally more prone to physical ailments such as broken bones and illnesses than others, and gradual loss of motor skills can mean a higher risk of falls and other accidents, but close attention must be given to physical injuries to determine whether they are due to normal accidents or physical abuse.
Signs of physical abuse that should be investigated include:
- Abrasions on skin from ropes, straps, and other restraints
- Burns from appliances, hot water, and cigarettes
- Broken bones, lacerations, and bruises
- Suspicious and/or illogical explanations by others for injuries
Mental and/or Verbal Abuse
Nursing home and skilled living residents are also often the targets of mental and/or verbal abuse from care workers, other residents, and even other visitors and family members. Whether such abuse occurs due to longstanding resentments, frustrations with the victim’s behavior or attitudes, or some other reason, it is unacceptable and may be the basis of an elder abuse claim.
Signs of mental and/or verbal use that should be investigated include:
- Increased isolation from other residents
- Apathetic behavior
- Unexplained changes in mood
- Talking to oneself
- Nervousness around caregivers and others
- Child-like behaviors such as rocking back-and-forth and thumb-sucking
Neglect and Improper Care
Even where direct physical abuse or mental abuse is not occurring, failing to provide elderly residents with the proper food, toiletries, bedding, cleaning services, and medical care they need is considered neglect which is also actionable as elder abuse.
Signs of such violations include:
- Bed sores
- Weight loss and dehydration
- Requests for food and toiletries the facility should be providing
- Uncleaned clothes
- Insects in room or facilities
- Mold in room or facilities
- Old or unreplaced toiletries
- Dirty bedding or towels
Many Other Signs of Elder Abuse May Be Present
These are only a few of the many signs of elder abuse that could be occurring. Again, elderly residents are often unable to sense or articulate when they have been victims of elder abuse and it is up to family members and others to take the appropriate actions to protect them from further abuse and win the financial recovery they deserve for their injuries. Talk to an elder abuse attorney about other potential signs of elder abuse.
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.