According to the National Coalition on Aging, an estimated 5 million seniors face mistreatment in the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, or abandonment every year. One in ten senior citizens will face abuse or neglect as they age, but only one in fourteen will report the incident.
Elder abuse is rampant. It is unacceptably tragic. And it is often the responsibility of family members to identify and put a stop to it.
What Does Elder Abuse Look Like?
Signs of physical or sexual abuse include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Bruises on hips or breasts
- Genital bleeding
It is common for seniors who are being abused to act fearful around staff or to become generally withdrawn from the nursing home community. These, just like broken bones and bruises, can be clear signs of abuse. Watch for them. Listen to what your loved one has to say about her or his experience. Trust your suspicions.
Signs of neglect in a nursing home may include:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Inadequate personal hygiene
- Generally unsanitary conditions
- Bedsores and pressure ulcers
- Over or under medication
As with physical or sexual abuse, victims of neglect may become withdrawn, seem uncharacteristically combative or aggressive, and suffer depression or anxiety.
Death is a possible consequence of all forms of elder abuse and neglect.
What to do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
In the state of California, elder abuse is reported to your local Adult Protective Services office. A list of local APS offices can be found here. If you suspect imminent danger, you may also want to call the police. And, of course, you will want to reach out to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
The Courtroom Warriors at Kirtland & Packard help victims of elder abuse – and their families – get the justice they deserve. Tireless, aggressive, and unforgiving of abusers, we are here to hold those who would harm our most vulnerable citizens to account for all of their actions.
Call Kirtland & Packard at (310) 536-1000 to schedule a free case review right away. We serve Torrance and surrounding areas from our Redondo Beach office.