The elderly population is the fastest growing demographic in the United States today. The United States Census predicted in 2011 that the elderly population would quadruple in number over the next four decades. For the full analysis, please check out http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/aging_population/cb11-194.html.
This population increase raises understandable concerns for many families who face the difficult decision of becoming the elderly loved one’s caretaker or choosing a nursing home or other type of facility designed to care for the elderly instead. Families raising small children that have a time-consuming career or that face other pre-existing complications limiting the family’s availability for caretaking responsibilities find a professional institution specializing in elderly care the more viable option. Despite the facility being a more sensible fit for the family and its loved one, the decision to rely on professional care is an emotional one. Ultimately, the family is trusting that the facility will provide the type of care the loved one would receive at home. Thus, suspicions that elderly abuse or neglect is occurring must be addressed immediately for the sake of the entire family.
The signs of elderly neglect can manifest in very subtle ways and may not be immediately detectable to family members. Examples of possible signs of neglect are weight loss, an unkempt appearance, an uncharacteristic, depressed, or anxious shift in personality, or unusual physical or mental symptoms that may indicate that the elderly person is not receiving medications or other types of care properly. Neglect is the failure to provide optimal care despite knowing that certain standards must be met. This includes insufficient food and water provision, infrequent attention to bathroom or personal care needs and frequent delay, or disregard to medication schedules or dosages.
Abuse is the intent to cause physical, mental, emotional, or sexual harm in a criminal capacity. Because of the nature of the offense, abuse carries a more serious legal implication. Physical signs of abuse can include severe bruising, broken bones, cuts, and pressure ulcers. Examples of other, non-physical forms of abuse are isolating the person, forcing them to be confined to a bed or wheelchair or using emotional intimidation detrimental to the person’s well-being and dignity. Ultimately, acts of abuse are a crime against a person that gives cause for legal action.
What Can Be Done?
Once abuse is suspected, the family should alert the institution’s administrator and file a formal complaint with the state department responsible for nursing home regulations. If abuse and neglect play a role in the institution’s care, however, the family should contact the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys. This team of professionals specializes in elderly neglect and abuse cases, and can provide consultation for families considering legal action. Though no one prefers this course of action, families can trust that the rights and dignity of their loved one will be protected in the name of justice.
If you have a loved one or friend in a nursing home and you suspect in any way that he or she is suffering from abuse or neglect, take action. Talk to the patient if you have suspicions, and do something to stop it. Contact The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys and we can help you get answers to your concerns. We want to help your loved one and provide them with compensation for the damages they have already suffered. Let us help you today. Contact us at (800) 222-8163 and we will begin investigating the situation immediately.