In order to protect elderly loved ones from abuse, which may cause serious injuries or death, it is important for people to recognize the signs.
Unfortunately, the mistreatment of some of America's most vulnerable is all too common. According to the American Psychological Association, it is estimated that four million elderly people across the U.S. are the victims of abuse each year. This may be at the hands of family members, nursing home staff or other caregivers, or others who they trust. In order to help protect their elderly loved ones, it is important for people in Connecticut, and elsewhere, to recognize the signs of elder abuse.
Abuse takes many forms
The mistreatment of elders extends beyond just physical abuse. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out that elder abuse also includes sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment. Additionally, exploitation is also a common type of elder abuse. As a result of such mistreatment, people may suffer physical and emotional effects that may negatively impact their health and wellbeing. Often, elders who are abused are unable, afraid or ashamed to tell anyone they are being mistreated.
Physical signs of abuse
Poorly explained or unexplained injuries are relatively easy to spot. This may include bruises, cuts, broken bones, pressure marks or burns. The development of bedsores and unattended medical needs may also signal possible abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, a lack of basic hygiene, such as infrequent bathing, unkempt hair or dirty clothing, may also be a cause for concern. So too is unusual and unexplainable weight loss.
Emotional signs of abuse
Some signs of abuse are not so easily seen. Elderly people who are victims of abuse may have unusual depression or agitation, or other mood or behavioral changes. The American Psychological Association points out that they may also become unresponsive or uncommunicative. Further, elders who are abused may become isolated or evasive. They may inexplicably withdraw from activities they used to enjoy or become disinterested in social interactions.
Seeking legal counsel
If people in Connecticut suspect their elderly loved ones are being abused, it is important that they report their concerns. This may help put an end to the abuse, as well as ensure that it does not happen to anyone else. In some cases, however, people have already suffered injuries before elder abuse is identified and stopped.
When elders are abused, they may require additional medical treatment and care. This may lead to unexpected costs, among other damages. Depending on the circumstances, the person who committed the abuse may be liable. Therefore, those whose loved ones have experienced situations such as this may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may help them to understand their rights, as well as their options for pursuing financial compensation.