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Elder abuse on the increase

Many Connecticut residents likely know a family member or a friend who is aging and who will likely need some intervention to ensure safety and proper care as the person ages. In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 10,000 individuals turn 65 every day, a phenomenon that is going to continue at least for another two decades.

Some of our readers may wonder why the aging of America is such a matter of concern. What many people may not know is that as the elder population increases, so do the abuses that elders face. In fact, according to one statistic, there are an estimated five million elders in the U.S. who are victims of some form of abuse, exploitation or neglect at the hands of their caregivers. A caregiver could be a family member or a nursing home staff member.

Even though many elders fare well in a nursing home setting and are well taken care of, there are times when news headlines may highlight a case in which a resident or residents at a nursing home have suffered elder abuse at the hands of their caregivers or other residents. The abuse that a vulnerable adult suffers may be due to declining health, cognitive abilities and more, and could be physical, sexual or financial in nature.

Many families who entrust a nursing home facility with the care of their loved may wonder how to spot patterns of elder abuse. It is interesting to note that there is no singular pattern which defines elder abuse, but such abuses range from emotional, psychological, physical and financial abuses to a combination of some or all of them. Elder abuse does not affect a certain class, culture, gender or sex. Anyone can be a victim and it is unacceptable for the elder population to suffer at the hands of opportunistic caregivers.

All caregivers and particularly those who are employed in a nursing home setting have a duty to provide elders entrusted to their care with a reasonable standard of care. In the absence of such care, where an elder has suffered some form of abuse, that nursing home and the responsible staff members may be held liable for the damages that result. If you have questions or concerns about elder abuse or if you believe that a loved one is being neglected at a nursing home, you may want to contact a lawyer for more information.

Source: Missoulian, "Elder abuse a growing concern," Michael Hagenlock, July 3, 2014

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Bridgeport, CT 06604

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