Millions of elderly Americans are abused each year by those entrusted with caring for them. As we age, we become physically frailer and may experience changes in sensation and cognition. This leaves room for individuals in positions of trust to take advantage of the elderly. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the number of elderly adults who are mistreated is close to 5 million and growing. Many of these incidents go unnoticed or unreported, but a personal injury lawyer can help you bring them to an end.
Know the Facts
There are several ways to help prevent elder abuse. The first thing you should know is that 90% of all abusers are in fact family members. Don’t assume that someone you know is incapable of mistreating an elderly adult. Half of family members who abuse elder adults are adult children, and 20% are spouses or intimate partners. Other perpetrators of elder abuse include friends, neighbors, or caregiving service providers.
Recognize the Warning Signs
Be on the lookout for older friends or family members who appears troubled but is reluctant to speak about it. They may appear malnourished, unclean, or frightened of their caregivers. Frequent bruising, depression, or a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy may be signs of abuse.
Look for cues in the caregivers’ behavior as well. They may be verbally or physically abusive to the older person or even others around them. Substance abuse in caregivers is a large contributor to the problem. If an adult or caregiver refuses to let you into the home, or if mail, newspapers, or magazines have begun accumulating outside, abuse may be taking place within. Be on the lookout for large numbers of people using the home, as well as any bad odors that may be originating in the house.
Elder abuse is a tragic event that occurs every day in the United States. If you or someone you know or love has been abused by those responsible for their care, seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney to learn your options. If you live in the Chicago area and would like to speak with an attorney, call Malman Law at (312) 983-6193. We represent our clients diligently and aggressively, and will fight to protect your rights and interests. Call us today to learn how we can help.