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About Nursing Home Abuse

Is your loved one a victim?

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a widespread problem that has been known to occur in even the finest of nursing homes. It's not difficult for a fragile senior to fall victim to either an overworked and overwhelmed caregiver, or worse, someone that has little patience and a far more sinister demeanor. Each year tens of thousands of seniors across America are being abused by the very people that are supposed to care for them, and because many of them have no one to turn to, many abused and neglected seniors suffer in silence.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

The elderly can be extremely frail and vulnerable, especially when they suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease. In such cases their caregiver may chalk up their accounts to "figments of their imagination," or dementia. However, just because a caregiver is blaming the senior's dementia for their complaints, it doesn't mean what they are saying is not true.

Elder abuse typically occurs behind closed doors when nobody is watching, and seniors are generally abused by whoever is caring for them on a daily basis. When this abuse goes on in a nursing home, it is referred to as nursing home abuse. Nursing home abuse can involve various forms of abuse and these include: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. As a loved one it's extremely important that if you feel uneasy about the nursing home, or if your loved one has been making complaints that you remain vigilant and know what warning signs to look out for.

Physical abuse refers to any type of bodily injury or pain. Physical abuse can involve hitting, slapping, pinching, punching, kicking, force feeding, and pushing, and shoving, inappropriate use of restraints, heavily sedating or drugging the person, beating, and any other type of physical abuse.

Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact. This can include fondling, rape, sodomy, forcing the person to watch sexually explicit material, sexual battery, coercing the person to undress, and sexually explicit photographing.

Emotional or psychological abuse involves inflicting any kind of emotional pain or anguish through verbal or non-verbal acts. This can include ignoring the person, shouting, making verbal threats, giving them the silent treatment, social isolation, treating the person like an infant, isolating them from social activities, or their friends or family.

Neglect occurs whenever the caregiver fails to take proper care of the elderly adult or when they fail to provide the necessary food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, or other essentials that are necessary for comfort. This can also include failure to maintain the person's personal hygiene or failure to keep their linens and living quarters clean.

Financial abuse or exploitation involves illegal, immoral, or improper use of the elderly person's property, funds, or assets. This can include using their vehicle for personal use, withdrawing cash from their personal bank accounts, stealing their jewelry or any other possession, using their credit cards, using their social security number to open bank accounts or obtain credit cards or any other misappropriation of their funds.

Warning Signs & What to Watch Out For

It's important to observe your loved one's behavior, and how they interact with their caregivers. It's necessary to look for any physical signs of abuse because not all victims are willing to come forward. If you suspect nursing home abuse, it's important to look for any of these warning signs:

  • Unexplained weight loss (may be sign of malnutrition or neglect)
  • Soiled clothing, foul odors in the room (signs of neglect)
  • Unexplained bruising or restraint marks (sign of physical abuse)
  • Frequent arguments with caregiver (sign of emotional or physical abuse)
  • Unkempt living quarters (sign of neglect)
  • Bruising around breasts or genital area (sign of sexual abuse)
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding (sign of sexual abuse)
  • Sudden change in bank account or credit card activity, sudden change in balance in checking or savings account balance (sign of financial exploitation)
  • Unexplained disappearance of possessions (sign of financial exploitation)

If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, we urge you to contact Jones & Swanson right away. Our attorneys have over 75 years of collective experience in personal injury law and we are extremely familiar with nursing home abuse cases.

Some of our attorneys have been included in the selection of Super Lawyers®, which is an achievement that no more than 5 percent of attorneys in a state obtain. We are also AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, which is the highest possible rating that can be obtained for having high ethical standards and legal ability.

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