You want your elderly loved one to live out their sunset years in peace and dignity. That is why you decided to put them in a nursing home. This is usually the last resort of families who can no longer give their aged relatives the medical care and support they need. You trust the staff at such facilities to act with compassion, dedication, and professionalism. And it can be shocking to learn that your loved one is being abused at the hands of people whose job is to care for them.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home or elder abuse consists of any act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older person. Such abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.
If every time you visit your loved one they bear marks that cannot be explained, it could be a sign that they are being physically abused by the staff. A sudden shyness or unwillingness to speak may indicate sexual abuse.
However, financial abuse is the most common type of abuse perpetrated on the elderly. If you notice a sudden depletion of their bank account or disappearance of retirement and Social Security checks, your loved one may be the victim of fraud. Indeed, some criminals join the nursing home care profession just to get close to vulnerable elderly people.
Why Vigilance Is Key
Nursing home abuse is one of the most under reported crimes in the country. This comes down to pride and embarrassment. Most elderly people are unwilling to acknowledge their vulnerability to physical and emotional violence, and they have way too much pride to admit that they have been swindled. Your elderly loved one used to protect you against the cruelty and violence of the world, and they don’t want to be seen by you as victims of those same forces.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, then you should speak to the management. If you are not satisfied with their explanations, then you should hire a lawyer and consider filing a law suit. Your lawyer will be eager to hear your story and will use the anecdotal evidence you provide to launch their own investigation.
The main aim must be to get to the bottom of what is going on in the nursing home. Lawyers with experience in nursing home abuse cases will know how to talk to your loved one. The latter may not speak to you, but they may be more forthcoming with a competent stranger who knows how to ask the right questions. Your lawyer will speak to current and former staff of the nursing home. In most such cases, there is always someone who wanted to blow the whistle but was pressured into staying quiet. A good lawyer knows how to coax information out of such people.
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