Elder Abuse: What You Need to Know

It is sad to think that we live in a world in which elderly people are regularly abused, neglected, and exploited. Unfortunately, however, this does happen, and it most often happens at the hands of the very people who were supposed to care for these individuals. Caregiver and nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States, but you don’t have to stand by and let it happen to someone you love; there are ways to seek justice.

Defining Elder Abuse

First of all, it is important to understand what, exactly, elder abuse is. This is purposeful, intentional abuse or negligence of an elderly person that results in harm or risk to that person. Elder abuse is a criminal offense, and, in many cases, civil damages can also be recovered.

Elder abuse may occur in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or even in the home at the hands of an in-home caregiver or, in some cases, even at the hands of a family member.

Elder abuse may be physical in nature, such as hitting, shoving, kicking, or other forms of physical assault.  It can also be emotional, such as name-calling, humiliating, ignoring, or terrorizing. Sometimes, it is even sexual or involves financial exploitation. In some instances, it is just neglecting to care for that person’s needs, plain and simple. No matter what type of abuse the elderly person experiences or who perpetrates it, the fact of the matter is that it is wrong and those who do it need to be held accountable.

Getting Help

If you suspect that someone you love has been abused, the first step is to contact the Adult Protective Services Agency in your state. They can investigate and document the abuse. You can also contact the police or emergency services if you have reason to believe the elderly person is in immediate danger.

Furthermore, you should contact a lawyer who is familiar with elder abuse and nursing home negligence cases and who can help you and your loved one to get the justice you deserve. Nothing can get rid of the scars of elder abuse, but restitution is certainly owed in these cases.