Seeing the Signs of Elder Abuse
If you are reading this, there is a 10% chance that you know someone who is suffering from elder abuse. Either at home or at a care center, by a family member or by a care professional, elder abuse is far more common than acceptable. And because the elderly aren’t always able to report the crime (or be taken seriously), the abuse continues.
Some signs of elder abuse are easy to see — bruising, welts, and cigarette burn marks are hard to miss. However, there are several forms of physical and mental abuse that require someone to ask a few additional, difficult questions. If you have a loved one in a care facility, or you suspect an at-home care worker is acting inappropriately, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer for help.
The victim will always deny the problem. Because of fear, shame, and control tactics by the abusers, victims of elder abuse rarely volunteer information. You can try to “normalize” the topic. This means talking about rough handling and verbal abuse as if it’s not going to make anyone upset. The elderly often don’t want to “cause trouble”, but by normalizing the conversation you allow them to (more) freely discuss the problems.
Once you have the slightest hint of a problem with a care facility or care worker, you will need to contact a lawyer. The problem could be with a single individual or the entire facility operations. In either case, the facility will immediately become defensive and may hire a lawyer of their own.
Addressing problems at an elder care facility isn’t like making a complaint about cold food at a restaurant. The facility will have to face serious legal and financial ramification of their neglect. Elder abuse can mean civil lawsuits for neglect and criminal prosecution for the abusers. Don’t make these accusations without the help of a lawyer. The way in which you (and your lawyer) approach the accusation will often become a major determinant of how the case settles.