In Georgia, there are millions of elderly people living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. As our “baby boomers” age, this number will increase. The National Center on Elder Abuse projects that approximately 20 percent of the American population will be aged 65 or older by 2050. Some of this growing elder population will be able to stay in their homes. Many, however, will have to spend their golden years in a Georgia nursing home or assisted living center.
With more elderly persons entering nursing homes, it is important that their families and friends are able to identify the signs of elder abuse and rightsso they can take action if it occurs. Federal regulations state that individuals living in nursing homes have, among other things, “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion,” among other rights. Often and sadly, these Rights are ignored and violated with an estimated one in ten elders facing abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility or their homes
The first thing we must do is understand what abuse and neglect is, first and foremost.
The National Council on Elderly Abuse defines abuse as, among other things; an intentional infliction of injury or harm; intimidation; involuntary confinement; deprivation of care or service; and punishment that results in pain, physical harm or mental anguish.
Neglect is defined as; a willful or unintentional failure to care for or provide necessary services; and failing to react to a potentially harmful or dangerous situation which results in anxiety, catastrophic injury, or death.
Abuse and neglect can take many forms. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, and it is not uncommon for an elderly person to be subjected to more than one form of abuse.
Next, we must know what the signs are of abuse and neglect.
There are many signs of abuse or neglect. If you notice one sign alone that does not necessarily mean a resident of a nursing home is being abused or neglected, but a combination of the following signs should raise immediate concerns:
- Any Bruises, Broken Bones, Abrasions or Burns could indicate physical abuse or neglect
- Any Bruising around the breasts or genital area can result from sexual abuse.
- Any Bed Sores, Bad and poor Hygiene, Unusual Weight Loss, and Unattended Medical Needs are common signs of neglect
- Any Emotional Withdrawal and Lack of Interest in normal activities and depression are indicators of emotional and physical abuse
- Any Unexpected Medical Emergencies can be signs of neglect or abuse.
It’s hard to imagine, think, or believe a person you love could be abused or harmed by their caregivers but it is, unfortunately, a reality numerous seniors face. This is a very vulnerable population that can not be overlooked.
In a 2010 survey of nursing home staff, 50 percent admitted to abusing or neglecting a resident in their care at least once during the year prior to the survey, according to the NCEA. Two-thirds of those incidents involved neglect.
If you have noticed the signs of elder abuse or neglect in A Georgia Nursing Home, Long Term Care Facility, or in their own home by caregivers, then you have ways to redress your concerns.
After alerting administrators and the state authorities, you should contact an experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney and you may contact us on our Nursing Home Abuse Hotline at 1-800-976-5862 to speak to our Nursing Home Abuse Experts to see if your loved one qualifies for financial, or other, compensation. Nobody should be subjected to abuse; ever.