Updated March 4, 2020
As your loved one ages, they may require assistance from a professional caregiver or need to be relocated to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Putting their care in the hands of another person or an institution is scary enough; worrying that they will be hurt is even more frightening.
Abuse and neglect is a reality for far too many elders in the United States, and the types of abuse they may face varies widely. It’s up to you to be an advocate for them.
There is no guaranteed way to completely prevent abuse from happening, and it is, of course, never the victim’s fault. However, by being prepared, you can help keep your elderly loved one safe to the best of your ability—and, if the worst happens, you’ll know what to do and where to find legal help.
By learning the warning signs, you can better identify abuse and neglect in elders. Knowing the steps to take if you suspect abuse prepares you for the moments following that realization.
Nursing homes and other facilities that house elderly residents must take responsibility for their negligent actions, and you help hold them accountable. Stay involved in the process of choosing a nursing home facility, and be on the lookout for signs of abuse.
Call and visit your elderly loved one as often as you can, building a continued positive relationship. Not only will keeping in touch help the elder see you as an advocate and confidant, but you will also have plenty of opportunities to look for changes that may suggest abuse.
Isolation, whether forced or self-inflicted, is a serious issue with long-lasting consequences. Encourage elders to socialize with friends, attend religious services, and participate in community activities whenever possible.
Additionally, as with any age group, an active lifestyle is a key part of health. For elders, suggest that they join fitness groups and take walks whenever possible.
The benefits of an active and social lifestyle are plentiful, but when it comes to elder abuse and neglect, it’s clear: Access to a trusted social group provides help and support in times of need.
Elders are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation and abuse. As an advocate, recommend that they remain in charge of their own finances whenever possible, even if they require the help of a friend or family member to manage their money. Inform elders of scams via telephone, Internet, or mail that they may be manipulated by.
If any sudden and drastic financial changes occur, be on the lookout for manipulative behavior.
Conversations about abuse are difficult, but elders need to know what to do and where to find help if they experience negligent or malicious behavior. Providing resources such as elder abuse statistics and contact information for reporting abuse give agency back to victims. Nevertheless, nothing is more reassuring than knowing that you are on their side if anything happens.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.
Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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