The red flags of elder abuse

Nursing home abuse is hard to identify because elderly people can fall or bump into furniture. These innocent mishaps often result in injuries that look far worse than they would on a younger person. The Centers for Disease Control reports that accidental falls commonly occur in people over 65 years of age. This fact makes it difficult to determine whether your parent or other loved one’s injuries occurred by accident, or were caused by an abusive caretaker.

Don’t wait. If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect at a nursing home or other elder care facility, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. Attorney Kathryn Burmeister of Burmeister Law Firm has extensive experience with elder abuse cases. Ms. Burmeister and her compassionate legal team will listen to your concerns and work with you to determine the truth. 

Red flags of elder abuse

Elder abuse can occur in the form of physical abuse, psychological abuse, or a combination of these. The easiest to spot is physical abuse, so we’ll examine these first.

5 red flags pointing to physical elder abuse:

  1. Signs your loved one has been physically restrained. Look for bruises around the wrists or ankles indicating he or she was tethered to a bed or chair.
  1. Staff explanations don’t make sense. The caretaker’s explanations about how the injuries occurred don’t align with the type of injuries observed (i.e. cuts, bruises, fractures)
  1. Caregivers evade questions about injuries observed. If your parent’s injuries truly occurred by innocent, accidental means, caregivers should have no anxiety about discussing them and how they happened. 
  1. Your loved one suddenly dislikes or fears a particular caretaker. Sudden changes in behavior toward a formerly well-liked caretaker may indicate possible abuse.
  1. Care providers are reluctant to allow access to loved ones. When caregivers exhibit reluctance, or outright refusal, to allow you or other friends access to your loved one, you must consider taking action immediately.

Physical injuries aren’t the only indicators of elder abuse. For example, if a caretaker withholds necessary medication, or dispenses more medication than prescribed, he or she is endangering the health of your loved one. A detailed, experienced elder abuse lawyer will obtain all medication records and conduct a thorough investigation to find the truth.

4 red flags of psychological abuse: 

  1. Striking change of mood. If your loved one’s mood changes immediately in the presence of one or more caretakers, this may indicate psychological abuse, especially where no physical injuries are present.
  1. Emotional disturbance or agitation that is out of character. If you notice that your normally calm and content loved one is depressed, anxious, or otherwise agitated beyond what you consider normal, consider abuse as a possible cause. 
  1. Negative self-talk. Your parent has begun referring to her- or himself in unusual negative terms like calling himself “stupid,” “loser,” “moron,” or other inappropriate names. This sort of derogatory self-talk indicates something has changed in the person’s self-esteem and confidence. Abuse may be a cause of these changes, especially with sudden onset. 
  1. Troubling comments about a certain caregiver(s). Your loved one suddenly begins to comment about how a certain caretaker threatens him or her, is always angry, or claims you don’t love him anymore and won’t be visiting. It’s unlikely that even a person in cognitive decline would say such things for no reason. 

Elderly people are vulnerable to a myriad of abuses, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial exploitation. If you observe anything out of the ordinary — even if you aren’t sure if it’s important — write down every detail you can remember, including time, date, and any caregivers present or on shift at the time. This will provide a detailed and dated record of your suspicions should you decide to consult with a personal injury attorney. 

Burmeister Law Firm has a proven track record in Georgia when it comes to nursing home abuse lawsuits. If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse at the hands of one or more caretakers in an elder care facility, contact Burmeister Law Firm immediately.

All consultations are free with no obligation. Don’t delay, your elderly loved one needs your help.

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