Most of us have someone we love who is currently enjoying their “Golden Years.” Unfortunately, because of the frequency with which elder abuse and neglect occurs, that means we must be vigilant about watching for the signs of abuse with our elder loved ones. Some of those signs are fairly obvious; however, others are more subtle. To help you keep your elderly loved ones safe from victimization, the Arizona elder law lawyers at Morris Hall PLLC explain how to spot elder abuse and neglect.
How Bad is the Elder Abuse Problem in the U.S.?
- In recent years, the population of older Americans (age 60 and older) has grown dramatically, thanks in large part to the Baby Boomer generation entering their retirement years. Consequently, issues that impact the elderly have gained considerable attention, particularly the elder abuse and neglect problem in the U.S. Compiling accurate figures relating to abuse and neglect of the elderly, however, presents a challenge for several reasons. To begin with, laws relating to elder abuse are changing rapidly across the county. That means that reporting requirements differ significantly from one state to the next, making it difficult to compile meaningful data. Furthermore, victims of elder abuse and/or neglect are often reluctant to admit being victimized because they are embarrassed or ashamed to be a victim, or because they remain dependent on the very people who abuse them, causing them to fear reprisals if they report the abuse and/or neglect.
The following facts and figures provide sobering insight into the elder abuse and neglect problem in the U.S.:
- Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse;
- Almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member;
- Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses;
- More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected;
- More than half of all Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN’s) in elder care facilities have admitted to verbally abusing, yelling at, and using foul language with elderly residents of care facilities.
- A study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44 percent and a neglect rate of 95 percent.
Spotting Elder Abuse – How to Recognize the Signs
Because victims of elder abuse and neglect are often reluctant to come forward and report the abuse themselves, or are unable to do so because they suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of age related dementia, it is critical that loved ones learn how to recognize signs that might indicate abuse or neglect of an elderly individual, such as:
- Marks on wrists or ankles, possibly from restraints
- Excessive and/or unexplained physical injuries
- Mood swings
- Deteriorating hygiene habits
- Urinary or bladder infections in females
- Weight loss
- Angry outbursts
- Medication problems (may indicate not being given timely or at all)
- Bills unpaid or disconnect notices arriving when funds should be available
- Items missing from the house/room
- Large expenditures that are not normal for the victim or that lack an explanation
- Cash withdrawals
- Attempts to isolate the victim by a caregiver
Any of these could indicate one of the many forms of elder abuse and neglect, including physical or mental abuse, sexual abuse, or financial exploitation. If you believe you see signs of abuse, try talking to your loved one. It may not be an easy conversation; however, attempt to reassure your loved one that he/she is not alone and that elder abuse is a fairly prevalent problem in the U.S.
Contact Arizona Elder Law Lawyers
If you have additional questions or concerns about elder abuse and neglect, contact the experienced elder law lawyers at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your free consultation today.