Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
While most elder abuse is inflicted by relatives of the older person, there are countless stories of abuse occurring in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and from in-home healthcare workers. These abusers take advantage of the perceived helplessness of the elderly and bank on the hope that their intimidation will keep their victims from speaking out against them. And, in fact, it is true that most cases of elder abuse go unreported. If you have any doubts that the older people in your life are being treated with anything but the utmost care and kindness that they deserve, it is up to you to take action. The psychological, physical, and financial abuse that these predators inflict upon elders can significantly hurt and shorten an older person’s life. Elderly who have been abused have a 300 percent risk of death than those who have not, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you have been subjected to any type of abuse yourself, or you know of someone who is currently experiencing or has experienced it in the past, contact an Orlando nursing home abuse lawyer at once.
What Constitutes Abuse?
The following are types of elder abuse and neglect that occur in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in private residences:
- Physical abuse consists of hitting, shoving, forceful actions that cause harm, pinching, and other types of physical contact that is unwanted;
- Sexual abuse is comprised of any sexual act that is performed on or is requested from an older person without full and complete consent;
- Neglect includes not providing the resident with clean clothing or clean bedding, limiting food, water, or other essentials, not allowing the resident out of their room or to have visitors;
- Financial abuse occurs when someone commits fraud or any other illegal act to confiscate the older person’s money; and
- Psychological abuse can stem from any of the previous types of abuse, but can also be caused by treating the older person like a child, shouting, belittling, and intimidating.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
As the loved one of an elderly person who is residing within a nursing home, understanding the signs of nursing home abuse and knowing what to do if you recognizing nursing home abuse is important. While you may want to assume that your elderly loved one is being treated with care and competence, nursing home abuse is much more common than anyone would like to believe. By knowing the signs of nursing home abuse, you may be able to intervene before abuse becomes life-threatening. Some of the signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical and sexual abuse. The signs of physical and sexual abuse are much different than the signs of other types of abuse, like financial abuse. Physical and sexual abuse are often recognizable by physical signs, such as torn or bloodied clothing and underwear, bite marks, bruises, lacerations, slap marks, signs of restraint on wrists, and unexplained bruises or bone fractures or other injuries. There are also some non-physical signs of physical and sexual abuse, such as withdrawal, depression, angry outbursts, and fear of the nursing home or of a particular nursing home staff member.
- Financial abuse. When an elderly person is being financially exploited, the biggest sign to watch out for will be any changes to their financial circumstances or estate plan. Large cash withdrawals, a change of name on a bank account, changes to a will or other estate plan document, new credit cards or lines of credit, missing personal items, or an increase in financial activity may all be indicative of financial abuse.
- Psychological abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse can result in depression, withdrawal, anxiety, fear, an unwillingness to participate in social events at the nursing home, emotional outbursts, and anger. It is important to take note of any major psychological or emotional changes that you observe in your elderly loved one, as these changes may indicate the psychological abuse is occurring.
- Neglect can be one of the hardest types of nursing home negligence to detect, as some of its signs are things that may be observed in an aging and ill elderly person regardless. Some signs of neglect including losing weight, a deterioration in condition, and poor hygiene. If your elderly loved one seems much worse off after being admitted to the nursing home, this may be a clear indication that they are not receiving the level of care they need and deserve.
Orlando’s Aging Population Means That Nursing Home Abuse Is On The Rise
In 2010 there were 40.3 million people aged 65 or greater. By 2030, less than two decades away, there will be a projected number of 80 million people 65 or older, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. With twice the number of aging people in the U.S. in such a short amount of time, will our country have the caring, well-trained staff and facilities to ensure the utmost care for the older generation? Florida has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 of any state, and its population is continuing to age, while also attracting more retirees due to the warm year-round weather. Unfortunately, all of these factors mean that elder abuse, especially in nursing homes, is on the rise as well, and may become an even more horrendous problem in the coming decades. As it stands now, roughly 10 percent of older people have experienced some type of abuse, excluding financial abuse. And, in a 2000 study, researchers interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents and found that an astounding 44 percent had suffered abuse and 95 percent reported that they had either seen another resident neglected or had been neglected themselves. Obviously not all long-term care facilities for older people offer the same service and care. There are some incredibly good nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Orlando, and there are some disturbingly sub-par residences as well.
What to Do if You Suspect that Abuse Is Occurring
If you suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, it is important that you take action immediately – as stated above, abuse can have fatal consequences. Our lawyers recommend talking to your elderly loved one about the abuse; however, keep in mind that fear or shame may prevent them from openly discussing the topic.
You should also keep thorough records regarding any signs of abuse. Further, you should immediately contact a nursing home supervisor to report your concerns. If immediate remedies are not put in place, do not hesitate to report the abuse to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. If you believe that your loved one is at risk of immediate harm, call the police.
From there, call a skilled Orlando nursing home abuse lawyer who can explain to you your legal options and guide you in taking action.
Contact Our Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for Assistance
If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected, contact an experienced nursing Orlando home abuse lawyer today at The Pendas Law Firm at 1-888-573-6327. We will help you recover the compensation that you deserve.