Elder protection conference raises awareness of senior abuse
For Portland residents who have a loved one in a nursing home, almost nothing can be worse than finding out their relative is being neglected or abused by caregivers they are putting their trust in. Senior citizens should be treated with respect and dignity during their golden years. Tragically, the opposite is often true. Countless elderly people are mistreated every year in nursing homes and care facilities across the country. Some cases have led to serious injuries or death. The loss of a loved one is always hard, but is inexcusable when it is the result of caregiver abuse against a defenseless patient.
The 25th annual National Adult Protection Conference was held in Portland in October last year and illustrated the prevalence and severity of elder abuse across the nation. The Statesman Journal reported that during the event, advocates announced that elder abuse or neglect had happened to about one out of every 10 senior citizens during the previous year. In 2013, 2,025 older adults in Oregon were determined to have been the victims of abuse. Tragically, elderly victims are three times more likely to die prematurely as a result of their treatment.
Common factors of elder abuse
Abuse against an elderly person may take many forms and includes all of the types of abuse found in people of all ages. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the forms of elder abuse may be emotional, verbal, sexual and financial, in addition to physical abuse and neglect. Those who have elderly relatives in a nursing home facility should look for the following warning signs of abuse:
- Bruises, fractures or lacerations that are not easily explained, or whose explanations don’t match the injuries
- Bedsores, dirty sheets and clothing and poor hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss and signs of dehydration
- Signs of depression, withdrawal or fear of certain caregivers
- A sudden change in personality or statements that the resident is being mistreated
Vulnerable older people may also be targets of financial fraud, either by telemarketers or people who pose as friends and family members and try to change legal documents to be named as administrators of their affairs.
Preventing pain and injuries caused by elder abuse
There are many things Oregon residents can do to reduce the chances of their loved ones being abused or neglected in someone else’s care. Whenever possible, they may wish to visit their relative in the nursing home and look for the warning signs listed above. It is important to listen to what an elderly patient has to say, even if he or she is suffering from severe cognitive decline. There may be hints in these conversations that raise red flags that something isn’t right. It might also help to periodically research reviews and reports on the nursing care facility for other instances of alleged abuse or preventable accidents.
If your loved one has suffered as a result of mistreatment by caregivers, you may be entitled to the compensation of medical expenses and other losses. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.