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Elder Abuse and Neglect

The decision for a loved one to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home is a difficult one. Family members do not have the skills or training needed to handle the needs of someone with special medical requirements or the ability to be present around the clock. So, they have no choice but to delegate those responsibilities to a nursing home or assisted living facility. The decision to accept the responsibility of assuming care for a loved one creates a trust relationship between the facility, family and the elderly patient. As a result of this, we would like to trust and believe our loved one is being cared for and safe. It is hard to even imagine how anyone could neglect, or even worse, intentionally hurt our loved one. However, this is much more common than most would believe. Nursing home neglect can take different forms ranging from negligent neglect to intentional assault and battery. In South Carolina, when this trust relationship is broken due to negligence or an intentional act, the elderly person and his or her family members have a right to sue and recover damages. If your loved one has experienced abuse or neglect at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact me, Will Parker, a Myrtle Beach Elder Abuse lawyer today.

Susceptibility of the Elderly

There are many reasons the elderly are susceptible to abuse. First, many seniors in nursing homes or assisted living facilities have some level of dementia or other physical or mental disability. This can cause the victim to be confused, forgetful or even fearful and often leads to the abuse being unreported. The fact the victim depends on the facility and the facility's staff also causes an understandable fear of retaliation. Many victims live in silence while being treated negligently or while being mistreated.

Research and Statistics About Elder Abuse and Neglect

Experts have reported that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence. Here are some things we do know. Let's start with risk factors. The first risk factor is low social support, so visitation by family is important. Another predisposed group are elderly that have experienced prior traumatic events. We also know that women are abused more often than men. We know that elderly patients in their 50's and 60's are more likely to report assaults so abuse often starts in victims in their 70's and 80's. Finally, we also know over 30% of nursing homes have reported cases of abuse, meaning abuse occurs in close to 1 out of 3 nursing homes.

Ways to Spot Abuse and Neglect

It is important to know what to look for when it comes to elder abuse. While this is not an exhaustive list, there are two broad categories - physical abuse and neglect.

Physical Abuse - The worst case scenario in physical abuse cases results in an unexplained or untimely death. Otherwise, the most common, severe injuries include bedsores and falls. Some patients are assessed as being at-risk for a fall. When assessed as being at risk for a fall, additional safety measures are put in place and failure to adhere to these extra measures results in negligence. Also, be aware of unexplained injuries and medication errors.

Neglect - Bedsores fall under neglect. Other forms of neglect include malnutrition and dehydration. Additionally, unsafe and unsanitary conditions are forms of neglect.

What to Expect from Elderly Victims

Signs from the elderly victim range from obvious ones such as complaints of poor or abusive treatment to a sense of fear, unusual silence, easy agitation, withdrawal and frequent and unexplained crying spells.

If you suspect your family member is the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it to the authorities immediately and contact Myrtle Beach Elder Abuse attorney at Will Parker Law at (843) 357-4111 to help your loved one get the justice they deserve and to prevent others from enduring the same abuse.

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