This coming Sunday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. In Ohio, which has one of the highest elderly populations in the country, nursing home neglect and other forms of elder abuse have been characterized as a silent epidemic.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to help protect older loved ones from abuse and neglect is simply to be involved in their lives on a regular basis and keep an eye out for any signs that something may be wrong. Some forms of nursing home abuse are relatively self-explanatory, such as bruises, burns or broken bones. However, other signs of abuse and neglect can be more easily overlooked.
Many cases of nursing home abuse occur not in the form of overt violence, but rather in a systematic pattern of neglect. One common symptom of this type of neglect is bedsores, which are sometimes called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. This condition can occur when an elderly or immobile individual is left in the same position for too long without proper cushioning. The risk of bedsores can also increase when an elderly person becomes dehydrated or malnourished.
Falls are another type of nursing home neglect that can be easy to overlook. After all, elderly individuals are known to fall, and nursing home employees may be quick to duck responsibility by placing the blame on the elderly person for his or her own injuries. However, care providers have a responsibility to provide adequate supervision or assistance to nursing home residents, and they can be held liable for the injuries that occur when they fail to do so. Be sure to talk things over with a lawyer if someone you know is showing signs of potential neglect or abuse at a nursing home or other residential care facility.
Source: LimaOhio.com, “Sandra Tate: Elder abuse a growing epidemic,” Sandra Tate, June 11, 2014